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

image002The Westchester real estate market cooled a bit in the third quarter, if only in comparison to the torrid pace set earlier in the year. Sales were up, but just slightly, and prices were a little soft compared to 2014.

Sales. Single-family sales were up slightly, rising 5.7% from the third quarter of last year, and are now up 4.9% for the rolling year. We’ve now seen sustained sales growth for almost four years, with year-over-year transactions going up in 14 out of the last 16 quarters. And sales totals are slowly returning to seller market levels, with the 2,060 quarterly closings the highest since 2003 and the 5,570 yearly sales the highest since 2006.

Prices. Even with these higher levels of activity, prices were down slightly, with the average down 2.6%, the median down 0.3%, and the price-per-square-foot down 0.6%. For the year, prices are more mixed, with the average down just under 1% and the median and price-per-square foot up slightly. We do not think this is anything to worry about – prices spiked prematurely in 2014, rising almost 7% in one year, so they’re easing just a bit now.

Negotiability. The listing retention and days-on-market indicators both indicated that sellers are gaining negotiating leverage. Homes are starting to sell for closer to the asking price, with listing retention up to almost 98%, and they’re selling more quickly, with the days-on-market now down to under 5 months.

Condos & Coops. The condo and coop markets were both strong, with sales up sharply and prices generally rising. Activity was way up, much more than with single-family homes, with coop sales rising 12.3% and condo sales up 21.6% from last year. This is consistent with what we saw across the region, with relatively stronger growth in the lower-priced markets.

Going forward, we expect that the Westchester market will continue to outpace sales levels from last year, and that prices will eventually start to gather momentum. With inventories tightening and interest rates near historic lows, we believe that the market is poised to finish the year strong.

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 October 9, 2015 at 12:15 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 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Westchester County Affordability: The Monthly Payment You Need to Buy a Home is as Low as it’s Been for the Past 35 Years

Westchester Affordability 2015Q2

Homes in Westchester County are about as affordable as they have been in over 30 years.

What do I mean by that? It’s simple. Basically, the monthly mortgage payment it takes to purchase the average-priced home in Westchester is about as low as it’s been since 1981.

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 35 years – and as low as it was in the mid-1990s, during a crippling buyer’s market.

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 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 27, 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 Westchester Real Estate Market?: The Rand Quarterly Market Report for 2015Q2

Westchester 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 Westchester real estate market continued to strengthen in the second quarter of 2015, with sales up sharply and inventories tightening. Although pricing was more mixed, we expect that buyer demand will continue to increase and eventually drive meaningful appreciation.

Sales. Single-family sales surged almost 15% above last year’s second quarter, the third straight quarter with year-on-year transactional growth. The 5,459 rolling year closings represented the second-highest 12-month total since mid-2006, at the height of the seller’s market. Similarly, the 7.3 average months of inventory for the prior rolling year was the tightest showing since 2006.

Prices. Prices were a little mixed, particularly in light of the rising activity and tightening inventory, with the average down 1.5%, the median up 0.5%, and the price-per-square-foot up 3.8%. For the rolling year, though, we’re seeing slight price appreciation across the board

Negotiability. The days-on-market and listing retention indicators suggested a tightening market and some negotiating leverage for sellers, with homes selling a little more quickly and for slightly closer to the asking price.

Condos & Coops. The condo and coop markets also flourished, with coop sales up 7.1% and condo sales up 14.2% from last year. Prices were mixed, with the lower-priced coop market seeing some softening and the moderately-priced condo market showing some significant appreciation.

Going forward, we expect that the Westchester market will continue to heat up, with activity rising again in the seasonally strong third quarter. With inventories tightening, interest rates near historic lows, and a generally improving economy, we believe that these increases in sales activity will start to push prices up more significantly by the end of the year.

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 5:30 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Golf Courses in the Lower Hudson Valley and Northern New Jersey

Close-up of man's Hand hold golf ball with tee on courseThe weather is starting to warm up, and we’re starting to think about the fun activities we’ll be enjoying once the chill in the air is officially gone for the season. Some of us look forward to swimming, some look forward to baseball, and some look forward to barbecues. One activity that is definitely anticipated is playing a relaxing game of golf. When you have a day off, it’s certainly a great way to take your mind off of work and play 18 holes. If you’re a golf enthusiast, here are some courses you should visit during the spring and summer.

In Rockland County, New York, there’s the Philip J. Rotella Memorial Golf Course in Thiells, which welcomes golfers of all skills and is known to have one of the finest greens in Rockland. It’s a par-72 course and measures over 6,500 yards from the back tees. While playing there, you’re also treated to the beautiful views of the homes on the neighboring mountains. When you’re done with your game, be sure to head into the Sonoma Grille for a delicious lunch or dinner as a way to unwind after your game.

Also in Rockland is the beautiful and scenic Patriot Hills Golf Club in Stony Point. If you want a course that has some of the best views that the county has to offer, then Patriot Hills is certainly a terrific choice, where you are treated to some majestic views of the surrounding mountains. What better way to enjoy some golf then to have the stunning geography of the Hudson Valley right before your eyes?

In Orange County, NY, visiting West Point is an experience that’s rich in history and offers many fun activities. So, if you’re up in Orange County, definitely visit the West Point Golf Course. It’s a par-70 course that has been listed in LINKS Magazine as one of the 10 best golf courses in the armed forces and stretches over 6,000 yards. West Point is one of the finest places to visit when in the Hudson Valley, so you can bet that it’ll be a lot of fun to play a round of golf in such a notable location.

You can also visit The Golf Course at Mansion Ridge, which offers superb views of the countryside. It’s a par-72 course that extends over 6,800 yards. Located in Monroe, this course resides on a 220-acre estate that includes landmarks that have been standing since before the American Revolution. It’s also a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, which is the only 18-hole public course in New York to be given that honor. Nicklaus is one of the most celebrated golfers of our time, so don’t you want the opportunity to say that you played on such a course? Yes, you do!

If you’re golfing in Westchester County, NY, definitely check out Ossining’s Hudson Hills Golf Course, which is a par-71, championship course located in the Hudson River Valley and stretches throughout 7,000 yards. Seeing as playing golf will have you outside for a couple of hours, you want to make sure you can enjoy the views of the course and surrounding area, so when you’re on top of the first tee, you are treated to gorgeous scenery where you are able to see about one-third of the course in view. After a fun and friendly round, relax at Hudson Hills’ Lookout Grill, where golfers can come together and have a satisfying meal as they bond over the game.

The Dunwoodie Golf Course is situated at the top of “Dunwoodie Heights,” which is in the center of the city of Yonkers. Dunwoodie is a par-70 course with a yardage of over 5,700. Its impressive topography and steep slopes make for a game that will surely test your golfing skills. The course has practice greens, which you might want to take advantage of if the course is as challenging as they say, and it also offers a driving range that’s lighted if you want to get some golf time in at night. On a serene and cool summer evening, something like that will surely be relaxing.

In Bergen County, New Jersey, you should visit the Rockleigh Golf Course. It’s the county’s only 27-hole course, and it functions as two different courses, with one that’s great for beginners, and another that’s great for pros. The Red and White nines come together to form a par-72, championship course, which opened in 1946 and was fully renovated in 2004. This course is the host to the annual Bergen County Amateur Championship. The nine-hole Blue course was built in 1961, has a par of 36, and allows a novice golfer to become familiar with the game and get comfortable with playing. All of the practicing you commit yourself to on the Blue course will surely be worth it once you advance to the Red and White courses, especially since they are good enough to host the BCAC.

The Darlington Golf Course is located in Mahwah within the foothills of the Ramapo mountain range. This course has a par of 72 and is cut through a forest of hardwoods, offering an extraordinary setting to marvel at while golfing. Of course, you can’t be too distracted by the views when it’s your turn at the tee, but when you’re waiting to swing, looking at the views can add a bit of relaxation to the game if you get a bit tense while playing.

There are many golf courses to choose from throughout these counties, but these are just a few to consider. It’s only the middle of April, so you still have several months of warm weather to look forward to for a game of golf. So, with the spring in full swing, round up some friends and get ready to tee off!

If you’re interested in learning more about these courses and rates, call to inquire or visit them online.

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 April 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , ,