Orange County Partnership - News

  • Source: OneKey MLS
  • Source: Howard Hanna | Rand Realty

Home Sales in Hudson Valley Region Continue Strong Recovery from COVID-19 Impacts

Residential home sales in the lower Hudson Valley for the second quarter of 2021 continued a remarkable recovery from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis a year ago, with every county in the region demonstrating strong gains both in the number of sales as well as increased median sale prices.


Realtors indicate that while the home sales market in Orange County and elsewhere in the Hudson Valley continues to be a strong “seller’s market,” the level of activity is not as frenzied as it was when COVID restrictions on the home sale process in New York State were first lifted. They are also bullish that activity will remain strong and home sale values will continue to rise for the remainder of this year.


In a recently released report by OneKey MLS, the regional MLS noted that the strong second quarter sales numbers provide evidence of strong resiliency in the housing market, but that comparing this year’s second quarter with activity from a year ago is somewhat misleading. The housing market in the second quarter of 2020 was in large part frozen by COVID-19 restrictions and an inability to conduct in-person property showings, OneKey MLS officials stated. However, even when comparing the 2nd quarter 2021 sales to the pre-pandemic second quarter of 2019, the increases were still significant.


In terms of units sold, Orange County experienced a 13.7% increase when comparing the 2021 second quarter sales with those registered in 2019. Other counties in the Hudson Valley also posted significant sales spikes: Westchester increased 16.25%, Putnam increased 27.27%, Sullivan increased 56.83% and Rockland increased 33.86%.


Median sale price (the point that indicates the exact middle of the market) also increased in every area and continues to exceed the “bubble” prices of the 2008-2009 market. The median sale price for a single-family residential unit in Orange County rose 20.8% to $360,000 (from $298,000 one year ago).  Sullivan County saw an increase of 31.4% with median sale price rising to $229,900 from $175,000 one year ago. Prices in Westchester County rose 17.6% to $835,000 from $710,000 last year. The median sale price for a single-family residence rose in Putnam County by 23.3% to $442,000 (from $358,400), and in Rockland County by 15.8% to $550,000 (from $475,000).


OneKey MLS is one of the largest Realtor subscriber-based multiple listing services in the country, and it services more than 41,000 real estate professionals in Manhattan, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. OneKey MLS was formed in 2018, following the merger of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service and the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.


While the housing market continues to be plagued by a lack of inventory, it is still supported by low interest rates along with an economy and job market which is surging as a result of Federal stimulus monies which were pumped into the economy over the last year, the OneKey MLS stated in its report. While the lower Hudson Valley markets may have initially benefited by Manhattan residents departing the city for the suburbs, the New York City residential market is also showing signs of a strong recovery.


It could be argued that the increased sales numbers throughout the New York City and greater suburban area are the result of the pandemic accelerating the natural migration of home-owners who might otherwise have delayed home purchasing and selling decisions. The same questions about the sustainability of the current market continue to exist, especially with rising prices. However, with the economic recovery in full swing, it appears that the housing market should remain strong for the balance of 2021, OneKey MLS predicts.


Residential brokerage firm Howard Hanna | Rand Realty in its second quarter 2021 market report stated that it expects the home sales market to remain strong throughout this year and price appreciation to continue as well. It noted that Orange County condo sales (as compared to 2019) rose 30.7% from 114 to 149 closed transactions. The median sale price of an Orange County condominium in the second quarter of this year was $233,309 as compared to the median price of $198,415 posted 12 months ago, a 17.6% increase.


For sale inventory is down throughout the Hudson Valley region and are now well below normal inventory levels. In Orange County, the inventory level was at 6.0 months in the second quarter of 2019. At the end of the second quarter of 2021, the county’s inventory had dropped 60% to 2.4 months, according to the Howard Hanna | Rand Realty report.


The brokerage firm noted in its report that even without the post-pandemic demand surge, “We are still experiencing one of the strongest regional housing markets in history. What we have now is a robust but more normalized seller’s market driven mostly by fundamentals like good economic conditions, low interest rates, and limited supply, all of which is continuing to drive prices us.”


Howard Hanna | Rand Realty predicts going forward, “We expect strong (price) appreciation through at least the end of the year, because demand remains strong—rates are still low, and most importantly, supply continues to be tight. We’re at historically low levels of available homes right now, which will continue until enough homeowners see these impressive levels of appreciation and get tempted to put their homes on the market.”