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Residential sales for the second quarter in the Lower Hudson Valley region served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc. (HGMLS) were very much a mixed bag, and don’t necessarily appear to be following a pattern as they normally do. At this juncture, the sales numbers seem to emphasize the diversity of the markets and price points within the region. One area of commonality was in a slowing of sales of single-family residential properties from down 2.3 percent for the quarter in Rockland County, N.Y., to down 11.1 percent in Orange County, N.Y. Westchester, N.Y., experienced a drop of 3.9 percent. The one exception was Putnam County, N.Y., where sales of single-family residential units were up 4.3 percent. Overall, total residential sales remained robust with only modest decreases.

What makes the market difficult to categorize or pinpoint is the fact that, while sales of one type of housing in an area weakened, another strengthened. Case in point was Westchester, the largest market in the region, where both condominium and co-op sales increased by 3.6 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. At the same time, the median price for a condominium unit rose 8.3 percent to $400,000 and a co-op unit rose 5.9 percent to a median price of $180,000. The number of days on the market for a co-op unit dropped to 72 from 81 a year ago and the number of available units for sale dropped 19 percent to 474 from 580 one year ago, making it difficult to ascertain whether a slowdown in sales of single-family homes was more a function of rising prices than market conditions. Also not to be ignored is the impact of the 2018 tax reform legislation, which has likely contributed to a slowdown in sales of high-end properties. 

When viewing the Rockland market, which experienced a 2.3 percent drop in single-family residential sales with a concomitant drop of 4.0 percent in the median sale price to $450,000 from $468,750 one year ago, along with an increase in the days on market of 9.2 percent, it is reasonable to conclude that the historically high prices experienced in the Rockland market may have reached a saturation level. Although they represent a smaller percentage of the Rockland market, both multifamily and co-op units experienced an increase in units sold and median sales price.

Orange County, which has consistently led the region in residential single-family sales increases over the past several years, saw an 11.1 percent drop in sales for the second quarter as compared to last year. There were 849 sales reported as compared to 955 sales in 2018. There was, however, an increase of 6.0 percent in the median sale price to $265,00 from $250,000 last year. Orange was the only county showing a drop in inventory from the previous year; an issue which has impeded sales growth. Unit sales of condominiums at 114 represented a slight increase, while median price for a condo jumped 16.9 percent to $195,000 from $166,750 a year ago. Sullivan County saw a drop of 8.5 percent in single-family home sales compared to 2018 Q2, but also had a 17.8 percent increase in sale price.

The area serviced by the Hudson Gateway MLS appears to be in a positive position going forward with a high level of commercial activity and a growing tourism sector. There is good job growth and unemployment in the area is at historic lows. Externally, the very low interest rate environment contributes to the outlook for a relatively strong market going forward.

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