Panel members at a virtual event staged by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and OneKey MSL agreed that the hot real estate market is going to stay hot, at least as far out as they’re able to forecast.
An estimated 300 industry professionals signed on for the online event, “Getting the Deal Done: From The Hamptons to Manhattan, Scarsdale to the Catskills – A Seller’s Market.”
Bruce Cohen of the New York City law firm Cohen and Frankel, who specializes in real estate, said, “I don’t think we’ve ever been busier and I’ve been doing this a long time. One of the reasons is that interest rates just remain so low. Yes, there is euphoria.
“It was wrong to write off New York City during the pandemic,” he said, “and anyone who thinks this market is going to last forever is wrong, too. But I would say to every broker, attorney, buyer and seller, ‘If you want to do something, now is the time’.”
Other participants in the panel discussion included Jennifer Grimes, broker/owner, Country House Realty, Sullivan and Ulster counties; Lisa Lippman, associate real estate broker, Brown Harris Stevens, New York City; Laura Miller, associate real estate broker, Houlihan Lawrence, Scarsdale; Ernie Cervi, regional senior vice president, East End, Corcoran, Bridgehampton; and host Richard Haggerty, CEO of HGAR and president and chief growth officer of OneKey MLS.
“This seller’s market is going to last – particularly in Westchester, the Hudson Valley and on the East End — for quite some time,” said Haggerty, describing Sullivan County as the “hottest market we’ve had in our area.”
He reported that there was an 85% increase there in the number of single-family transactions in May compared with May of last year and an almost 10% increase in the median sale price.
Grimes said the market in the Catskills region was robust pre-pandemic, with the pandemic-related exodus from New York City adding to the surge.
“The pandemic sped up the process of maturation in terms of people discovering the Catskills, with so many coming up here to hike and do things to get out of New York City,” Grimes said. “The market exploded in an extraordinary way, where in some cases people were trying to buy houses sight unseen. Our value for money is significant here, so people feel they can buy for cash a lot of the time. Our second-home market is really what is driving everything here.”
Lippman said, “In New York City we had a softer market, then we had Covid and it was super soft, and now we’re back to where we were pricewise pre-pandemic. There’s a feeling of euphoria.”
But Lippman cautioned sellers that the market still is price-sensitive.
“If you properly price something, it moves immediately. If you overprice it, no one calls. And, if you underprice it, you’ll have a crazy bidding war,” Lippman said.
Miller said, “The Westchester market is hot with pending sales in general up over 90%. In Scarsdale, which is my main area, it’s up around 80% and in Edgemont pending sales are up around 200%. There’s just high demand and a real scarcity of inventory. We are still seeing multiple bids and listings at all price ranges are selling significantly over asking.”
Cervi said his firm is seeing numbers that have never seen before on Long Island’s East End.
“The Hamptons market is up 89% over last year in the first quarter,” he said. “The average sale price has topped $2.7 million and the median price is $1.6 million, which is up 50%. The sellers are very realistic. If they price appropriately, they’re going to have a bidding war and sell over ask in those cases.”
The discussion was moderated by Brian D. Tormey, president of the title insurance and real estate services company TitleVest.