Real Estate Inventory Up, Sales on Slow Burnernv
By Robin Jovanovich
Time was when realtors, and buyers and sellers, spoke excitedly about the spring market, the short but dizzying period when homes in Rye came on the market, received multiple bids, and sold over the weekend. Those were heady days, indeed.
This year, it’s inventory that is up. According to the most recent data, there are close to 120 single-family homes for sale in the Rye City School District, and an additional 50 homes within the Rye postal code.
Year-to-date, 40 homes in the Rye City School District have sold, down from 57 for the same period in 2018. At the end of May, there were 38 houses for sale in the $2 to $3 million range, up from 23 last year. In further bracing news, sales to date are down 35 percent, and the median sold price is down over 10 percent.
Are alarms going off in every real estate office in town? Are sellers pushing panic buttons?
No, but these are definitely not ordinary times in residential real estate. “It’s a late market,” said Pati Holmes, brokerage manager of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s. “Sales of New York City apartments have slowed, so those families are circling but not ready to sign contracts here.”
These are good times to buy, notes Holmes. “Buyers have so much choice. Typically, we’d have six houses to show a young couple; currently, we have at least twice that number.”
Kim Arenas, who oversees a team of agents at Compass, has a different take on the market. “This is an extended market, but it’s moving and fluid. Rye hasn’t lost its cachet. It is a sought-after community.” She added, “But buyers can take their time to find the house they have been searching for, one that is in move-in condition and unique, not cookie-cutter.”
She points to two of their listings that have recently sold: 2 Park Lane, a fun, totally renovated house overlooking Blind Brook, and 71 Island Drive, which was priced “realistically” and sold the first week.
Nancy Neuman, manager of Coldwell Banker, encourages all potential buyers to step up. “The scuttlebutt is that the spring market is late, but I think that just means we’re going to have a strong summer market. I’m focusing on the fact that interest rates are low, some of our buyers have secured 3.3 percent loans.”
She continued, “Yes, getting buyers to make an offer has been a bit more difficult, especially those with Manhattan apartments that aren’t selling, but sellers are repositioning. And with so many homes available, buyers have the opportunity to get the home they want without a lot of pressure.”
Lisa Murphy, a top agent at Houlihan Lawrence, says, “Rye is having a June market. Nine houses went into contract in the last week. Contracts are up 21 percent. Anecdotally, one of my clients put in good offers on two houses last week and didn’t get either of them.” She adds, “Buyers are opportunistic. If they see value, they will step up.”
The best advice to sellers, offers Pati Holmes, is:
- “Do a pre-building inspection. It isn’t costly and it will make a difference when it comes time to negotiate with a fastidious buyer.
- Be prepared to put your house on the market. Start minimizing what’s in your closets, attic, basement.
- Don’t spend money painting or staging until you’ve spoken to agents.”
Staging will, however, be in your future if you’re a serious seller. According to Christy Murphy, a longtime Sotheby’s agent, “It’s rare to go into a house that hasn’t been tweaked. More than 75 percent of new construction is being staged.”