Buyers and sellers are at the height of the real estate season and the pressure on inventory continues. Sales were down compared to last year, which continues to have more to do with available inventory than buyer demand. Pending sales increased 5 percent from June 2017 to 1,285 for the month. Closed sales decreased 14 percent from June 2017 to 1,135 for the month.
Across the country months’ supply of inventory declined. The Capital Region followed suit with a reduction of 16 percent to 5 months of inventory. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported, “U.S. Housing Starts Rise to Highest Level Since 2007”. The Journal attributed the increase in activity to the improved economy and builders’ slow but apparent confidence in the new construction of single and multi-family homes in the midwest. Laura Burns, CEO of the Greater Capital Association of REALTORS commented, “This is good news but, of course, all real estate is local. Here in the Capital Region, we saw only some of that effect. Second quarter ‘18 new construction sales of homes between 200K – 400K increased by 7 percent over 2017 with the sale of 718 new single families, 135 new townhomes and 98 new condos reported to the MLS.” The Eastern NY Regional Multiple Listing Service is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Greater Capital Association of REALTORS.
As builders continue to swing their hammers, the housing supply trend will change direction, but in the face of rising material costs and other new construction challenges faced by builders in New York State, it will take some time. Until it does, the overall number of new home sales in the region might not be enough to quell buyer demand which places pressure on prices. The percent of original list price received rose to an average of 96 percent across the region causing the median sales price to increase to $221,060 still very affordable for a micropolitan statistical area. The new construction median sale price came in at $403,564, a 2 percent increase over 2017. Not a surprise as the National Association of Home Builders reported the increase of lumber would add an estimated $9,000 to the cost of a home in 2018.
The numbers vary from city to city, town to town, but a few hit the high mark of receiving original list price at or above which often indicates a speedy sale or multiple offer situation. Malta, Halfmoon, and Wilton sellers received 100 percent or more of the original list price; the Towns of Bethlehem, Clifton Park, and Rotterdam reported June sales of 99+ percent of original list price. Susan Sommers, President of the GCAR, stressed, “Buyers need to be aware of how quickly the inventory is moving right now and so should be prepared to make serious offers if they find a property that will work for them. Sellers need to be aware that with average days on market at only 53, they need to get busy and clean out those basements, attics, and garages fast!”