Home Economy New HGAR President Gail Fattizzi says 2019 was strong for real estate

New HGAR President Gail Fattizzi says 2019 was strong for real estate

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The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) has issued a report on real estate activity in the lower Hudson Valley during 2019, which concludes that the market remained strong during the year.

HGAR housing Gail Fattizzi
Gail Fattizzi

Gail Fattizzi, the president of HGAR, told the Business Journal, “2019 was a good strong year for real estate. We didn’t see any big swings in either direction. Sometimes stable is good in the real estate market as opposed to it being extreme in any direction.”

In Westchester, single-family home sales totaled 5,832 in 2019 as compared with 5,883 in 2018. The median sales price rose to $655,000 from $650,000 in 2018.

In Orange County, although single-family sales declined by 4.2%, the median price went from $258,600 in 2018 to $271,000 last year.

Putnam County saw a slight increase in the number of single-family house sales to 1,048 units in 2019 as compared with 1,041 in 2018. The median price went up 2.4% from 2018 to 2019 and was $358,500.

In Sullivan County, although sales dropped by 2.4% to 978 units, the median sale price shot up 11.3% to $142,500 for 2019.

Rockland County saw an increase in the number of single-family homes sold to 2,027 units in 2019 compared with 1,921 in 2018. The median sale price was slightly off at $455,000 compared with $460,000 in 2018.

Fattizzi described the fourth quarter of 2019 as ending with signs of strength.
“We had what seemed like a bit of a slowdown in the beginning of the quarter but then things picked up and I think we finished strong and about where we expected,” she said.

Fattizzi said that the change in the federal tax law under the Trump administration that put a $10,000 cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes, known as SALT, did not have the universally devastating effect on real estate that some had feared.

“When people are doing their taxes they’re seeing a significant difference in some cases. Not in all cases. It’s not affecting everyone equally. I don’t know that it has played into peoples’ decisions about buying and selling housing as much as we have anticipated it might,” Fattizzi said. “SALT is a long-term scenario so if interest rates change, if the economy changes, if the environment for buying houses changes, SALT is going to have more of an impact than it does right now.”

The condominium segment of the market in 2019 showed mixed results. Sales in Westchester were up 1.9% with 1,335 units sold and the median sale price up 2.7% at $385,000. In Putnam, fewer condos were sold; 126 in 2019 compared with 141 in 2018. The median sale price slid 1.8% and stood at $245,500. Although the number of condos sold in Rockland dropped from 572 units in 2018 to 531 in 2019, the median sale price was up 9.8% to $247,000.

Co-op sales in Rockland rose to 100 units sold in 2019 compared with 70 in 2018. In Westchester co-op sales dropped to 1,867 from 1,994 a year earlier. Putnam had only three co-ops sold during 2019, down from the six units sold in 2018. Orange County, on the other hand, showed an increase in co-op sales to 21 units in 2019 compared with 14 in 2018.

Fattizzi was asked to comment on New York state losing population, with statistics showing that just over 76,000 residents moved out of New York from mid-2018 to mid-2019.

“I can only speak to the New York metro area,” she said. “No matter how many people may be leaving because it is an expensive place to live, it still is a very desirable place to live and the economy is strong here. The jobs are here. We are not going to see the same effect of people leaving the area in Westchester as maybe other areas of the state that are not as strong economically and don’t have the same opportunities for jobs and housing.”

HGAR has scheduled an Installation Gala for Fattizzi and its other new officers and board members on the evening of Jan. 16 at Le Chateau in South Salem.

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