The final quarter of 2018 mirrored those earlier in the year, with home prices rising as sales declined compared with the same quarter in 2017, according to state-released data.
Fewer home sales were closed from September to December 2018, compared with the same period the year before. Half of the counties measured — Columbia, Greene, Rockland, and Ulster — had double-digit declines in sales. Columbia had 16.9 percent fewer sales (197, down from 237), with Greene County close behind with 15.4 percent fewer closings (230 vs. 272).
The decline in sales is almost to be expected, however, says Joseph Rand, vice president of innovation for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “To put these numbers in perspective, we closed almost 15,000 single-family homes and almost 3,000 condos in 2018, up from about 9,000 single-family homes and 2,000 condos back at the bottom of the market 10 years ago. So we’ve had a pretty good run-up of sales in the past 10 years, and were due to plateau at some point,” Rand explains.
Pricing was a different story, as it rose everywhere except for Columbia and Westchester counties.
Median sales price was the highest in Ulster County, compared with 2017’s final quarter. Ulster’s median price was $242,620, up more than 10 percent from $219,500 the year before. House prices also rose in Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Rockland counties.
Rand believes both sales and prices will bloom along with the flowers in the spring. “Going forward, we believe that the market is still poised for growth,” he says. “Sales are falling mostly due to a lack of supply, not a lack of demand…Ultimately, we believe that the region is still growing as a seller’s market, which should allow for both increases in sales and prices in what will be a robust spring market.”