Market Activity Steady Or Stalled- Which Neighborhoods Are Hot? (October Market Report)

October 15th. 2018



Activity through the end of September was a mixed bag. While the interest for Staten Island properties remains steady, demand is slowly pulling back.


The average sale price in September rose about $10,000 since the previous month to $571,546, but only $8,000 over September last year. With inflation, prices are basically the same year over year- a stark contrast with the price climb witnessed in Staten Island during the previous two years.


But since price is a trailing indicator because home sales take 90 days to close, let’s look at leading indicators. Most importantly, year-over-year active listings are up from 1,749 to 1,989- a 14% increase since last year! This is also down from 2,054 the previous month, but seasonally adjusted, this is normal. Listings tend to spike in spring and summer.


The other leading indicator is days on the market, which is up by 11% from 66 last year to 73. Homes are selling more slowly- and this does not even account for homes that do not sell at all. This represents a sizeable amount, as you will soon see.


Monthly home sales have also dropped 13% since the same time in 2017, from 392 to 342. This is out of sync with the number of new listings: 502. Last year, new listings were parallel at 504.


When 502 homes are listed on the market but only 342 are selling, we can see that a big portion of the market sits without getting an accepted offer. But as we know, the most important data on these trailing indicators happened a few months ago. If 342 home sales reflect bidding/offer activity from 3 months ago, we can look to the new listings from June, which were 725. By rough estimates, this means that only half of these homes have sold.


This small sample size also skews our data, such as average price. This makes it difficult to truly analyze what homes in Staten Island are even worth.


What does this mean for you? If you are selling, you should not fear that the market will tank anytime soon- but it may not rise much higher on your side. Thus, waiting it out will probably not make much difference.


If you are buying for the first time, then go forward if your situation requires it- it’s still a better investment than lining your landlord’s pockets each month. But it likely won’t hurt you to wait it out either.


Speculative Investments: Neighborhood Is Everything


If you are selling a home and buying in the same market, your timing matters most if you are selling in a “hot” neighborhood. Generally, the hot neighborhoods right now are those closest to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and some above the expressway.


These neighborhoods are investor magnets. Asian and Middle Eastern investors have been snapping up property close to Brooklyn, where they have been buying for many years. The same thing can be said for affordable homes on the North Shore close to the Staten Island Ferry, though the craze for these has settled largely because of the disappointing New York Wheel.


Remember that speculative investments drive prices up, and this is not just buying activity from middle class families. This is important for a few reasons. First, we need to know that average families cannot afford to buy $571,546 homes. Second, your home pricing strategy should reflect the type of neighborhood you live in. Do not expect the same rules to apply across the island.


Not all neighborhoods are created equal. While South Shore homes used to fetch the highest prices, this is not the case anymore. Activity is down in these neighborhoods and up on the East Shore. Neighborhoods like Dongan Hills and New Dorp are seeing a surge of interest while neighborhoods like Great Kills and Tottenville are slow. Just a few years ago it was the complete opposite.

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