In 2019, Condos Are the Way to Go

Buyers still aim for home ownership, but on a smaller scale, a new report says.

The real estate market in the region continued its trend of rising condo sales and falling sales of single-family homes in the second quarter of 2019, with the biggest impact seen in Westchester County, according to data provided by Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.

Region-wide, the average price for a single‑family home fell 2.5 percent compared to the same time last year, with prices down in every county aside from Orange, the lowest‑priced market in the region. But regional sales of condominiums (historically priced lower, on average, than single-family homes) were up more than 2 percent over last year’s second quarter — concurrently, average condo prices jumped a whopping 14 percent. That trend was reflected in many counties throughout the region: Orange up 20 percent, Westchester up 15 percent, Rockland up 16 percent, and Dutchess up 3 percent.

Although a dip in single-family home prices would suggest a more attractive lure for buyers, the 2018 Tax Reform cap on state and local tax deductions (the “SALT Cap”) continues to keep potential high-end buyers at bay. Owners of middle- and higher-priced homes tend to itemize their taxes, and thus feel the pinch of the SALT Cap, while lower-end homeowners are more likely to take standard deductions and would not be adversely affected, the Rand report explains.

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“Going forward, we still believe that the market is still poised for growth in the summer and fall,” the report states. “At some point, the impact of the SALT Cap will get priced into the market, and the single‑family market will start behaving like the condo market. Again, the seller market fundamentals are very strong: The economy is growing, interest rates are near historic lows, inventory is relatively low, and homes are still priced at attractive levels well below their historical highs.”

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