The Hudson Valley didn’t see much of a winter, but it’s the real estate market that seems to be brisk this year, at least if you ask the agents in the area. Beacon is flourishing, inventory in Windham is moving along quickly, and homes that are priced well are selling within weeks.
If you’re in the market for a new home, what you’ll get for your money depends on where you’re looking and how much you have to spend. In the $300,000 market, for example, you’re bound to find a nice older home in Fishkill, but you can get quite a bit more house — and land — in northern Sullivan County.
“It’s no secret that Beacon is really hot right now,” said Dianne Minogue, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence. “Brooklynites are coming to that area, and Newburgh is the beneficiary of that overflow. Beacon prices are being driven up, but those who are looking there now also see what they can get in Newburgh and still be close to the Beacon area.”
What $940,000 Will Buy You:
Listing courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence; photograph by Anthony Moreno for VHT Studios
During the last five years, Beacon acquired a reputation as the sixth borough of New York. “It’s being described as Brooklyn North,” said Matt Williams, broker and owner of Realty Executives–Williams-Sykes Realty. “But it’s frustrating for buyers now because they are getting shut out of the market. It is quite different than it has been over the last few years. One seller had 19 offers on a $110,000 home because — by the time it was rehabbed — it was going to be a $300,000 project.”
In Orange County, Minogue said that a budget of $300,000 will fund a nice home, even in affluent Balmville, located in the southeastern part of the Town of Newburgh. “We just sold a mid-century ranch in that area that was $235,000, and it received multiple offers,” she said.
What $525,000 Will Buy You:
Listing courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence; photographs by Ashley Studios
There is also plenty of movement locally. “The $300,000 price break has always been an interesting one in Orange County. It is the most competitive market, so inventory goes fast around that number,” said Geoffrey Green of Green Team Home Selling System in Warwick. “Back in 2005, I remember that a broker in Warwick ran an ad that stated what you could get for $300,000. It was mostly condos and very small, 1,000-square-foot homes. Although now you certainly can’t get a 2,600-square-foot colonial in Warwick for $300,000, you can get a very nice bi-level or small ranch for that price. If you look further north and west, you can get a new construction bilonial in a desirable neighborhood.”
Walkable is also on trend right now. “So is smaller,” said Green. “People are putting a premium on efficiency. This is why houses under $400,000 are red hot. In Orange County, north of $500,000 is a challenging place to be for a seller, but it’s a great place to be for a buyer.”
Listing courtesy of Realty Executives William Sykes Realty; photograph by Renee Revson
People perceive that the market is doing much better; in fact, Green explains, that is only half true. “Yes, the number of units sold [last year] was up about 25 percent from 2014,” Green said, “but the average price was actually down by 3.27 percent.” Sellers still need to be on guard against rebounding prices. “They need to be very honest with themselves in pricing their homes; otherwise, they simply won’t sell. For buyers, if you are still waiting, you shouldn’t be. Prices are poised for an increase: Rates are likely to rise, and inventory continues to tighten. Buy now.”
Related: Dutchess County Real Estate Prices (PDF opens in new window)
While Ulster County continues to be a hotbed for weekenders — especially in the towns of New Paltz, Gardiner, and Kingston — Minogue suggests buyers head across the Mid-Hudson Bridge instead. “Buyers can get more for their money in Dutchess County, especially in Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, and Pleasant Valley,” she said. “I sold two homes in the City of Poughkeepsie, where there are great deals right now. The buyer got a 4,000-square-foot home with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths that was move-in ready.”
Minogue credits the Walkway Over the Hudson, as well as some trendy new restaurants, as city attractions. “Buyers also get a lot for their money,” she said. “You can get new construction in Poughkeepsie and the Wappingers School District for around $329,000. In Hyde Park, you can get a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath colonial in beautiful condition on almost an acre of land. If you want to go further south, though, you’re going to get a lot less.”
What $455,000 Will Buy You:
Listing courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence; photographs by Ashley Studios
One exception to the rule is Rhinebeck. This area of northern Dutchess County is its own market; Pawling and Millbrook are also pricier northern areas. “In Rhinebeck, you can get a parcel of land for $295,000,” said Williams.
Dutchess County has a strong pull for families and commuters who want to be close to transportation routes, shopping, and schools. “Dutchess is a central location for parents and grandparents to be near children and grandchildren who live in Manhattan and can come up on the train to see them on the weekends,” Minogue said.
What $350,000 Will Buy You:
Listing Courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence
In the Dutchess area where he is selling properties, buyers in the $300,000 range are able to find some pretty nice homes, ranging for medium-sized Cape Cods and raised ranches to small colonials, according to Frank Cannizzaro of Cannizzaro Real Estate Center in Hopewell Junction. “This is the preferred style of home if it meets their payment cap.”
For example, Cannizzaro is currently listing a 2,400-square-foot ranch on .71 acre in Fishkill with an updated stainless steel kitchen, three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a finished basement for $284,925. “If you go out to Hyde Park, you can get more square footage for the same money, but your commute will increase by about 25 minutes,” he said. “There is always a tradeoff of some kind.”
In the southern part of the county (“that doesn’t include Beacon,” notes Williams), $300,000 will buy a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 45-year-old raised ranch. “For the same budget in Fishkill or East Fishkill, the buyer can get a 100-year-old, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath two-story on a very small piece of property.”
The majority of home buyers seem to be first-timers between 25-35 years of age, Cannizzaro notes. “They have been bogged down with high debt for school loans, which has slowed many of them.” Williams also notices a quick turnover of inventory. “It’s a very active market. Homes that are priced properly should sell within two to three weeks,” he said. “If a property hasn’t sold in that time, there is something wrong. It is either not available to show or it’s priced too high.”
Photograph courtesy of Realty Executives William Sykes Realty; photograph by Renee Revson
Ellie Hyde, Broker/Owner of Century 21 Country Realty in Monticello, Sullivan County, noticed a rise in the volume of sales last year with a corresponding decrease in price range of between 10 and 20 percent, depending on market sector. “The second-home market did very well in the $150,000-$200,000 range,” she said. “In the lower market, $80,000 and under saw an uptick with investors due to the issuance of the [Montreign Resort] casino license [in December 2015].”
She also sees a growing trend with second-home buyers who are within two hours of New York City, especially those on the western side of the county. “In the $300,000-$500,000 range, you can find a home with a water feature — like a lake, pond, or stream — or a farmhouse with some acreage,” she said. “Buyers in the $500,000 to $1 million range have their pick of beautiful equestrian properties, lakefronts with all the bells and whistles, or a country setting with amazing views.”
The experts agree: Before starting to hunt for a house, make a list of what you want and what you need, and know your price point. These simple steps will help you find your dream home more quickly and (with any luck) painlessly.
Celebrities in the Country
Wealthy Manhattanites may no longer have to travel quite so far to find a super posh, golf-centric second home. “They want the country, and they want to be in the middle of nowhere, but they still want a lush lifestyle,” said Dan O’Callaghan, a sales representative at the Silo Ridge Field Club in Amenia, a highly touted community of more than 200 residences that was expecting to break ground in March.
And lush it is. At press time came the word that football great Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bunduchen had plunked down at least a couple of million for a 1. 5 acre plot of land. Apparently, there are 25 “founding member” families that have committed to buying a property at Silo Ridge. The homes range in price from $1.9 to $5.8 million. “You can buy raw land for $2 million to $4 million, condos from $1.9-$3.7 million, and a developer-built single family home for $3.6-$5.8 million,” O’Callaghan said.
Plans for the site include construction of 140 three- to five-bedroom single-family developer-built homes, and 61 condos and townhouses. In addition, “There’s $250 million of infrastructure and a 35,000-square-foot clubhouse with fine dining and more,” said O’Callaghan, who emphasizes that downstate buyers “want to be in the woods in the Hudson Valley, but they also want a turnkey product.”
Located on 800 acres adjacent to the Wassaic train station and the town of Millbrook, the gated site is being developed by Discovery Land Company, which is well-known for residential golf communities around the country. (Their renowned Yellowstone Club in Montana calls BIll Gates a resident.) “We expect a 12-month build time for all of the homes, but the condo buildings might take 14 months because they are bigger,” he said. “Buyers are coming to us because, most likely, they know our brand and they are willing to pay prices that are higher than those comped in the area.”
The community will include the 18-hole Silo Ridge golf course, which will be redesigned by legendary course architect Tom Fazio; a family barn; a state-of-the-art field house; wellness and recreation programming, including access to live bird, sporting clay, and skeet shooting; and an Olympic-caliber private equestrian center.
For more information, visit www.siloridge.com.
Median Sale Prices for Condos and Single-Family Homes in the Lower Hudson Valley