Congratulations! Renee Zurlo: Realtor of The Year and Richard Herska: “Up and Coming” Award

Congratulations to Renee Zurlo, Orange County Regional Manager, named “Realtor of the Year” by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) – and to Richard Herska, Real Estate Salesperson, Nyack office, who received HGAR’s “Up and Coming Award,” selected out of a pool of 15,000 other local realtors. Renee and Rich were honored in front of a crowd of 1,500 members and affiliates who were in attendance for the 102nd Annual Meeting and Member’s Day of The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR). The event took place at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown on Monday, October 29.

Renee has been a REALTOR® for over 24 years and has been with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty for nine years. She has served as president of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service since 2016 and will continue to serve as president into 2019, when a newly formed MLS—a merger between the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc. (MLSLI) and Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, is fully operational.

On receiving the honor of the HGAR Realtor of Year award, Renee said: “This award represents my many years of involvement in the real estate industry, building relationships and being able to give back to an industry that has given me so much. Throughout my career I have turned to many people for guidance, and I share this honor with them,” she added.

“Renee has truly earned the title of Realtor of Year with her exceptional talent, experience, skill and results,” said Matt Rand.

Says Marsha Rand, president of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, “Renee has been a huge asset to the Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty team. She is a real team player and loves to share her knowledge with others. There is no one more deserving of this award.”

Rich has been a REALTOR® with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty for three years and is also an active member of the HGAR Board of Directors. He says that combining his two passions – interior design and real estate – has been “a perfect fit” and has helped to propel his career forward at Better Homes and Garden Rand Realty.

“I am both honored and humbled to receive this award,” he said. “This confirms that hard work, dedication and patience yields positive acknowledgment. I look forward to a long future in real estate and with the Rand Realty family.”

“Rich has accomplished so much at Rand Realty in the past few years,” said Marsha Rand. “His eye for design is impeccable, and he gives his all to every client. He is on his way to the top!”

According to Matt Rand, “Richard’s Up and Coming Award is well deserved. He is one of our rising stars and we so appreciate the interior design expertise he brings to our clients.”

“We are extremely proud of both award winners!”

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

Posted on December 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: In the News, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: Third Quarter 2018 – Rockland County, NY

The Rockland housing market had another strong quarter, with prices up, even while a lack of inventory held back sales growth. Sales of houses were down almost 3% for the quarter, and are now down almost 5% for the year. But that’s more a reflection of a lack of supply, not a lack of demand, evidenced by continuing appreciation, with prices up 6% on average and 7% at the median for the quarter, and now up 6% on average and 7% for the year. We are starting to see signs, though, that rising prices might be tempting more sellers into the market – months of inventory rose almost 11%, the first increase in over six years. Going forward, we expect that buyer demand is strong enough to absorb this additional inventory and still post meaningful price appreciation through the rest of the year and into 2019.

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

Posted on October 10, 2018 at 10:00 am
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: Third Quarter 2018 – Westchester and Hudson Valley

Despite concerns that the 2018 tax reform law would undermine housing values, Westchester and the Hudson Valley held steady in the third quarter, with prices rising throughout the region and up dramatically in some counties.

Some analysts have expressed concerns about the effects of the 2018 Tax Reform law on our regional housing market. The tax law capped the deductibility of state and local taxes and reduced the mortgage interest deduction, which particularly impacts high‑tax areas, like Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Indeed, those analysts might see evidence for this theory in the third-quarter results, with regional single‑family home sales falling almost 2% from last year, and down in almost every individual county.
For the most part, though, sales are down because of a lack of supply, not a lack of demand. Regional inventory levels have gone down 25 straight quarters, falling from a high of around 16 months to the current six months. Quarter after quarter, inventory went down until we reached a point where we have a shortage of desirable homes for sale. That’s what’s holding back sales – a lack of “fuel for the fire.”
How do we know that falling sales aren’t the result of slackening demand from the impact of tax reform? A couple of reasons:

First, this trend of declining sales predates tax reform. We’ve been tracking falling sales for almost two years, with regional sales down, in five out of the last six quarters, well before the passage of tax reform in late 2017.

Second, sales are down in all markets, not just high‑priced markets. Tax reform would not explain why sales are down even in the lower‑priced markets, where most buyers do not itemize taxes in a way that they’d be affected by changes in deductibility. And yet, quarterly sales were down more in Rockland and Dutchess than they were in Westchester.

Third, prices are up in almost every market segment. Regional average sales prices were up almost 3% for houses and 5% for condos in the third quarter and were up (in some cases dramatically) in every individual county for almost every property type. If tax reform had sapped demand in the market, we’d be seeing flat or declining pricing, not robust appreciation.

All that said, tax reform might be having a small impact on the very high end of the market, where the loss of deductibility for mortgage interest and local taxes hits the hardest. Price appreciation was more pronounced in the lower‑priced markets, with single‑family average prices rising 11% in Putnam, 6% in Rockland, 14% in Orange, and 7% in Dutchess. Meanwhile, Westchester’s single‑family home pricing was up just a tick on average, and only fell 1% at the median. We’re talking about a marginal, not a major, impact. Prices aren’t rising at the rate they are in the lower‑priced markets, they’re basically flat, not falling.

Moreover, inventory is starting to respond to these rising prices. For the first time since 2012, inventory levels went up this quarter, which illustrates fundamental economic market theory: If demand is strong, and supply stays steady (or goes down), prices will go up. And when prices go up, new inventory will come onto the market. That’s what we’re seeing now: After years of decline, single‑family inventory was up in almost every county in the region, stabilizing near that six‑month level that usually signals a balancing market.

Going forward, we believe that the appetite in the market can handle both the impact of tax reform and this increased inventory while still driving continued price appreciation. With strong economic conditions, relatively low‑interest rates (and the specter of rate increases on the horizon), and pricing still at attractive 2004‑05 levels, we expect a robust market through the end of the year.

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

Posted on October 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: 2nd Quarter 2018 – Rockland

Activity in Rockland’s housing market continued to be shackled by low levels of inventory in the second quarter, which drove sales down again, even while pushing prices up sharply. Transactions fell almost 10% for houses and 13% for condos, the largest drops since the market correction almost 10 years ago. As a result, pricing is way up from last year, with house prices rising over 8% on average, almost 6% at the median, and almost 5% in the price‑per‑square foot (condo pricing is more mixed). But we are starting to see signs that rising prices might be attracting more sellers into the market, which should eventually stabilize sales. Going forward, though, we think that high demand and low inventory will continue to stifle sales and drive price appreciation at least through the end of the year.

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

Posted on July 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: 2nd Quarter 2018 – Lower Hudson Valley (New York)

The regional housing market in the New York City northern suburbs surged again in the second quarter of 2018, with high demand and low supply driving prices up throughout the area.

We are clearly in a “seller’s market.” The main story in the market right now is a textbook illustration of basic economic principles: when demand is high, and supply is low, prices go up. This is essentially what a seller’s market looks like, with low levels of inventory coupled with high demand holding sales down while driving prices up. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing throughout the region:

Sales are down. Regional single‑family home sales in the quarter fell almost 3%, and condo sales fell 7%, continuing a trend we’ve been watching for the past year ‑‑ indeed, the rolling-year sales were down about 2% for all property types. To put this in perspective, rolling-year sales had gone up in 24 out of the last 25 quarters prior to the first quarter of this year. And the decline is universal, with single‑family sales down in virtually every county in the region: falling almost 5% in Westchester, 4% in Putnam, and 10% in Rockland (sales rose slightly in Orange and Dutchess).

Prices are up. But all this demand, coupled with a lack of supply, is having its expected impact on pricing. Single‑family average prices were up across the board, rising over 3% for the region and up in every county in the region: up over 2% in Westchester, almost 3% in Putnam, over 8% in Rockland, almost 11% in Orange, and over 10% in Dutchess. And for the first time in over 10 years, single‑family average prices for the rolling year were up in every county in the region.

Inventory is low, but is starting to rise. The key to this market, of course, is the amount of available supply: the number of homes for sale in the market. Inventory has been falling for several years now, holding back sales and driving prices up. But that same economics textbook teaches us that as prices go up, eventually supply starts to rise. Why? Because rising prices attract sellers into the market.

And that is exactly what we’re starting to see: stabilizing inventory. Inventory is still low, but it’s starting to settle at about the six‑month level that signals a balanced market. Indeed, the months of inventory in the region was at 6.2 months, flat compared to the second quarter of last year. And inventory was actually up in both Westchester and Rockland. It might be too early to call a shift in the market, but this was a noticeable change after several years of sharp inventory declines quarter after quarter.

Going forward, we expect the market to continue to grow through 2018. The seller’s market is really just starting to hit its stride, where high demand meets higher supply and pushes both sales and prices up over last year. Higher prices might be tempting more sellers into the market, but we believe that demand is strong enough to accommodate this supply, and drive price appreciation through the end of the year.

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

Posted on July 23, 2018 at 3:56 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: 1st Quarter 2018 – Rockland County, NY

Rockland’s housing market was absolutely stifled in the first quarter by a depleted inventory, which was drove sales down almost 19%. Rockland demand is high, which is why single‑family prices were up across the board: almost 6% on average, over 2% at the median, and a whopping 10% in the price‑per‑square‑foot. Average prices for the year are now up over 4% for single‑family and 1% for condos. If prices keep going up, more homeowners will be tempted into the market, which should help bring sales back up in what is likely to be a torrid spring.

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

Posted on April 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Real Estate Market Report: 1st Quarter 2018 – Lower Hudson Valley (NY)

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.

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

Posted on April 10, 2018 at 1:55 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty to Hold Open-House Event

NANUET, NY – Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is excited to announce that they will be holding an open-house event, where attendees can receive advice on buying and selling homes. It will take place on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. on both days.

“We’re a few weeks into spring, which means it’s the prime season for the housing industry,” said Denise Friend, Rand Realty’s regional manager for Westchester County. “Our brokerage receives many potential clients during this time of the year, and we would like to offer them guidance on how to achieve their real estate goals.”

All 27 of Rand Realty’s sales offices will be participating in the event, with listings located throughout the Lower Hudson Valley and Northern New Jersey. At these sites, attendees can engage with an agent for one-on-one assistance on how to conduct a home search or market their home for sale. They will also have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a gift basket, with one being provided by each of the four regions that Rand Realty serves: Rockland, Orange, and Westchester Counties in New York, and Northern New Jersey.

“Being involved in a real estate transaction can be challenging, so it’s important for us to interact with buyers and sellers to make sure that their questions are being answered,” said Friend. “We want them to feel confident when they enter the market.”

 

About Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, founded in 1984, is the No. 1 real estate brokerage firm in the Greater Hudson Valley, with 28 offices (including a corporate location), serving Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York, as well as Bergen, Passaic, and Morris Counties in New Jersey.

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has over 1,000 residential real estate sales associates, as well as a commercial real estate company (Rand Commercial) and the Hudson United Group, which provides residential mortgage lending, title services, and commercial and residential insurance.

These companies can be found online at www.RandRealty.com, www.RandCommercial.com, and www.HudsonUnited.com. Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty can also be found and interacted with on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Posted on April 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fourth Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report: Rockland County Overview

The Rockland County housing market capped off a strong 2017 with a robust finish, with both prices and sales up significantly in the fourth quarter.

Sales. After a decline in the third quarter, sales roared back in the fourth, rising almost 11%. This drove the yearly transaction total up almost 5% for the year, marking the sixth straight calendar year of increasing sales. Indeed, the 2,140 single‑family sales in 2017 was the highest calendar year total since 2003, at the height of the last seller’s market.

Prices. These sustained increases in buyer demand have started to make a dramatic impact on prices, which were up across the board in the fourth quarter: up almost 6% on average, 4% at the median, and over 5% in the price‑per‑square‑foot. And for the calendar year, prices were up significantly, rising about 4% on average, at the median, and in the price‑per‑square‑foot. Rockland prices have now gone up for five straight calendar years, and are now up 15% from the bottom of the market in 2012. Still, though, pricing is at 2005 levels, without even accounting for inflation, so we have significant room for growth.

Negotiability. Inventory continued to fall in the fourth quarter, dropping over 18% and now down to just about four months of inventory. Similarly, the listing retention rate rose and the days‑on‑market fell sharply again, indicating that sellers are increasingly gaining negotiating leverage with buyers in this full‑blown seller’s market.

Condos. The Rockland condo market also finished strong, with both sales and prices up significantly for the year. Condo inventory is now down to almost three months, which indicates we’re looking at more price appreciation in 2018.

Going forward, we expect that buyer demand in Rockland will continue to drive prices up and inventory down. With prices still at attractive 2004 levels, interest rates near historic lows, inventory falling, and the economy generally strengthening, we believe that this sustained buyer demand will drive meaningful price appreciation through 2018.

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

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 3:18 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Fourth Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report: Westchester & Hudson Valley Market Overview

The housing market in Westchester and the Hudson Valley finished the year strong in the fourth quarter of 2017, with meaningful price appreciation throughout the region driven by low inventory and high demand. Although sales have slumped a bit due to the lack of available homes for sale, rising prices might tempt new sellers to come into this growing seller’s market.

Inventory throughout the region continues to fall. Regional inventory was down to 4.6 months. Historically, when inventory drops below the six month level, it usually signals a seller’s market, and many of the individual counties in the region are now at‑or‑below six‑months’ worth of inventory: Westchester single‑family homes are now at 3.5, Putnam at 4.7, Rockland at 4.0, and Orange at 4.7. The lack of inventory continues to stifle sales growth. Regional sales were up for the first time in three quarters, rising almost 6% from the fourth quarter of last year. For all of 2017, sales were up less than 1%, the lowest year‑on‑year increase since 2011. But the problem isn’t lack of buyer demand, which remains strong. Rather, it’s simply that we don’t have enough homes for sale to satisfy the existing demand. Even with the lack of inventory, sales are approaching record highs. The 15,489 regional single‑family home sales in 2017 marked the highest yearly total since 2004, at the height of the last seller’s market. Indeed, sales totals are now almost doubling what we saw at the bottom of the market in 2009. Most significantly, high demand and low inventory are driving meaningful price appreciation. The regional average sales price was up for the fourth quarter in a row, rising almost 3%. We are starting to see long‑term price appreciation, with the regional average price also up 3% for the year. Moreover, appreciation was widespread, with yearlong average prices up in every county in the region: 4% in Westchester, 2% in Putnam, 4% in Rockland, 5% in Orange, and 3% in Dutchess. This is the first time we’ve seen such shared prosperity in over 10 years. Going forward, we believe that prices will continue to appreciate through 2018. Demand is strong, bolstered by near‑historically‑low interest rates, prices that are still near 2003‑04 levels (without controlling for inflation), a generally strong economy, and sharply declining inventory. The question is if we will see sales growth, which will depend on whether homeowners see prices going up and decide to get into this market, bringing fresh new listings to satiate the existing buyer demand. All in all, this is what a seller’s market looks like. High sales totals. Low inventory. Rising prices. All the signs point to an extremely robust 2018 throughout the region. WESTCHESTER

The Westchester housing market finished strong in 2017, with a surge in prices even while a lack of inventory held back sales growth.

Sales. Home sales were up just a tick, rebounding a bit from their sudden decline in the third quarter. You can see the continued impact of a lack of inventory, though, with sales down almost 2% for the full year. Still, with over 6,100 sales for the year, transactions in Westchester are now at their highest level since 2005, and almost double where they were at the bottom of the market in 2009.

Prices. With inventory this low, and demand remaining high, we are starting to see some acceleration in price appreciation. Prices were up 5% on average and at the median for the quarter, and for the year finished up 4% on average and 3% at the median. This is welcome news for Westchester homeowners, who saw small average and median price drops over the past two years. That said, the average and median price are still at 2005 levels, without even accounting for inflation.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators continue to signal the emergence of the seller’s market. Inventory declined again, falling over 8% and now at the lowest level of inventory we have had in Westchester in over 12 years, since the height of the last seller’s market. Similarly, for the full year, the listing retention rate was up, and the days‑on‑market was down, indicating that homes are selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price.

Condos and Coops. The condo and coop market was more uneven. The condo market was sizzling, with average prices up over 8% in the quarter and almost 5% for the year. Sales were down, but that’s certainly because inventory is below the three‑month level. The coop market was more mixed, with sales up for the year and prices relatively flat, even while inventory fell to the three‑month level.

Going forward, we expect that Westchester will continue to see meaningful price appreciation in 2018, especially if inventory remains tight. With pricing near 2005 levels and interest rates near historic lows, we believe that the seller’s market will thrive in the new year.

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

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Vincent Abbatecola | Category: Quarter Market Report, Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,