From the NYT:
Real estate market temperatures in the commuter suburbs around New York City range from warm to sizzling, having never really cooled down for the winter.
As 2016 ended, prices remained stable, but most markets showed rising sales volume and a dwindling supply of homes for sale. Now, on the cusp of spring, any slack left over from the financial crisis is largely gone, with the exception of an oversupply of luxury homes at the very top.
In Westchester and Fairfield Counties, “I wouldn’t characterize anywhere as dead or nonactive,” said Jim Gricar, the general sales manager for Houlihan Lawrence. “Two years ago, I couldn’t have said that. But today, I feel confident saying it.”
On Long Island, in both Suffolk and Nassau Counties, the housing markets are moving at a “blistering pace,” and prices are accelerating, according to a fourth-quarter market report from Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
And in the inner-ring New Jersey suburbs closest to Manhattan, the markets are so brisk that many have less than three months’ worth of inventory, according to Jeffrey Otteau, the president of the Otteau Group, an appraisal and advisory firm. By way of comparison, in 2012, most of those markets had a four-to-eight-month supply, a more typical range.
The dynamics driving demand vary from suburb to suburb, but industry experts cited several overall reasons for the busy winter. First, many buyers had been holding off on making a purchase until after the presidential election, largely because of uncertainty about the outcome. That pent-up demand was unleashed after Nov. 8, and has been helped along by a mild winter.
“Anecdotally, the brokerage community said literally the day after the election there was a pop — activity jumped,” said Jonathan Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which prepares the Douglas Elliman market reports. “We saw the same thing after the 2012 election. When the numbers come in for the first quarter, I think we will see an uptick over a year ago.”
In New Jersey, price growth has been very modest across the state as a whole, even as sales volume grew by 12 percent last year. But appreciation is much more robust in the economically strong commuter suburbs closest to the city, such as Jersey City, Hoboken, Glen Ridge and Ridgewood, according to Mr. Otteau.
He noted that January brought an unusual statewide spike in sales of homes priced between $1 million and $2.5 million, a market segment that had slowed in recent years. While the 19 percent year-over-year surge might be an anomaly, Mr. Otteau said, it could also be a sign that high-income buyers are feeling extra confident, possibly because of the Trump administration’s talk of financial deregulation and tax reform.
“It’s completely opposite to what we’d been seeing previously,” he said.