2012 THIRD QUARTER RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE SALES REPORT
Westchester and Putnam Counties, New York
Westchester and Putnam Counties enjoyed a second round of increased residential real estate sales during the third quarter, July 1 to September 30, of this year. Realtor firms participating in the Westchester-
Taking into account the comparatively lackluster market performance of the first three months of 2012, the year-to-date sales rate in Westchester thus far is 10.6% above that of 2011. If the current sales rate continues, Westchester will close the year with approximately 7,000 sales in all residential categories – single family houses, condominiums, cooperatives, and 2-4 family houses - resetting sales volume convincingly above the 6,639 unit level when our local market entered into real estate recession in 2008. Putnam County will follow a similar pattern.
While sales volumes have increased for two consecutive quarters, selling prices have not. The third quarter median1 sale price of a single family house in Westchester was $630,000 or nearly 8% less than last year’s third quarter median. The decrease in Putnam was a hefty 25% (although please note the customary caution in these reports that Putnam data are subject to large percentage swings because the overall base count is low).
The lower average price in the region is mostly due to sellers’ price concessions in response to general economic conditions but also partly to a downshift in the proportion of high end (million-dollar-
The end-of-quarter inventory of properties listed for sale through HGMLS decreased by 10% in Westchester, to 6,398 units, and by 11% in Putnam, to 945 units. The strong sales volumes of the past two quarters have braked the growth of inventory, but it is also true that inventory remains low on account of the continuing reluctance of potential sellers to test the waters. Consumer confidence in the general economy just isn’t strong enough yet to propel the real estate market to its pre-recession vigor, even with the attractive forces of historically low prices (for this region) as well as mortgage interest rates that are as low as 3.5% or less for conventional 30-year loans. However, the beneficial effect of low rates is being offset in part by the increasingly demanding criteria by lenders with respect to the credit worthiness of borrowers.
The closings posted with HGMLS in the third quarter largely reflected real estate sales and marketing activity that took place during the late spring and summer months of 2012. Other than low mortgage interest rates in that period there was not much supportive energy from other components of the economy that affect consumer confidence. For example, the local unemployment rate has remained stuck in the high (for here) range of 7.5-7.6% range; and most consumers probably believe it is more than 8% due to the focus on that persistent national rate in the presidential election campaigns. The equity markets, which many consumers regard as an index of economic well-being, performed well over the course of this year, but with a pattern of volatility along the way that would intimidate all but sophisticated investors.
Still, posting two consecutive quarters of increased real estate sales in our region is encouraging because it occurred in the face of lackluster or even adverse economic circumstances. We are probably close to the point where buyers and sellers see eye to eye on the bottom line for prices, and where an increasingly active market generates its own energy for renewed health.
The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (HGMLS) is a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR). The MLS consists of two divisions, one (MLS East) serving Westchester, Putnam, Bronx and Dutchess Counties, the other (MLS-West) serving Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. This report is prepared for the East Division and all data tables herein refer to Westchester County sales unless expressly noted otherwise. The West Division will provide separate data for its territory. The reported transactions do not include all real estate sales in the area or all sales assisted by the participating offices but they are fairly reflective of general market conditions.
HGMLS does not provide data on sub-county geographic areas. Persons desiring sub-county data are invited to contact participating real estate offices in the desired areas. Any text or data from this report may be reprinted with attribution to Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as the source. Prior reports dating back to 1981 are available on the Realtor Association’