Real Estate Market Stagnates, but That May Change Soon

Hannah Jay  |  September 14, 2020

Market Reports

The average sale price for Staten Island homes in August came in at $585,668. This is a fairly insignificant change over the previous month of about $5k, but still down about $33k from two months ago.
Days on the market is also up to a significant high of 128. One year ago, homes took only 86 days to sell on average. It takes almost 50% longer to sell a house today than it did one year ago.
Sales are also down to just 253 homes sold in August. By contrast, 447 homes sold in August of 2019, representing a 43% decline in sales. New listings are also up from last year, when 556 homes hit the market. During the month of August 2020, 762 homes were listed for sale; a 37% increase.
So sales are down, homes are taking much longer to sell, and inventory is rising. On the surface, it would appear the market is shifting to favor buyers. But this is misleading for a few reasons. First, August of 2019 was an outlier in sold listings. The summer and fall months other than August all came in under 400, so the “real” year-over-year sales decline is smaller than 43% if we average these months together.
In addition, prices are a trailing indicator. This is because home sales typically take 90 days to close in New York, making the current sale price more reflective of the market’s state 3 months ago than what is happening right now. Even so, the sale price is down ever so slightly and has still not fallen significantly despite these things.
So upon a deeper review, it appears the market is leveling out rather than shifting. According to Bankrate, current mortgage rates are 3.06% for a 30-year fixed rate. Mortgage rates have remained at historic lows all summer, but this has picked up from summer lows around 2.85%. If buying activity were slowing down noticeably, mortgage rates would probably not increase.

Is the Market Really Slowing Down in Staten Island?

Based on certain indicators, there is also reason to believe that our local market may pick up again.
For the last two years or so, Staten Island’s real estate market has really defied the labels of “buyer’s market” or “seller’s market”. Prices have changed very little. Although sales have been steadily slowing down and inventory has risen, the rising supply has not brought prices down.
There are many reasons why buyers might keep paying these high prices in Staten Island. The most recent surge of activity within our own office is unique because of the pandemic. This could be a result of social restrictions loosening and buyers becoming more confident viewing homes and interacting with others. Inventory is also still historically low at 2,336 homes for sale, which is lower than the same time last year.
Whatever the reason, Staten Island has seen bumps in activity that always seem to bring the price right back up once it falls. This small price drop will likely correct itself if the activity surge in our office is any indication.

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