The dog days of summer are fast approaching, and sellers with homes on the market may begin to worry. Showings are historically low during the warmest months of the year, and as a result, apprehension is on the rise.
In such a climate, it can be a comfort to know how other markets are performing. And, with so much data at the fingertips of today’s buyer, it’s now more important than ever to take a macro view of the overall sales environment.
As a whole:
– High-end properties continue to struggle
– More reasonable price ranges are faring better
– Price reductions (sometimes substantial), along with professional staging, are commonplace
In Westchester, inventory is up 8.2%. There has been a small decline of 1.7% in pending sales and a 1.4% dip in the median sale price. While these are the averages, each town differs greatly depending on price point, staging, and whether list prices are value propositions in comparison to competitors. Median sale prices have dropped in the double digits in some of the higher-end marketplaces, though the demand for properly priced homes under $2 million is still hot.
It’s a different story in Putnam County where inventory is up 7.6%, but pending sales are way up at a whopping 27.6%. The majority of those sales are under $800,000 and buyer demand remains strong at this price point. As a result, the median price has increased by 4.2% to $355,000. Consistent with the other counties, buyer demand in Putnam’s high end (over $1 million) is quite low.
Dutchess County is seeing almost double compared to its neighbors with a 14.4% increase in listings. Pending sales are basically the same as last year at this time, though the median sale price of $300,000 is up 5.3%. Just like in Putnam, demand below $1 million is balanced, and there is greater demand under $500,000.
While the median sale price in the tri-county region fluctuates from town to town, it clearly demonstrates the divide in the market between higher- and lower-end price points. Sellers in the top-tier brackets would be wise to adjust listing prices if they aren’t attracting offers. Generally, time is not on the side of the seller when inventory is on the rise, as buyers have the pick of the litter and don’t feel the urgency to bite the bullet. (In the lower end where demand is high, the urgency to buy is strong when properly priced.) In addition to a price drop, proactive changes such as staging, rotating photography, and refreshed MLS verbiage could drum up interest in a property that has been stagnant.
It’s the same dynamic in Manhattan, where a good number of suburban buyers originate. Inventory there continues to climb, offering buyers more choice. And, although sellers have been discounting, it hasn’t always been sufficient to secure a sale. Jonathan Miller, president of NYC-based Miller Samuel Inc., was quoted in a Bloomberg article as saying: “The bigger the disconnect between buyers and sellers, generally speaking, the lower the sales activity is.”