The Rockland County housing market capped off a strong 2017 with a robust finish, with both prices and sales up significantly in the fourth quarter.
Sales. After a decline in the third quarter, sales roared back in the fourth, rising almost 11%. This drove the yearly transaction total up almost 5% for the year, marking the sixth straight calendar year of increasing sales. Indeed, the 2,140 single‑family sales in 2017 was the highest calendar year total since 2003, at the height of the last seller’s market.
Prices. These sustained increases in buyer demand have started to make a dramatic impact on prices, which were up across the board in the fourth quarter: up almost 6% on average, 4% at the median, and over 5% in the price‑per‑square‑foot. And for the calendar year, prices were up significantly, rising about 4% on average, at the median, and in the price‑per‑square‑foot. Rockland prices have now gone up for five straight calendar years, and are now up 15% from the bottom of the market in 2012. Still, though, pricing is at 2005 levels, without even accounting for inflation, so we have significant room for growth.
Negotiability. Inventory continued to fall in the fourth quarter, dropping over 18% and now down to just about four months of inventory. Similarly, the listing retention rate rose and the days‑on‑market fell sharply again, indicating that sellers are increasingly gaining negotiating leverage with buyers in this full‑blown seller’s market.
Condos. The Rockland condo market also finished strong, with both sales and prices up significantly for the year. Condo inventory is now down to almost three months, which indicates we’re looking at more price appreciation in 2018.
Going forward, we expect that buyer demand in Rockland will continue to drive prices up and inventory down. With prices still at attractive 2004 levels, interest rates near historic lows, inventory falling, and the economy generally strengthening, we believe that this sustained buyer demand will drive meaningful price appreciation through 2018.