Dutchess finished the year strong, with a nice increase in sales activity coupled with the first small signs of meaningful price appreciation. For the year, sales were up sharply while prices were basically flat.
Sales. Dutchess County single-family home sales surged again in the fourth quarter, with transactions up 11% from last year. This marked the fifth quarter in a row with year-on-year sales increases, ending a year where closings were up almost 25%. Indeed, the 2,140 yearly sales represented the highest calendar year total since 2006, at the tail end of the last seller’s market.
Prices. For the first time, we are starting to see some “green shoots” of price appreciation in Dutchess, with both average and median prices up, compared to the fourth quarter of last year. For the calendar year, average prices were down a tick while the median was basically flat, but we believe that the sustained increases in buyer activity we’re seeing in Dutchess are bound to have an impact on pricing in 2016.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators show that Dutchess sellers might be starting to get some leverage. Homes were selling for a little closer to the asking price, with the listing retention rate up to almost 95%. And the days-on-market remains down below six months for the year, indicating that homes are selling a little more quickly. As sellers gain negotiating leverage, we would expect prices to go up.
Condominiums. The condo market was robust, with sales up over 31% compared to the fourth quarter of last year, and up over 20% for the year. And although prices were down sharply for the year, they spiked this quarter, indicating that we might be seeing odd fluctuations from outliers in a relatively thin market.
Going forward, we believe that with a stable economy, interest rates near historic lows, pricing at 2004 levels, and increasing buyer demand, Dutchess is poised for meaningful price appreciation in 2016.