McGrath Realty’s Clayton Livingston hosted an open house last week and had people lining up to take a look.
“Every year I worried about how we would do in January, February and March,” said Livingston, who sells throughout the Hudson Valley.
“For the past two years, that was definitely not the case. We had demand throughout the winter season.”
So does Carol Malek, of Malek Properties in White Lake. “We’ve been very busy all year,” Malek said, noting that in December, well-priced homes — “anything in the sweet spot” — were getting multiple offers.
And without quite touching on the hysteria of 2020 when frantic home buying was characterized by spot sales, multiple offers and record prices, the residential real estate market in Orange and Sullivan counties continued to grow. post historic gains at the end of 2021, according to a year-end real estate analysis provided by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. HGAR covers Orange, Sullivan, Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties, as well as the Bronx.
“This year has been different,” admitted Malek. “It definitely changed; things slowed down, but definitely didn’t stop.”
The positive points ? The number of residential home sales has increased, prices have risen, and some buyers, shut out of the single-detached home market, have turned to co-ops and condos as an affordable alternative. Still, lack of inventory continues to be a problem in the new year.
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Sullivan leads the way
According to data provided by HGAR, the largest percentage increase in the price of a single-family home in the Hudson Valley occurred in Sullivan County, which saw a 25.3% increase to 244,400. $ versus $195,000 in 2020.
“In 2021, people got off the couch and into the market,” said Livingston, who has been a real estate broker in the Hudson Valley for more than 30 years. “There was pent-up demand and a mad influx of people from more densely populated areas moving to less populated areas, which drove prices up significantly and increased the number of sales.”
Prices, sales are up
Orange County has also seen consistent increases in the median single-family home price with a year-over-year increase of 16.5% ($367,000 vs. $315,000 in 2020).
There were also more homes sold in 2021. HGAR reported a 16% increase in Orange (5,406 home sales vs. 4,662 sales in 2020) and a 9.6% increase in Sullivan County in 2021 ( 1,393 compared to 1,271 in 2020). These units included single-family, condominium, cooperative and multi-family units.
Orange County single-family home sales also rose 11.2% on the year to 4,444 units (from 3,996 in 2020) despite falling 20.7% in the fourth quarter.
Inventory is down
Year-end activity reflects a return to more typical market seasonality, according to the HGAR report and others.
HGAR reported that year-end inventory of single-family homes in Orange County was down 29.6% in the fourth quarter with 598 units on the market compared to 850 a year earlier. In Sullivan, 390 single-family homes were available at year-end, down from 2020 when 459 were on the market.
“If there’s one thing that stands out, it’s the lack of inventory; it’s staggering,” said Ron Garafalo of John J. Lease Realtors in Middletown. He mentioned an Orange County listing that just came out this week that attracted 16 interested buyers.
Garafalo noted that at this time 10 years ago there were 3,700 homes for sale in Orange County.
“Lack of inventory has always been part of the real estate cycle,” said Crystal Hawkins-Syska, past president of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and realtor at Keller Williams NY Realty.
“It almost always reaches the point where there is nothing left to sell. But what has made this year different is that we are in an artificial cycle precipitated by COVID. The lack of inventory may have product, but the pandemic may change how long the low inventory level may last.”
The deluge of buyers from the New York area has also slowed, Garafalo said.
“There are still buyers in town, but not to the degree we were a year and a half ago,” he said. Also looking for buyers who haven’t bought a home months ago and are still looking. “We also have buyers moving for the normal reasons – they are retiring, downsizing, moving or looking for more space – so the pool is filling up.”
What the future holds
Traditional metrics such as days on market were down in 2021 and homes were selling at competitive prices – most often near or at list price and often above list price. As Hawkins-Syska noted, a lack of inventory continues to be an issue and buyers in 2022 are expected to see mortgage rates start to rise steadily.
But real estate professionals believe the market strength that began last year will continue into 2022.
Paul Adler, Chief Strategy Officer of Rand Commercial, said, “2021 has created a new paradigm in suburban real estate.”
“We are entering the third year of COVID,” he added, “and it is evident that transience and displacement to the suburbs is no longer an aberration or a reaction to the pandemic. It is now supported. I think we’ve seen a permanent change in lifestyle.”
Garafalo believes the change will fuel strong early sales.
“The demand is there and remains strong,” he said. “I think prices will be stable and may even increase slightly just due to buyer demand. On the buyer side, the positive, even if this market is tight: interest rates are historically low.”
For sellers who didn’t participate in most of the 2021 pandemic buying frenzy, 2022 could present an opportunity, Hawkins-Syska said.
“I can say that those people who held on, they posed as bandits,” Hawkins-Syska said. “I had a saleswoman who just couldn’t pull the trigger, and she made the right call. When she finally decided to sell, inventory was all the tighter and she got a much better offer. more competitive for his house.”
By the numbers
Number of homes sold and median sale price
- Single-family homes: 4,444; $367,000
- Condos: 602; $230,000
- Cooperatives: 16; $88,000
- Multi-family: 344; $298,700
Number of homes sold and median selling price
- Single-family: 1,328; $244,400
- Condos: 6; $135,000
- Cooperatives: 0
- Multi-family: 59; $169,000
Karen Croke is the Regional Features Writer. Find my stories here. Contact me at [email protected]