WPCNR REALITY-GO-ROUND. From the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. January 12, 2015:
The recovery of the real estate market in the lower Hudson region of New York continued strong throughout 2014 including its fourth quarter.
Realtors participating in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, reported 14,169 closed residential transactions during 2014 among the four counties of the MLS’s core service area: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange. This was the highest number for any year since the 2008-2009 recession and 1.1% more than in 2013.
The highest percentage increase – 6.3% – was posted in Putnam County. Rockland followed at 3.4%, Westchester at 0.6%, and Orange lost a little ground with a decrease of -0.8%.
Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties all edged back on total sales of single family houses with decreases of 0.9%, 0.6% and 1.7% respectively.
However, they counterbalanced those losses with gains in their respective condominium and cooperative sectors. Again, Putnam County stood out with an actual increase of 6.1% in single family house sales.
The fourth quarter postings of 2014 were especially strong in comparison to the fourth quarter of 2013. There were 3,715 closings among all four counties during October through December of 2014, an increase of 6.9% over the same period of 2013, and on an individual basis each county posted an increase.
The region experienced price gains over the course of the year, mostly in the single family house sector. The median sale price1 of a single family house in Westchester in 2014 was $635,000, an increase of 4.1% over the $610,000 posted in 2013.
In Putnam the median was $310,000 – a 0.6% increase, and in Rockland it was $400,000, a 3.2% increase. Fourth quarter medians were of roughly the same magnitude.
Orange County continued to shed its stock of troubled properties – bankruptcies, short sales and the like – which had the effect of driving down the county’s average prices. The median sale price of an Orange County house on an overall basis in 2014 was $231,250, a decrease of 1.4% from 2013. There was a signal that this pattern may be ending, however. Orange County’s fourth quarter median of $231,224 was 2.8% higher than that of 201
Inventory did not change much from year to year. On December 31 of 2013 the number of for-sale properties posted in the MLS database was 8,942 units in all four residential categories: single family houses, condominiums, cooperatives and 2-4 family houses. A year later in 2014 there were 143 fewer units, a 1.6% decrease that largely reflected the effect of the larger sales volumes of the past two years.
It appears that this area’s real estate market has stabilized onto a level track since 2013 and that there are no readily obvious derailments such as sharply increasing mortgage rates ahead. 2014 began with average rates of around 4.7% on 30-year conventional loans, which glided down to 4.0% in the late spring, and which have drifted around that rate point, mostly downwards, since then. Housing here is more affordable as a result, even as prices increase at reasonable rates. The sales volumes are healthy and are supported by an appropriate level of inventory. They justify a cautiously optimistic outlook for more of the same in 2015.