There’s some good news on the real estate front this morning as the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service (HGMLS) is out with its numbers for the 4th quarter of 2012: Sales picked up considerably in 2012 in the four counties of the lower Hudson region – Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange, but prices still remain lower than they have historically.
Sales: The Realtors reported a regional sales aggregate of 11,481 residential units consisting of single-family houses, condominiums, cooperatives, and in the case of Westchester, 2-4 family buildings as well, a healthy a 15% increase over 2011’s total of 9,973 sales, which has finally put an end to the steady decrease in annual sales that began in 2004.
Westchester, the most populous of the counties, and historically accounting for about two-thirds of the total sales activity in the region, posted a 14% gain in sales over 2011. Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties posted year over year gains of 9%, 11% and 9%, respectively. Also in those three latter counties, the highest percentage sales increases were posted in the single-family house sector. In Westchester, where house sales picked up by 16%, that performance was bested by a 20% increase in condominium sales.
Prices: According to the report, for the year as a whole, every county reported price decreases since 2011. The median sale price of a Westchester single family house was $587,000, 2% lower than in 2011. The comparable price in Putnam was $300,000 or 8% below 2011. On the west side of the Hudson, Rockland’s single family house median was $380,000, a 3% decrease. And Orange posted a $240,000 median, down 4%.
Luxury market: High end properties have been affected, as well, with fewer sales of homes at the $1 million or more mark. The report finds, for example, during the fourth quarter in Westchester, less than 18% of single family houses sold for $1 million or more whereas five or six years ago that ratio was as high as 25-30%.
Inventory: HGMLS still reports low inventory, but bases this on the fact that, because of the slow economy and lower prices, many potential sellers have been reluctant to list their homes; combined with a higher sales volume for 2012, inventory is particularly low:
According to the report, the 2012 year-end stock in the four-county region amounted to 9,622 units, a decrease of 9% from the 10,603 available units at the end of 2011. The decreases ranged from 12% in Westchester to 3% in Putnam; Rockland and Orange counties reported decreases of 11% and 4%, respectively. “While these amounts do not in any sense constitute a shortage of housing, the leaner than usual supply can be felt in the marketplace,” the report concludes.