So What’s Going on in the Dutchess County Real Estate Market?: The Rand Quarterly Market Report for 2015Q3

image002The Dutchess County housing market continued to enjoy sustained levels of increasing sales activity, but we’re still seeing a difficult pricing environment. These levels of buyer demand are bound to push up prices eventually, but we understand if Dutchess homeowners and sellers are getting impatient.

Sales. Dutchess County single-family home sales surged in the second quarter, with transactions up 47.2% from last year. Indeed, the 667 quarterly sales represented the highest total since the third quarter of 2006, at the height of the last seller’s market. Similarly, the 2,080 rolling year sales is the highest total we have seen since 2007. For comparison, note that Dutchess closed about 1,500 sales in all of 2008. .

Prices. Even with this torrid activity, pricing was still soft, with the average down 5.6%, the median down 0.8%%, and the price-per-square foot falling almost 20%. Over the longer term, we’re seeing some pricing challenges, with the average price down about 3% over the past 12 months. We keep expecting Dutchess prices to rebound, especially at these torrid levels of sales activity, but full recovery from the effects of the market correction remains elusive.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators also show that Dutchess sellers are still struggling to get some leverage. Homes were selling for a little closer to the asking price, with the listing retention rate up above 95%. And the days-on-market fell just a bit, indicating that homes are selling a little more quickly.

Condominiums. The condo market was similarly robust, with sales up 44.2%. Unfortunately, we saw the same pricing dynamic, with prices down significantly across the board.

Going forward, we believe that Dutchess is poised for price appreciation, but we remain puzzled as to why it hasn’t happened yet. Basic economics tells us that increased demand coupled with stable inventory drives up prices, so we remain hopeful that we will see meaningful price appreciation by 2016.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 9:00 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

So What’s Going on in the Market?: The Rand Quarterly Market Report for Westchester and the Hudson Valley Region for 2015Q3

image001The housing market in Westchester and the Hudson Valley surged forward in the third quarter of 2015, with sales up dramatically throughout the region. More importantly, several counties showed signs of “green shoots” of meaningful price appreciation, reflecting the impact of the sustained increases in buyer demand that we’ve seen over the past few years.

Home sales continued to spike, rising 19% throughout the region. This continued a trend we’ve been tracking for several years, with year-over-year regional sales now up for four out of the last five quarters and 12 out of the last 14. And the trend was widespread, with sales up in every county in the Rand Report: rising 6% in Westchester, 24% in Putnam, 27% in Rockland, 32% in Orange, and 47% in Dutchess. As you can see, sales growth was strongest in the lower-priced markets, which was also true within each county, where sales condo markets generally outpaced single-family homes.

Indeed, we’re now seeing sales at “seller market” levels. The 4,500 single-family regional sales were the highest quarterly total since 2005, and the 13,000 rolling year transactions were the highest since 2007. To put this in perspective, those 13,000 rolling year transactions are about 20% below the 16,000-sale rate at the very height of the seller’s market in 2004-05, but about 60% higher than the 8,000-sale rate we experienced at the very bottom of the market in 2008-09. When it comes to transactional levels, we’re a lot closer to 2005 than 2009.

These sustained increases in buyer demand might be starting to impact pricing. Pricing was relatively mixed, with average prices up in Putnam, Rockland, and Orange, but down in Westchester and Dutchess. This is obviously nothing to get too excited about, but it’s still noteworthy that most of the counties in the Report are starting to see “green shoots” or price appreciation. (Note that the regional price fell about 6%, but that’s only because the relative strength in the lower-priced counties changed the mix of properties sold.)

We believe it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing meaningful price appreciation. As we have said before, it takes time for changes in market activity to impact market psychology. Back in the last seller’s market, sales fell for almost three years before we started to see prices start to go down. And while we’ve now seen over three years of increasing sales activity, we expect that buyers are still skeptical about pricing based on their vivid memories of the market correction of 2008-09. But basic economics tells us that when inventory is stable, and demand is going up, pricing is bound to increase eventually.

Going forward, we expect the market to finish the year strong, with sustained buyer demand eventually driving meaningful price appreciation by the spring market of 2016. With pricing in most of the counties at non-inflation-adjusted 2003-04 levels, rates near historic lows, and a stabilized economy, we believe it’s just a matter of time before we enter a fairly robust seller’s market characterized by increasing demand, narrowing inventory, and rising prices.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on October 9, 2015 at 11:22 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dutchess County Affordability: The Monthly Payment You Need to Buy a Home is as Low as it’s Been for the Past 15 Years

Dutchess Affordability 2015Q2Homes in Dutchess County are about as affordable as they have been in over 13 years.

What do I mean by that? It’s simple. Basically, the monthly mortgage payment it takes to purchase the average-priced home in Dutchess is about as low as it’s been since 2002 – and probably well before that.

If you look at the attached graph, you’ll see what I’m talking about. On that graph, we’ve plotted the monthly payment that a purchaser in the county would have to make to purchase the average-priced home at various points over the years. After all, affordability is not just a matter of the sales price – it’s a matter of the monthly payment you’re going to have to make, which is partly a function of the prevailing interest rate. And then to measure the change in the monthly payment over time, we factored in the effects of inflation.

So we took the following data points:

  • The average price of a single family home up to the second quarter of 2015 – from the local MLS data.
  • The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for June 2015 – from Freddie Mac.
  • The prevailing inflation rate up to 2014 year-end – from the US Department of Labor.

You can see the results on the graph. The monthly payment you have to make to purchase the average-priced home in the county is just about as low as it’s been in years. We’ve seen just the slightest uptick in the past few years, partially because of a slight increase in pricing and a slow inflating of interest rates. But we’re still talking about a monthly payment that is as low as anytime in the past 12 years. Moreover, although we don’t have data for Dutchess going back further than that, we do have data in Westchester going back to 1981 – and the monthly payment there is about as low right now as it’s been in those 35 years. Given how closely Dutchess tracks Westchester, it’s likely that homes in Dutchess are more affordable right now than they’ve been since the 1980s.

Why? Part of it is that we have not seen prices go up in any measurable way in almost 10 years, during which inflation has reduced the “true” cost of purchasing a home.

But more importantly, rates are significantly lower than they’ve been at any time in modern history. After all, about ten years ago, the average interest rate was about 6%. It’s now 4%. That’s a huge difference in your monthly payment.

Listen, I HATE it when real estate professionals say that “this is a great time to buy,” because at many times in our history that has been bad advice. But if you measure a “great time to buy” by looking at the monthly payment you’ll have to make to buy a home, then we’re talking about as good a time to buy as any in the past decades. Prices have been flat for almost 10 years, and they’re down significantly if you factor in the effects of inflation. And interest rates are still as low as we’ve ever seen them, even while they’re slowly creeping up (and most observers think they will continue to increase). Unless we see some major shock to the economy, I think we’re looking at a near-decade of reasonable price appreciation coupled with increasing interest rates – both of which are going to drive that monthly payment up over the next few years.

So if it’s up to me, I’m buying right now. And just so you know, I’m putting my money where my mouth is – I closed on my new home in the Hudson Valley 10 days ago.

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , ,

So What’s Going on in the Market?: The Rand Quarterly Market Report for Westchester and the Hudson Valley Region for 2015Q2

Westchester and Hudson Valley Regional 2015Q2This week, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is releasing its Quarterly Market Report for all the counties it services: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Dutchess Counties in New York; and Bergen, Passaic, and Morris Counties in New Jersey. Below is an excerpt from the report, but you can get the full Report here.

The real estate market in Westchester and the Hudson Valley surged in the second quarter of 2015, with sales spiking throughout the region. But even with transactions reaching highs that we have not seen in almost ten years, pricing remains stubbornly flat or even down in most of our local markets.

Home sales were torrid, rising almost 15% throughout the region. This continued a trend we’ve seen for most of the last year, marking the third straight quarter of year-on-year sales increases. And the results were impressive not just in comparison to a relatively tepid 2014, with the 3,070 second quarter sales and the 12,258 rolling year sales representing the highest totals since 2007, at the tail end of the last seller’s market. More importantly, the surge was widespread, with sales up sharply in every county in the region: rising 15% in Westchester, 18% in Putnam, 10% in Rockland, 31% in Orange, and 21% in Dutchess. Clearly, buyer demand has come back to the region at levels we have not seen in almost ten years.

This surge in buyer demand did not, though, have its expected impact on pricing, with regional prices down 5.5% from last year. Now, that does not necessarily mean that the average home in the region declined by over 5% in value. Rather, some of the decline is simply a change in the mix of properties sold – after all, if you look at the sales increases listed above, you can see that we saw the strongest results in the lowest-priced counties like Orange and Dutchess. Indeed, we saw the same kind of results within each county, with most of the areas showing more strength in the lower-end of the market. So part of the reason for the decline in pricing is simply that the market was more heavily weighted down by lower-priced homes.

But the main reason for the continued sluggishness of pricing is simply that we are still working our way out of the 2008-2011 market correction. As we have noted before in this Report, it takes time for changes in buyer demand to have an impact on pricing. For example, if you look at the accompanying graph displaying regional sales and prices going back almost 15 years, you can see that sales topped out and started falling sometime in 2004-05, but prices only started to come down in 2008. In other words, it took almost four years for a decline in buyer demand to have an impact on pricing. Similarly, we have argued that it will take several years of increasing demand to start driving prices back up – and you can see that sales only started to climb back up in 2012 or so. So we’re not necessarily surprised that prices are still bouncing around at the current levels.

Going forward, we believe it’s only a matter of time before these sustained increases in buyer demand have an impact on pricing. We’re now going into our fourth year of mostly sustained increases in sales, and basic market economics tells us that increasing demand coupled with stable supply is eventually going to drive prices up. And given that we’re seeing homes at relatively affordable levels, interest rates near historic lows, and a generally improving economy, we think that meaningful changes in price appreciation in the region are imminent.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF THE REPORT

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So What’s Going on in the Dutchess County Real Estate Market?: The Rand Quarterly Market Report for 2015Q2

Dutchess 2015Q2This week, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is releasing its Quarterly Market Report for all the counties it services: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Dutchess Counties in New York; and Bergen, Passaic, and Morris Counties in New Jersey. Below is an excerpt from the report, but you can get the full Report here.

The Dutchess County housing market continued to strengthen in the second quarter, with sales up significantly. Even with these sustained increases in buyer demand, though, we’re still not yet seeing any meaningful price appreciation.

Sales. Dutchess County single-family home sales surged in the second quarter, with transactions up 21.4% from last year. Indeed, the 494 sales represented the highest second-quarter total since 2007, at the height of the last seller’s market. Similarly, the 1,866 rolling year sales is the highest total we have seen since early 2008.

Prices. Even with this torrid activity, pricing was still mixed, with the average up 1.6%, the median down 2.0%, and the price-per-square foot falling over 20%. Over the longer term, we’re seeing some pricing challenges, with the average price down about 2% over the past 12 months.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators also show that Dutchess sellers are still struggling to get some leverage, with the listing retention rate flat and the days-on-market actually rising 11.5%. As the market heats up, we would expect homes to sell more quickly and for closer to the asking price, but that’s not happening yet.

Condominiums. The condo market was more sluggish, with both sales down and prices falling across the board both in the second quarter and for the last rolling year.

Going forward, we believe that Dutchess demand will continue to surge through the seasonally strong third quarter, and that these increases in demand, coupled with the tightening of inventory, is bound to eventually drive pricing up.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF THE COMPLETE REPORT

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Are We In a Buyer’s or Seller’s Housing Market?

3d render image of houses with graph growingThe real estate industry is constantly going through changes, and that includes the climate of the market. If there is high inventory and low prices, you can bet that you are in a buyer’s market, and if there’s low inventory and high prices, you can be sure that you’re in a seller’s market. In the U.S., however, the type of market varies by location. Because of the size of the U.S., some areas might be displaying traits of a buyer’s market, and other places might be showing signs of a seller’s market. It all depends on where you live.

According to RealtyTrac, homes are selling for 108 percent of asking price on average in the Bay Area of California, as well as in Washington, D.C.; Cass County, North Dakota; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In these locations, sellers are receiving more than they originally asked for, which shows that there is a high demand for housing.

Then, there are areas, such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, where buyers have the most influence and sellers are receiving less than the asking price, and this is happening even though the number of homes on the market are limited.

According to RealtyTrac, less than a third of housing markets in the U.S. have homes that sell for above the asking price, 60 percent have homes selling for below the asking price, and only 14 percent of homes sell at their market value.

If you want further proof that the U.S. real estate industry can’t be pinned down to one kind of market over the other, there are also areas that have markets where the situation is on even ground between buyers and sellers. These places include the D.C. suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland; Raleigh, North Carolina; the Phoenix metropolitan area; and Riverside County, California.

To give you an example of the areas around near where I live (the lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey), there is definitely a situation where there are certain counties that have markets that are more suitable for buyers, some that are better for sellers, and others that are great for both. Orange County is certainly a buyer’s market with its 30-percent sales increase of single-family homes from last year and a median sales price of $220,000. Dutchess County also has a relatively low median sales price, coming in at $249,600.00, but faired even better than Orange County in terms of sales for single-family homes, topping that region with a 21.4 percent increase. Putnam County experienced changes that have made it a decent market for both buyers and sellers, with sales having shown a considerable increase of 18.2 percent and prices displaying more consistency and a promise of growth.

The northern New Jersey counties near the lower Hudson Valley (Bergen, Morris, and Passaic), have been displaying wonderful activity within their markets. All three counties have enjoyed increases in sales and prices, and they also have the lowest amount of average days on market for their homes (ranging from 76-155 days), whereas Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York have homes that spend a higher average of days on the market (ranging from 170-218 days).

When you’re looking to buy a home, it’s always important to study the current housing market and see where you can get the best deal for a home. Each area has its own market that favors either the buyer, the seller, or both, so you should have an idea about what a certain market is going to offer you before you actually visit that area. As long as you stay on top of the market and use it as a valuable real estate tool, you will surely know where it is best to search for a home.

If you’re interested in Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s full market report for the second quarter of 2015, you can find it here on our blog. The QMR includes a market overview and in-depth analyses pertaining to each county that Rand Realty covers.

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

 

Sources

www.cnbc.com

Posted on July 5, 2015 at 11:51 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,