Region’s housing sales reached pre-recession level in 2015

By John Golden

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Residential brokers closed more than 15,000 sales in the four-county lower Hudson Valley region in 2015, a level last reached in the pre-recession years of 2006 and 2007, according to the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Inc. in White Plains.

Unlike those peak years before the national housing market’s collapse, the stepped-up buying activity in 2015 was not accompanied by soaring prices in the lower Hudson Valley. The median sale price of a single-family house dropped slightly or held steady from 2014 in Westchester, Orange and Putnam counties, while Rockland County’s median price of $415,000 in 2015 was about 4 percent above the previous year’s median.

Realtors reported 15,324 sales for the year in a recovering market for single-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives and two- to four-family houses in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties. That was an increase of 1,769 housing units, or 13 percent, from 2014.

Westchester, the region’s largest county, led again in sales volume in 2015 with 9,401 sales, a 9 percent increase from 2014. The 3,284 closed deals reported to the multiple listing service by Realtors in Orange County amounted to a 26 percent increase from 2014, the largest percentage increase in the region.

Condos, which became a more attractive option for homebuyers in the recession and tighter home mortgage market of recent years, continued to sell “exceptionally well” throughout most of the region last year, according to Hudson Gateway analysts.

In Westchester County, the 1,315 condos sold last year amounted to a nearly 20 percent increase from 2014. Orange County’s condo market was up 31 percent, with 356 sales in 2015. Homebuyers in Putnam County closed on 146 condo units last year, a 35 percent increase from 2014. In Rockland County, the condo sector posted a more modest 2.3 percent gain last year, with 401 units sold.

Though overshadowed in numbers by condominium sales, two- to four-family houses proved more popular with buyers in 2015. Brokers in Westchester County reported 541 sales in that housing sector last year, up 32 percent from 2014. The 174 closings on two- to four-family homes in Orange County was a 39 percent increase from the previous year.

In Westchester, the median sale price of a single-family house was $628,875 in 2015, down 1 percent from 2014. Orange County’s median price of $225,000 last year was down nearly 3 percent from 2014, while Putnam County’s median price for a single-family home was unchanged at $310,000.

Showing what Hudson Gateway analysts called “a pattern of balance and restraint” that characterized the region’s housing market last year, the four-county inventory of residential properties for sale at the close of 2015 totaled 8,913 units, a 1.2 percent increase from a year earlier.

In Westchester, the year ended with 2,390 single-family homes on the market, up nearly 9 percent from the close of 2014. However, listings in Westchester for condos, co-ops and two- to four-family houses all showed single-digit declines from 2014. The co-op sector had the largest drop, with 88 units up for sale at the end of 2015, a nearly 8 percent decline from a year earlier.

Overall, 4,009 residential properties were listed for sale in Westchester at the close of 2015, a 2.2 percent increase. The slight increase should boost sales a bit in 2016, according to Hudson Gateway officials.

At the start of 2016, “The outlook for our real estate market is bright,” they said in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service report.

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About the author

John Golden
The Business Journal’s senior writer, John Golden directs news coverage of the county and Hudson Valley region as Westchester bureau chief. He was an award-winning upstate columnist and feature writer before joining the Business Journal in 2007. He is the author of “Northern Drift: Sketches on the New York Frontier,” a collection of his regional journalism.
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