Westchester County Real Estate Market Statistics 4th Quarter 2012

By
Real Estate Agent with William Raveis Legends Realty Group 30PA1082583

Courtesy of the Hudson Gateway Association Of Realtors

Westchester & Putnam County

The pace of residential real estate sales picked up considerably in 2012 in the four

counties of the lower Hudson region – Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange –

served by the Realtor firms participating in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing

Service (HGMLS), a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc.

The Realtors reported a regional sales aggregate of 11,481 residential units consisting

of single-family houses, condominiums, cooperatives, and in the case of Westchester,

2-4 family buildings as well. This was a 15% increase over 2011’s total of 9,973 sales,

and it arrested the steady decrease in annual sales that commenced in 2004 and

continued through most of the subsequent period to date.

Westchester, the most populous of the counties, and historically accounting for about

two-thirds of the total sales activity in the region, posted a 14% gain in sales over 2011.

Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties posted year over year gains of 9%, 11% and

9%, respectively. Also in those three latter counties, the highest percentage sales

increases were posted in the single-family house sector. In Westchester, where house

sales picked up by 16%, that performance was bested by a 20% increase in

condominium sales.

Sales in the region generally increased in each quarter of 2012 but were especially

strong in the final three months, depending on property type, when transactions that

had been negotiated or contracted in the summer months finally went to closings and

were reported to HGMLS. The fourth quarter increase for single-family houses was

30% in Westchester and 10% in Orange. Rockland’s condominium and cooperative

sector posted a 19% gain. Only Putnam posted a decrease. (Putnam has a very small

housing stock and as a result, its market data are subject to larger swings from just a

few transactions up or down.)

 

 

Inventory

 

The supply of for-sale housing listed with MLS Realtors has generally been quite low

since 2008, largely due to the reticence of many potential sellers to enter the real

estate market when economic conditions have been so uncertain and it appeared to

them that their property would not command the kind of sale price they expected. But

in addition to that factor, the higher sales volumes reported in 2012 have also served to

draw down the available inventory. The 2012 year-end stock in the four-county region

amounted to 9,622 units, a decrease of 9% from the 10,603 available units at the end

of 2011. The decreases ranged from 12% in Westchester to 3% in Putnam; Rockland

and Orange counties reported decreases of 11% and 4%, respectively. While these

amounts do not in any sense constitute a shortage of housing, the leaner than usual

supply can be felt in the marketplace. Some Realtors have reported that prospective

purchasers have had to speed up their decision making process in order to secure a

property from competing buyers.

 

Prices

For the past year and even before, there have been consistent reports of gradual price

increases throughout the U.S. and in parts of New York State as well. That has not

been the case in the lower Hudson region, however. Except for a price uptick in

Westchester and Rockland counties in the fourth quarter of 2012, the pattern all year

long and in all four regional counties has been flat or declining prices.

For the year as a whole, every county reported price decreases since 2011. The

median sale price

1

 

of a Westchester single family house was $587,000, 2% lower than

 

in 2011. The comparable price in Putnam was $300,000 or 8% below 2011. On the

west side of the Hudson, Rockland’s single family house median was $380,000, a 3%

decrease. And Orange posted a $240,000 median, down 4%. Only in the fourth

quarter were some increases reported: Westchester’s fourth quarter median was

$547,000, an increase of 4% over 2011; and Rockland also posted a 4% increase, to

$383,000.

The best explanation of the region’s seeming lag behind other areas as to prices is not

a problematic one but rather that purchasers are concentrating on the middle market,

especially in Westchester but also in the other counties, in order to take advantage of

conditions that make the region’s housing as affordable as it has been in a very long

time. Prospective buyers are choosing from a housing stock that has been heavily

discounted since the recession. True bargains exist in all four counties. There is still

activity in the high-end market but it is smaller than it has been in relation to the middle

market. For example, during the fourth quarter in Westchester, less than 18% of single

family houses sold for $1 million or more whereas five or six years ago that ratio was

as high as 25-30%.

The 2013 real estate market will likely accelerate from the momentum of the 2012

market as long as there are no economic or political catastrophes at the national level

affecting unemployment, mortgage interest rates, tax treatment of housing, or the

equity markets, that would destroy consumer confidence. If the nation survives that

economic gauntlet, the region’s homebuyers can look forward to a housing market that

will offer moderate pricing – at least for a time – and lean but sufficient choice of stock

whose affordability is supported by record-low mortgage interest rates. A faster paced

market with more stable pricing will bring new listings to the market as well.

 

# # #

The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (HGMLS) is a subsidiary of the Hudson

Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR). The MLS’s principal service territory consists of

Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange Counties. It also provides services to Realtors

operating in Bronx, Dutchess, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. The reported transactions do not

include all real estate sales in the area or all sales assisted by the participating offices but they

are fairly reflective of general market conditions.

HGMLS does not provide data on sub-county geographic areas. Persons desiring sub-county

data are invited to contact participating real estate offices in the desired areas. Any text or data

from this report may be reprinted with attribution to Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service,

Inc. as the source. Prior reports dating back to 1981 are available on the Realtor Association’s

website,

 

www.hgar.com; click on Market Statistics. A membership directory searchable by

municipality is also available on that site.

 

1

 

The median sale price is the mid-point of all reported sales, i.e., half of the properties sold for

 

more than the median price and half for less. The median is not affected by unusually low or

 

high sale prices. The mean sale price is the arithmetic average, i.e., the sum of all sales prices

 

divided by the number of sales. The mean does reflect the influence of sales at unusually low or

 

high prices.

 

 

 http://www.WestchesterCopuntyRealEstateMarket.com

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