Local real estate boom might be leveling out soon | Local

Real estate

Real estate agent Sean Rogge places the “sold” sign in front of a house he recently sold in Hudson Falls. 

Gretta Hochsprung

Homes in New York’s Southern Adirondack region spent an average of only 24 days on the market in June, lower than any point in the past decade.

And median sales prices jumped to $350,000, the highest mark in the past 10 years — thanks to low inventory and aggressive buyers.

“The fact that homes continue to sell quickly and above asking price indicates that demand remains strong in our area,” said Densay Sengsoulavong, the CEO of Southern Adirondack Realtors. “Given that summer is typically our most active sales season, we expect the market to remain competitive in the coming months.”

Southern Adirondack Realtors Inc. represents more than 525 members and more than 60 affiliate members in New York’s Southern Adirondack region, which includes the counties of Essex, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington.

While the pandemic has created a housing boom, local real estate agents are expecting — and hoping — it will slow down soon. Many of them are eager for the housing market to go back to a pre-pandemic normal.

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Nationally, the median sales price exceeded $400,000 for the first time ever, up 15% from the same time last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

New listings in the Adirondack region increased 1.9% in June compared to last year, from 697 to 710. The inventory of homes for sale dropped 34.7%, from 1,432 to 935, and pending sales increased 4%, from 478 to 497. Closed sales were down 11.4%, from 466 to 413.

Sellers received 103.6% of their list price in June.

The median sales price increased 6.6% in June compared to last year, jumping from $328,250 to $350,000. Homes spent an average of 24 days on the market last month, compared to 44 days last year. The month’s supply of inventory decreased 17.9% compared to 2021, from 2.8 to 2.3.

During the pandemic, the housing market locally was booming as people from cities with plenty of money to spend sought refuge in the rural Adirondack region. For local real estate agents, the hot market was economically beneficial.

Angela Cugini-Girard, an agent with Howard Hanna, had her best year ever in 21 years, but she also worked harder than ever.

“You had to jump in the houses within a few hours of them being on the market, and you had to get your offers written within 30 minutes after that,” Cugini-Girard said. “You knew you were competing against multiple offers, so you knew there was a chance that your buyer would have to write five or six offers before they got a house.”

Real estate

Real estate agent Angela Cugini-Girard places the “sold” sign in front of a property she recently sold in Glens Falls. Homes in the Southern Adirondack region spent an average of 24 days on the market before being sold — lower than any point in the past decade.

Interest rates were also very low. Houses were selling quickly and getting multiple offers well over asking price.

“I showed a house the minute it came on the market, and I wrote an offer on the hood of the car, that’s how quick,” said agent Barbara Kenison with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties.

But the high demand couldn’t keep up with the low inventory of available homes. Not enough homes have been built in the last 15 years, said Sean Rogge, an agent with Howard Hanna.

“So 2008, when the market just piddled out on us, builders stopped building homes,” Rogge said. “And we really didn’t start building enough homes again until 2019. And then the pandemic hit, and so we’re in a tremendous backlog. Nationwide, we have a deficit of millions of homes.”

Also, Rogge pointed out, rental prices are up over 18%, so people are leaving their rentals and looking to purchase homes. The average first-time homebuyer is age 33, and the largest population in the history of the United States is currently age 32, he said.

“Real estate is the best way to stave off inflation,” Rogge said. “Real estate outpaces inflation. First-time homebuyers, all the way up to your luxury homes, people are taking their money and putting it into real estate.”

During the month of July, the tide has started to turn, and agents are finding that inventory is increasing and offers are decreasing.

“People that are putting in offers are putting in serious offers,” Cugini-Girard said. “So you may not be getting 15 offers on one listing in 36 hours, but the buyers coming in are of the mindset of ‘I’m going to come forward with a really good offer, so I can lock it up and not stand the chance of losing it to a multiple offer situation or a higher offer.’”

It’s still largely a seller’s market, but things are getting better for buyers, especially local buyers.

“The most disheartening part of the pandemic to me is that your local buyers could not buy houses,” Cugini-Girard said. “They were competing with crazy money that they just couldn’t compete with. And they’re the heart of your business.”

During the pandemic, 70% of her sales were out-of-town buyers. Cugini-Girard said she’s happy to see more local buyers coming back into the marketplace. Her last six transactions have all been local buyers.

“We all wrote many, many, many offers, one after another knowing we were not going to get these houses,” Kenison said. “And buyers were frustrated.”

Agents are happy to see the curve start to flatten, even if it means less profits in their pockets.

“Everyone I talk to says the same thing — they’re happy that it’s getting back down to where you can somewhat comfortably know that your buyer has a good shot at getting a house,” Kenison said.

Cugini-Girard also enjoys a more level market because she can better service her clients.

“I feel like buyers on the buy side have a better chance of getting into houses,” she said. “On the sell side, as long as the numbers and the market stays pretty level, the sellers are still going to be doing well also.”

The Adirondack area will also thrive in real estate, Cugini-Girard said, because people are drawn to the area for the schools, arts, hiking, skiing and proximity to bigger cities like New York and Boston.

Sengsoulavong at Southern Adirondack Realtors said the July numbers that will be released in mid-August will show signs of slowing down.

“I would reiterate ‘slowing down’ is relative,” Sengsoulavong said. “In my opinion, it would be more of a market correction to where a normal market would be.”

Gretta Hochsprung writes features and hometown news. She can be reached at 518-742-3206 or [email protected].