The housing market in the New York City northern suburbs of Westchester and the Hudson Valley has become a fully‑realized seller’s market, with declining inventory stifling sales growth while driving meaningful price appreciation throughout the region.
The regional market continues to suffer from a lack of inventory. The number of homes available for sale compared to last year fell sharply in every market in the region. At the current absorption rate, we are now down to well under five months of inventory in every county for single‑family homes, and down to under four months for the lower‑priced condo market. That’s significantly below the six‑month level that usually denotes a seller’s market.
This lack of inventory is holding back sales. Regional transactions were down over 6% from last year’s first quarter, and were down in every county except Putnam: falling 6% in Westchester, 19% in Rockland, 0.3% in Orange, and 13% in Dutchess. For the rolling year, the drop was more moderate, with sales down just 1.5% regionally. But this isn’t a demand problem—demand is strong everywhere in the region.
But with all this demand chasing fewer homes, prices are up significantly across the region. The average sales price was up for every county and property type except for Westchester single‑family homes and condos, which might be a reflection of stronger demand at more entry‑level price points. The longer‑term trend, though, indicates that prices are generally appreciating at a moderate but meaningful rate, with the rolling-year average sales price for single‑family homes up over 2% for the region, and up in each county: rising 3% in Westchester, 5% in Putnam, 4% in Rockland, 4% in Orange, and 5% in Dutchess.
Going forward, this is what a seller’s market looks like. Low levels of inventory will continue to hold sales back even while driving prices up. At some point in 2018, this price appreciation will attract more sellers into the market, which will increase supply, bring sales up, and maybe moderate price increases. But that will not happen right away, so we expect a spring market with even lower levels of inventory, which will stifle sales growth but continue to drive robust price appreciation.
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