The Rockland County housing market started the year strong, with increases in both sales and prices that are now reaching levels we have not seen in over 10 years at the tail end of the last seller’s market.
Sales. Rockland sales were up again, rising over 16% from last year’s first quarter and now up over 20% for the rolling year. We’ve now seen sustained rates of growth for almost four years, with transactions up for the last six quarters and 14 out of the last 15. Indeed, sales totals are now approaching “seller market levels,” with the 1,880 rolling year sales the highest total in over 10 years.
Prices. This sustained increase in buyer demand is having its expected impact on pricing, with prices up almost 3% on average and almost 2% in the price.per.square foot, but falling a tick at the median. For the year, the results are more uniform, with prices up about 3% across the board. After the sharp decline following the financial crisis in 2008, and then a few years of bouncing around the bottom, Rockland prices are now starting their fourth year of modest but meaningful appreciation. They still have a way to go before they gain back the losses suffered after the financial crisis of 2008, but they’re trending in a positive direction.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators showed that sellers are gaining a bit more leverage with buyers. We saw another dramatic decline in the number of homes for sale, for example, with the months of inventory falling over 21% and now reaching the six-month level that usually delineates a “seller’s market.” Similarly, the listing retention rate rose above 96% for the first time since 2006, and the days on market continued to fall. All together, a declining inventory, with homes selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price, tells us that we’re moving into a strong seller’s market.
Condos. The condo market in Rockland continues to struggle. Sales were up, but not as sharply as with single.family homes. And prices were down slightly, indicating that buyer demand in the market is not pushing appreciation. With condo inventory actually rising a bit, we’re not likely to see any meaningful price appreciation in this entry level market anytime soon.
Going forward, we expect a robust spring market that will continue to drive prices and sales upward. With prices still at attractive levels, interest rates low, and the economy generally strengthening, we believe that Rockland will have its best year since the height of the seller’s market.