Below you’ll find brief summaries of our findings from this quarter’s market reports, which we produce four times a year in conjunction with Miller Samuel, Inc. While each market is unique, the major overarching trend that we saw as consistent across the board was high demand (due to record-low mortgage rates and continually increasing rental prices) and low inventory, or supply. In several of the markets, this produced something of a domino effect on the other indicators. For example, many of the markets showed faster monthly absorption rates (indicative of market pace) and increased days on market (indicative of the fact that because there was not enough new inventory to meet increased demand, older properties that had been sitting on the market for a longer period of time started to sell off).
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Manhattan: The momentum of Manhattan’s active spring market carried over to the summer months with more signed contracts than the previous summer. Inventory fell to a seven-and-a-half-year low, while credit remained tight, maintaining a sense of balance in the market. Consistent with the past three years, overall prices and sales remained stable, while record-low mortgage rates and rising rental prices resulted in more entry-level sales activity. Record trophy property sales continued to amaze all. We expect these trends to continue through the end of the year.
Brooklyn: The Brooklyn housing market was defined by falling inventory this quarter. Consumers had fewer choices, which continued to hold back the number of sales. Despite mortgage rates falling to record lows, housing prices remained stable, largely due to the tough lending standards still in place by banks. Despite this challenge, the market stabilized, and we anticipate continued improvement over the upcoming quarters as the economy grows stronger.
Queens: The third quarter Queens housing market was characterized by stable pricing and falling inventory. Properties sold faster as buyers and sellers moved closer together in determining fair prices. Despite mortgage rates dropping to record lows, the market remained a challenge for buyers, with limited inventory to choose from and tight bank lending conditions. The Queens market has come a long way over the past several years, and we look forward to an active market over the next several quarters.
Westchester/Putnam: After one of the busiest spring markets we’ve seen in 5 years, the Westchester housing market remained active through the summer. In fact, third quarter sales in Westchester were up sharply compared to the same time last year. Record-low mortgage rates, despite unusually tight lending conditions, drove demand and helped bring first time buyers into the market. While housing prices generally remained stable, the amount of inventory available for sale continued to decline. We anticipate the same market conditions through the end of the year.
Long Island: The Long Island housing market enjoyed higher sales activity in the third quarter with a jump in signed contracts. As a result of increased sales, listing inventory fell to its lowest level in nearly seven years. Housing prices continued to remain stable, as did the amount of time required to sell a property. Mortgage rates fell to new record lows, driving new buyers into the market. With market activity gaining momentum, we anticipate more seasonal improvement in the coming quarters.
Hamptons/North Fork: The Hamptons and North Fork housing market had its highest third quarter sales total in six years. Buyers and sellers moved closer together on price and there were fewer properties for buyers to choose from. Overall housing prices remained stable due to the impact of falling mortgage rates and more first time buyers entering the market. Despite the challenges of tough mortgage lending conditions and a weak but improving regional economy, we look forward to additional market improvement over the coming quarters.