Looks like very good news for homeowners across the Lower Hudson Valley — experts are saying that the multi-year real estate slump is finally over.
“It’s the best market we’ve had since 2007, both in price and the velocity of sales,” said Arthur Scinta of Houlihan Lawrence, who works exclusively in the red-hot Pelhams.
In Rockland, the number of home sales is up 16 percent this spring compared to 2014. In Putnam, they shot up 23 percent compared to last spring. Westchester has seen a more temperate increase of 6 percent.
“It’s a sellers’ market,” said Brian Levine, manager of the Houlihan Lawrence office in Irvington, another strong market.”We’re seeing bidding wars, we’re seeing all-cash offers. We’re sending people away with really good credit. They’re not getting the houses they want because people are showing up with all cash, and as we all know cash is king.”
The endless winter we endured put a big damper on the early spring real estate market, leaving buyers and sellers alike huddled indoors behind mountains of snow. Who wants to put their home on the market when you can’t even goose up the curb appeal with basics like a newly painted front door and fresh landscaping?
But for parts of the Lower Hudson Valley and for certain price points the market has come roaring back to life these last couple of months.
Some houses are selling very fast. “I listed a house on May 13th in West Harrison and we had signed contracts on it by the evening of the 20th,” said Wendy Alper, an agent with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye.
It’s definitely a seller’s market, Scinta said. At least 30 of the 59 houses sold in Pelham so far this year had multiple bids. “Generally, that translates into over the asking price,” he said.
Buyer demand remains strong locally and a shortage of homes on the market continues to be a problem, Levine said. “There is a severe inventory shortage across the nation, and that’s true here as well.”
In Yonkers, Jane McAfee of Houlihan Lawrence has seen a very low inventory since January. “At the beginning of the year there were 199 houses on the market in Yonkers, and for Yonkers that’s not many,” she said. On June 1, 2014, for example, there were 304 single-family homes for sale in the city.
“It’s unlike any spring market I’ve been in — and I’ve been doing this for 21 years — because it’s so late,” McAfee said. “It’s not just that there were storms, it was so bad all winter long. People were not getting their houses ready — they certainly couldn’t do any work outside.”
In most years, “we’d be at the tail end of the spring market now, but we’re still in the thick of it,” said Levine, the Irvington manager. “We’re seeing a lot of activity. I keep looking at the calendar and saying it should be starting to slow down now.”
“The closer to New York City the better — Pelham, Bronxville, Larchmont, the river towns (Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown),” said Scinta, the Pelham agent. “The market is always driven by the city and it rolls north. As the market recovers, it pushes its way up.”