By Robin Jovanovich
It’s no secret that 2021 was a very good year for Rye and nearby residential real estate. Pati Holmes, Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s brokerage manager, puts an exclamation point on it: “It was a year like no other!”
Houlihan Lawrence brokerage manager Susanna Cronin adds,
“2021 was a wild and wacky year in Sound Shore real estate, all the while challenging and amazing. A combination of historically low inventory, low interest rates, multiple bid deals, shut-down bids, and escalation clauses, all going on while Covid waves came and went.”
The big winners in 2021 were the sellers, notes Susan Reische, who manages the William Raveis Rye office. “Low interest rates, low inventory, and tremendously strong demand, especially in the luxury sector, worked to the sellers’ advantage.”
Reische doesn’t see any reason why the robust real estate market won’t continue into 2022. As the new year opens, we are experiencing economic shifts, such as rising interest rates to help mitigate inflation. However, even if rates increase in the first six months, we’ll still be at historically low rates for the last 20 years.”
Berkshire Hathaway Senior Vice President Eric Bjork, who recently took over as Director of Sales for the firm’s Rye office, in addition to continuing to head up the Greenwich and Old Greenwich branches, is somewhat more cautious with his predictions for 2022.
“We anticipate that sales and average price acceleration will continue, albeit at a slower pace than last year.” He adds, “We agree with the National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, in that we expect a 2% reduction in sales activity with home prices outperforming pre-pandemic levels, appreciating between 5% and 7%.”
The desirability of a turn-key home continues unabated, emphasizes Brett Forman, Senior Managing Director of Coldwell Banker Sound Shore Realty.
“How quickly the ‘McMansion’ came back in style, as those buyers who previously were wary of the upkeep and burden of owning a larger home were drawn to the safety and space a large home can provide,” said Forman.
He believes 2022 will be another very strong year for the residential real estate market “due to the continued desire for both indoor/outdoor spaces and ability to work at least part-time from home. Inventory will be the make or break in 2022.”
It’s worth noting that Coldwell Banker Rye underwent a renovation to become the only “Global Luxury” branded office in all of Westchester to better support its agent and client needs in the Sound Shore.
Holmes says that the fact that unit sales were up 22% when inventory was down 49% (from 2020) “shows the efficiency and depth of the marketplace.” And she remains optimistic for this year, because “motivated buyers are out there, wanting to take advantage of the low interest rates while they can.”
For just the facts on the 2021 market, Cronin provided us with a spread sheet, which showed that within the Rye City School District 194 single-family properties changed hands (up 5 from 2020); the highest sale was $13 million, and the lowest $490,000, with a median sold price of $1,937,500 and an average sold price of $2,354,229. The average days on market was 47, and the average sale-to-list price was 99.8%. The rental market remained tight with limited supply and ample demand.
“A crystal ball for 2022 would be lovely, and helpful,” offers Cronin. “But in the absence of that, the low supply of homes on the market will continue to shape the market. Buyer appetite continues to be present; we just need the inventory to match. We are already hearing anecdotally of new listings in our Sound Shore area having 50 or more showings and going to multiple bid situations in a matter of days. Here’s to 2022!”