Report: Fourth Quarter Sales Boosted 2012 Real Estate Market Locally

Additional gains expected in 2013.

The pace of residential real estate sales picked up considerably in 2012 in the four counties of the lower Hudson region – Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange, according to the Realtor firms participating in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service (HGMLS), a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

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 to 4 family buildings as well. This was a 15 percent increase over 2011’s total of 9,973 sales.

This movement halted the steady decrease in annual sales that started 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 percent gain in sales over 2011. Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties posted year over year gains of 9 percent, 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively.  Also in those three counties, the highest percentage sales increases were posted in the single-family house sector. 

In Westchester, where house sales picked up by 16 percent, that performance was bested by a 20 percent increase in condominium sales.

Sales in the region generally increased in each quarter of 2012 but were especially strong in the final three months, depending on property type, when transactions that had been negotiated or contracted in the summer months finally went to closings and were reported to HGMLS.  

The fourth quarter increase for single-family houses was 30 percent in Westchester and 10 percent in Orange. Rockland’s condominium and cooperative sector posted a 19 percent gain.  Only Putnam posted a decrease - Putnam has a very small housing stock and as a result, its market data are subject to larger swings from just a few transactions up or down, according to the HGMLS.

Looking forward, HGMLS contends the 2013 real estate market will likely accelerate from the momentum of the 2012 market as long as there are no economic or political catastrophes at the national level affecting unemployment, mortgage interest rates, tax treatment of housing, or the equity markets, that would destroy consumer confidence. 

Gary Ploski January 14, 2013 at 04:03 PM
This is fantastic news! Personally speaking, I'm thrilled because I hope/plan to be a part of the continuing trend the HGMLS foresees in 2013.
Arden Greenspan-Goldberg January 14, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Great news! I believe things are looking up. If Manhattan is any indication, like a year ahead of us in suburbia, the signs are strong:)
Gary Ploski January 14, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Jason L. Mehler January 14, 2013 at 04:41 PM
If you have any questions about the local real estate market, please do not hesitate to call me at (914) 943-6450 or email me at jason.mehler@randrealty.com Jason L. Mehler, ABR, CBR, CRS, RFS, SRES Licensed Associate Broker Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Rye, NY 10580 www.JASONLMEHLER.com
Bernadette Haley January 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Great news for all. If you are looking for a price opinion for your home or are looking to move to Westchester, I welcome the opportunity to help you. Call or e-mail me... Bernadette Haley Houlihan Lawrence, Irvington, NY 10533 917-940-5672 or BHaley@HoulihanLawrence.com
Billy L January 14, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Don't overpay and be cautious. I DO NOT believe that real estate is on a permanent and sustained increase in price. Why? Because interest rates have no where to go but UP. Everyone, real estate professionals included, knows that interest rates and home prices have an inverse relationship due to the simple law of supply and demand. If interest rates start going up, it's unlikely home prices will continue to rise. Yea, they went up...moderately...with interest rates on 30 year fixed mortgages being under 4%. I would expect to see a lot more growth in demand and prices for real estate than that, if the market is healthy. But the market is NOT healthy. The government being cashed strapped has led to less state aid, which has led the states to cut back on local aid, which has resulted in municipalities having to increase property taxes. Buying the house is the cheap part. For example, the city of New Rochelle, has had 10% worth of pure tax increases in the last 2 YEARS. As taxes go up, that's less house that people can afford and thus skews the market.
NathanFrenchAttorney January 14, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Good - Royal Oak prices and Southfield prices are also going up
BG7 January 14, 2013 at 07:25 PM
In the theoretical perfectly efficient marketplace that doesn't exist outside textbooks, residential RE prices would vary inversely with mortgage interest rates. Everyone, including RE professionals, know employment levels, perceptions of macro and micro economics, discretionary income levels, credit worthiness, availablity of credit, housing inventory, location, actual economic health and interest rates all combine to set housing prices. Hanging your hat one one number (interest rates) is not advisable.
joe January 14, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I agree 100% with ArtDecoPlayLand....and in addition, the housing sales number quoted in the article is a year over year number. So a 15% increase after steady declines since 2004 is STILL a very low number. (Did you expect sales to decrease forever?) And that 15% increase can be instantly be wiped away with even the smallest increase in interest rates.
Billy L January 14, 2013 at 07:38 PM
It's not the only factor. Banks have tightened their lending standards, as per recent legislation. Employment still remains above the national average as well. It is a big factor but not the only factor. Personally I hope prices stay where they are so I can buy more rental property.
Jack Moolick January 15, 2013 at 02:47 AM
The Affordability Index has never been more favorable since in was first conceived and calculated and interest rates are at historic 60 year lows. If it were not for our Region having some of the highest real estate taxes, sales would be through the roof. However if you purchase a home with a tax bill of $12,000 it is the equivalent to paying off another $230,000 mortgage. Put another way, if you buy a home for $500,000 with $100,000 down and finance the $400,000 balance over 30 years at 3.25%, your payments, including real estate taxes, is the equivalent to paying off a mortgage of $630,000 for A $500,000 home.
joe January 15, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Well put, but Florida has been crushed and their taxes are low. Their affordability index must be extremely low. The problem with westchester, is that 1) it is the highest taxed county of all 3500 counties in the nation, and 2) the population of taxpayers shrinks each year while the population of non taxpayers grows each year. This will keep upward pressure on property taxes. As long as the tax and spend polititians in Albany hit us with unfunded mandates, our best days are behind us.
Jeremy Milano January 17, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Hopefully this year Real estate industry will boost its sales. Lot of people nowadays are investing their money on property. More philippine condominium investment articles on http://www.myproperty.ph
alex marco June 18, 2013 at 02:26 AM
^ @Jeremy Real Estate Industry are really booming here in the Philippines. With more and more Filipino working abroad are now coming back to our home country looking for properties they can invest in. http://www.philrealty-showroom.com


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