Rockland sales surged again in a torrid end to 2015, with sales reaching levels we have not seen in over 10 years and prices showing meaningful signs of appreciation.
Sales. Rockland sales were up sharply, rising 26% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and up over 20% for the calendar year. We’ve now seen sustained rates of growth for over three years, with transactions up for the last five quarters and 13 out of the last 14. Indeed, sales totals are now approaching “seller market levels,” with the 1,830 yearly sales the largest calendar year total since 2004.
Prices. The Rockland average sales price rose in 2015 for the third straight year, up over 3% after more modest increases in 2013 and 2014. Although prices are still a long way from recouping the 25% plunge from 2008-09, and are still at 2004 levels (without adjusting for inflation), pricing is definitely moving in a positive direction.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators were a little mixed, but the inventory numbers were startling. As of the close of 2015, Rockland had about 6.7 months of single-family inventory, the lowest level we have seen in over 10 years and tantalizingly close to the six-month level that signals a “tight” market. Similarly, the listing retention rate hit 96% for the first time since the market correction in 2008, indicating that sellers are gaining leverage when negotiating to get their asking price with buyers.
Condos. The condo market was not quite as robust, with sales up slightly for the quarter, but flat for the year. Prices were up on average, though, and inventory fell to about 7.4 months, so we might be seeing the beginning of some meaningful price appreciation in this entry-level market.
Going forward, we expect that Rockland is going to show signs of a fully realized seller’s market in 2016, with inventory at 10-year lows continuing to drive meaningful price appreciation in a robust spring market and through the end of the year.