Real estate sales in 2019 are off to a busy start! There are definitely signs of a shifting market, especially at higher price points. Overall, though, the market feels healthy and there is a lot of action. We got a boost from declining mortgage rates; rates for a 30 year mortgage approached 5% at the end of 2018 and are now in the low 4's, which increases affordability and causes buyers on the fence to buy. Like in any market, pricing and condition are key. The most updated homes in the best locations are still selling and attracting lots of interest. I have been in quite a few bidding wars and have seen a surprising number of all cash buyers. There are still a lot of homes sitting on the market, though, and that is usually related to price.
It seems to me like the new tax plan is having a meaningful (negative) impact on the real estate market, especially in higher price ranges. This is not a surprise, though the magnitude of the shift is tremendous (!). For example:
- in the $3 - $4 million range, there were 5 sales in the first quarter vs. 13 in 1Q2018 and 15 in 1Q2017; end-of-quarter inventory was down 22% from 1Q18
- in the $5 - $10 million range, there were just 2 sales in the first quarter vs. 4 in 1Q2018; end-of-quarter inventory was down 2% from 1Q18
- some of the higher taxed areas are hard hit; Rye has seen a 48% drop in the number of sales and the Rivertowns are down 22%
- under $500,000, the number of homes for sale dropped 10%; this is down 55% from 1Q2016
- in the $500k - $1 million range, end-of-quarter inventory jumped 24% and the number of sales was up 5%
- overall we are balanced, though, since the number of active listings at quarter-end 1Q19 vs. 1Q18 was up 6% and the number of sales was down 5.5%
I continue to have big goals for 2019 and my business is referral-based. If you are reading this and have any needs related to real estate, please get in touch with me. I want to help you (and your colleagues, family and friends)!