Real Estate Sales Continue Sluggish in third Quarter of 2014

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WPCNR REALTY REALITY. From the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. October 20, 2014:

Westchester, the largest county in the MLS region, posted a sales decrease of 2.7%, to 2,863 units. Rockland followed closely with a 2.4% decrease.  In Orange County there was barely any change at all, a decrease of only 0.3%. Putnam’s sales actually increased by 3.1%, although that was measured against a small base of a few hundred units

Generally, this slightly diminished but still very strong level of closed real estate transactions followed upon listing and marketing activity that took place during the spring and early summer months.  The external conditions for real estate were good then.  For example, mortgage interest rates remained consistently low and affordable;  the average rate for a 30-year conventional loan ranged mostly between 4.4% and 4.2% throughout the period.

Unemployment – a low rate of which is a confidence builder, especially for first-time buyers – continued its downward path in the lower Hudson region, with all four counties lower by nearly a percentage point or more from 2013.

Rockland and Putnam, with August unemployment rates of 5.1% and 4.8% respectively, are at a level that many economists deem to be full employment.  The performance of the stock market is another contributor to buyer confidence, even if the buyers are not invested in same.  During the spring and summer months the Dow Jones Industrial Average steadliy increased from 16,000 to 17,000.

Year to date (Jan.-Sep.) sales in all categories amounted to 10,180 units, a decrease of 3.5% from the same period in 2013.  If fourth quarter activity mirrors the prior three quarters, 2014 sales will amount to about 13,300 units and rank 2014 as the second best year since 2008.

Prices are pulling out of recession, too, with three of the four counties posting increases in most categories.  For the third quarter, the median1 sale price of a single family house in Westchester was $682,500, up by 4.7% over 2013. The median for condominiums, $375,000, was 5.5% higher.  In Rockland, the median house was $415,000, up by 2.0%, whereas condominium prices decreased by11.8% to a $222,500 median; the decrease was against a small base of 127 sales, however.


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