Real Estate Column: A Lot of Swallows Do Make a Summer


By Mark Pruner

My wife really likes barn swallows. I do too but when they set up a nest in our garage and proceeded to sit on one particular rail over the back of my car and mess up my back window every day as they grow to maturity; I’m a little less joyful. By July, all of the babies in the nests in our garage, our barn and the patio have fledged and are out looking for any flying insect. The cool think is when I’m mowing the fields on my tractor kicking up all sorts of swallow food, it looks like a World War I dog fight with swallows flying in every direction including right at me and then dodging away only a few feet in front of me.   

The reason I mention this is that there is a saying that a single swallow does not make a summer. Well it’s July and lots of swallows do make a summer. Our sales are up, and contracts are up. For those folks who read my June report you may have been expecting this as while June sales were down we had a lot of pending contracts. Well in July 76 of those contracts closed. This was a 43% jump over the 53 sales that we had in July of 2017. Also, our overall sales are officially ahead of last year 351 sales to 342 sales

Now, our inventory is still running high at 643 single-family homes presently compared to 599 houses last year. Folks that might have moved over the next couple of years, have decided that with the new Tax Act that they are going to move in 2018, leaving us with an April inventory in August. But in just about every other way things are looking up sellers.

Our monthly sales plus contracts are up 29 as of the end of July 2018; from 133 in July 2017 to 162 houses in July 2018. The one area where we continue to see some signs of weakness is under $1.5 million but even there things are getting better. From $800,000 to $1,000,000 contracts are up 9 houses and year to date sales plus are up an additional 5 sales over last year. This is a total of 14 more transactions this year than last year or a 33% increase.

The result is that the lower end of the market is tight. In fact, the extra inventory we’ve gotten under $1 million has been helpful as it is giving people in an area where we normally have a strong sellers’ market a few more options.

The additional sales in July were concentrated from $1- $4 million where we were up 20 sales over last year. This is also the area where we have had an increase of 33 houses in inventory, so as of July, more inventory is finding more buyers. The word seems to be getting out that we have some low property taxes for the NYC metro area.

Now you’d like to say that July 2018 was a great month, but, it was only a pretty good month with July 2018 sales up to 76 sales, but this is up only 3 sales over our ten-year average of 72.9 sale. The key thing is that it is up. As several articles have pointed out Westchester County and NYC have been suffering significant sales drops over last year. To have our sales go up, when our surrounding areas are going down is a significant factor.

The even better news is that contracts continue to be up over last year with 6 more contracts than last year. The odds are we will do better than last year in August 2018, but not by as big a margin.

If you are in the NYC Metro area, it’s a good time to be living in Greenwich.

Mark Pruner is an award-winning real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway. He can be reached at 203-969-7900 and mark@bhhsne.com.

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