Real Estate Market Holds Steady, Paints Cautiously Optimistic Picture

Hannah Jay  |  March 18, 2020

Market Reports

Some indicators are slow, others have picked up- leaving a fairly balanced and healthy picture of the real estate market in Staten Island.
 
With the full month of February’s data in, let’s start with the good news for home sellers. Sales are up over last February- 286 compared to 262. February is always a slow month, often the slowest month of the year for sales. This represents a 9% jump in sales year over year.
 
Prices also came up too. The average sale price topped out at $613,996. This is the second highest month on record. Last February’s average sale price was $583,514. This comes out to just over a 5% price increase over last year, and also a 5% increase over last month’s average price of $585,259. The average list price for sold homes was also up to $639,321, the highest we have seen in awhile.
 
With prices and sales up, don’t get too excited for selling before we get into the bad news. Cumulative days on the market reached 121 for the average house. This is also a record high but not in a good way this time. Homes are now taking 4 months to sell on average. This is up from February 2019’s CDOM average of 100 days.
 
Inventory is also rising. New listings in February were up to 553, increasing 9% from last year’s 503. In addition to that, total inventory is now 1,968. This is down over last year, but up since January. Month’s inventory would now take 6.88 months to sell. In January month’s inventory was down to 5.83. A whole month’s increase is significant.
 

Slowing vs Rising Factors: What to Take Away

 
So what can we make of these slowing indicators paired with higher prices and sales? Though strange, we have encountered this a lot in the last year or so with the local market. We can infer a couple of things. First, closed sales and sale prices are trailing indicators. Because a typical sale takes 90 days to close in New York, prices and sales reflect the market conditions from 3 months prior. Leading indicators (CDOM, month’s inventory, new listings, and active inventory) are slowing down.
 
This combination of factors could mean that the market is balancing out. Prices will likely fall a little in the coming months, but inventory is not spiking too high. Sellers are not flooding the market like they have in previous months and this keeps demand up. The sold-to-list price ratio is in line with the last 12 months at 96.3% so no real changes there.
 

Other Factors: The Elephant in the Room

 
Of course, the threat of Coronavirus has turned financial markets upside down. The Dow Jones just had it’s worst day since 1987 amid global fears surrounding the virus. The real estate market often runs in tandem with the stock market. The Dow’s plunge is likely to affect consumer confidence and purchasing power. 2020 may prove to be a wild ride, so hold onto your seats!

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