By Bill Primavera
For more than a dozen years, The Home Guru has been observing and writing about the housing market and home building design, repair and maintenance. I have focused on hundreds of widely varied subjects, sometimes into areas quite unexpected.
Who would expect a home columnist to write a treatise on mattresses or toilets or delve into the ghosties that still live among us? No matter how far flung my pen or keyboard may reach, there are so many thousands of topics that deal with the experience of “home” that this column could last far beyond my earthly years.
Even though it’s not my favorite kind of reporting, I’m reminded from time to time, especially when my editor forwards me the quarterly report from the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) which manages our Multiple Listing Service (MLS), that part of my job is to respond on the most frequently asked question I get from readers and friends: “So how’s the market doing?”
Normally the regional daily paper gets the jump on me with that report, and the headline there would surely seem discouraging to anyone who would have their homes on the market now or in the near future. “Spring Sales Stalled” it announced, but then that didn’t come as any surprise to those of us in the business. We were aware that some of our seller clients were getting anxious about not getting as many showings as they had been hoping for since their listing date, while others were ecstatic about the results they were getting, even with bidding wars getting back into play.
The second quarter, from April 1 through the end of June, was very strange to say the least following a winter that started early and never seemed to end. At least that’s the reason industry pundits are citing for such lackluster results in a recovering market.
In our area, sales dropped 13.5 percent in Westchester and 6.6 percent in Putnam in the recently completed second quarter compared to the same quarter last year, even though the market had shown an uptick the three months before. That would seem to be a stunning statistic but the weather caused one showing cancellation after another. After a while, sellers decided to wait until spring to list and buyers seemed to put house hunting on hold as well.
The good news is that realtors are comparing notes and reporting that pending sales–those in contract–are higher as parents are rushing to close deals on new homes to enroll their children into local schools before September. That augurs well for a stronger third quarter.
What has been odd about the second quarter is the spottiness of hot and cold pockets in Westchester and Putnam, depending on the price points and locations of properties.
For instance, I listed two historic colonials lastquarter, one in the hot market of Bronxville at 447 California Rd., which was priced at $997,500, and received an accepted offer in two days. Another that I listed in Brewster, a really great house and priced wonderfully at $575,000, just five minutes from the train station and an hour from Grand Central, has had only one showing so far. Go figure. But slowly, very slowly, we know from our showing desk that appointment activity is slowly moving north. And that’s encouraging.
Overall, I would say that the second quarter, after weathering a horrific recession and a horrific winter season, is simply shaking out and stabilizing for a more solid fall season.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com, specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.