Staten Island’s Real Estate Market Holds Strong for 2020 Year’s End

Hannah Jay  |  December 8, 2020

Market Reports

Sales remain healthy and robust for Staten Island even during the seasonal virus spike. As New Yorkers continue taking precautions and showing homes carefully, home sales have soared while inventory still remains low.
Housing inventory is down 15% over last year, with only 2,028 total homes for sale. Yet sales are up almost 40 percent! In November, 440 homes were sold. During the fall months, this is very high for Staten Island. Last year, only 319 homes sold in November.
However, these factors have not yet caused prices to rise. November’s average home sale price was $603,462. This is just barely up from last year’s $600,345, and actually down slightly from October when the average home sold for $605,885.
This is true even as the sold-to-list ratio broke 97 to an amazing high of 97.3. For the first time in years, homes now sell for over 97% of their asking price. Last year, the SP/LP ratio was nearly a full point lower at 96.4. This 1% change amounts to a lot of cash; sellers would bring in another $6,000 on the same home this year.

What Would Cause Prices to Flatten Even With High Demand?

A reason prices have not crept up is likely the amount of new listings. New listings are up slightly at 455 over last year’s 432, while the last several months have also been up over last year.
But perhaps more importantly, prices are a trailing indicator. The average sale price we see this month may actually reflect the market three months ago since home sales usually take 90 days to close. We will need to monitor prices over the next few months to get a full picture of what is going on with the market at this time.
Home affordability is also a factor. Even though we are clearly in a seller’s market now, sellers are only able to demand prices that buyers are actually able and willing to pay. A $600,000 home would require $120,000 upfront for a 20% downpayment, and this does not even include closing costs. And even with interest rates still hovering at 50-year lows, the monthly mortgage payment on this home would still be around $2500 even after a six-figure downpayment.
Even with the shrinking supply, there is still a limit to what buyers are able to pay. Sellers may also be more generous today because they are more motivated. With all of the fear surrounding the pandemic in Staten Island, it’s possible that homeowners might be afraid of falling home values in the near future. Others, such as police officers, are retiring in higher numbers this year and many are moving out of state.

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