While the year is not yet over, the residential real estate market typically slows down around the holidays.
By Robin Jovanovich
While the year is not yet over, the residential real estate market typically slows down around the holidays. Visions of a new home may be stirring in buyer’s heads, but it’s safe to report that the number of single-family homes sold in Rye as of December 2 is pretty close to the grand total for 2015.
And the magic number is 141, up from 135 last year. The houses sold ranged in price from $560,000 for a cottage near Playland to $7,900,000 for a waterfront home that was subsequently torn down.
In between those numbers is a lot of news for buyers and sellers.
“Early exuberance in the market led to more sellers putting their houses on the market, and since the demand was the same as last year, this led to an increase in inventory,” said JudiAnn Smith, who heads the Houlihan Lawrence office in Rye. She added that median prices were down slightly, and that sales in the $2 to $5 million price range were down from 2014, while sales for homes listed at $5 million and above were up.
Nancy Neuman, manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, described 2015 as “a bit of a roller coaster. In the spring, the market for new and old homes was strong, but even that has seemed to flatten, particularly with new home construction — surprising to everyone.” As far as the high-end market, she said it wasn’t what was anticipated either as many of the properties above $8 million have not sold as yet. “The question is why. Many feel the economy is not as strong as we had believed, the early election turmoil has made everyone jittery, and the unrest throughout the world has raised uncertainty.”
“Erratic” is how Pati Holmes, manager of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s, describes this year’s market. “My feeling is that 2015 was one that was very strong at the high-high end — over $6 million. Waterfront properties became very fashionable to buyers for the first time in a couple of years. Sales in the $3.5 to $5.5 million range were challenging; sales were in line with 2014, but the significant increase in inventory was hard for the market to absorb. Many of those homes have currently been withdrawn and I feel that we will see many come back to market in early spring.” The hottest market? Anything under $1.2 million, as inventory was extremely low and buyers were ‘waiting in the wings’ for these properties, said Holmes.
Marylin Hoffman, who heads the William Raveis office, reminded us that the market actually didn’t heat up quickly, as it usually does at the beginning of a new year. “The brutal weather pushed back the spring market, but we saw continuous activity well into summer. The fourth quarter, was a bit slower than we’ve seen in the past.” She added, “There were more high-end properties on the market than in previous years. And new construction was certainly in the lead; we continue to see buyers at all price points looking for new homes or certainly renovated homes.”
Right about now, if realtors can take a short but needed holiday nap, they’ve earned it. But the spring market is never far from their thoughts.