Westchester 2015 3rd Quarter Real Estate Sales Report
The four-county region served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. continued to post high sales volumes and moderate price changes through the third quarter of this year. Realtors working in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange Counties reported a grand total of 5,231 closed transactions of single-family houses,
condominiums, cooperatives, and 2-4 family houses during July, August and September, an increase of 687 units or 15.2% over the third quarter results of last year. On a year-to date basis (January through September), there were 11,761 sales – an increase of 1,581 sales or 15.5% over last year.
Of the four Counties, Orange posted the largest third quarter percentage increase. MLS Realtors there reported 1,008 sales or 30.1% more than last year. Putnam and Rockland Counties followed with third quarter gains of 21.1% and 16.3% respectively. Westchester posted the lowest increase, 10.3%, but because that County typically accounts for half or more of the total transactions in the region, the increase represented a substantial number of sales, 294 more than last year, bringing Westchester’s third quarter count to 3,157 sales.
The rapid pace of sales all year long and into the third quarter put some downward pressure on the supply of available properties posted with the MLS. At the end of the quarter (September 30) the total inventory of all types of residential listings in all four counties together was 11,734 listings, a decrease of 625 or 5.1% from last year at that date. Not surprisingly, given its large jump in the number of sales, Orange County ended the quarter with a 7.0% decrease in inventory from last year. Rockland followed at 5.6%, Westchester at 4.3%, and Putnam at 2.1%.
Although the region’s inventory has been trending downwards as a result of strong market activity, it has not shrunk so much or so rapidly as to put a crimp in the continuing market improvement. Further, there doesn’t appear to be so much of a decrease as to generate significant upward pressures on prices. In fact, there were price decreases in some market sectors
In Westchester for instance, the third quarter median1 sale price of a single family house was $676,500, representing a price decrease of $6,000 or nearly one percent from last year. Orange County, too, posted a median price decrease, from $241,000 in 2014 to $239,175, down less than one percent. In contrast, Putnam’s median price of $335,000 was $15,000 or 4.7% higher than last year, and Rockland’s median of $425,000 was $10,000 or 2.4% higher.
The closed real estate sales reported here largely reflect successful marketing and showing activity that took place during the spring and early summer months of 2015. At that time there were favorable conditions for a healthy market. They included stable mortgage interest rates in a tight range around an average 4.0% for a 30-year conventional loan, and even lower rates from other mortgage products. These conditions have persisted for more than a year now.
Also in that period, acting as a confidence-building factor for prospective home buyers, unemployment rates were decreasing in all four counties and new jobs were generally increasing. Even the stock market was cooperative. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and other indicators were at high levels, and although they were trending downwards, there were few scary corrections of the type we have been experiencing in recent weeks.
Up to now though, our local regional real estate market has had a good run and remains poised for more as conditions permit.