HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. - Prospective homebuyers who were out in force during the first several months of 2016 came to the closing table during the second quarter to post a five-year high of transactions. Realtors in the four-county area comprising the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, reported 4,526 closings of single-family houses, condominiums, cooperatives and multi-family houses, an increase of 23 percent over the 3,669 closings reported in the second quarter of last year. The powerful second quarter results continued the strong recovery in this region that commenced in 2011.

The increases were largely concentrated in the single-family house sectors of the four counties. Overall, Putnam County had the largest increase in sales—32 percent—followed closely by Orange County at 30 percent.

For the past two or three years member Realtors have reported a gradual tightening of the availability of properties for sale in the region, reflecting that high sales volumes have been outpacing new listings. Up to now, this has not been too much of a problem; the main consequence being to slow the decision-making process of prospective purchasers as they take more time to find suitable properties. That may be changing, however, as the second quarter closed with significant year-over-year double-digit decreases in inventory. At the close of the second quarter of 2015, there were 12,400 for-sale properties recorded with the multiple listing service in its four-county service area and among the four property types. As of June 30, there were 9,972 properties, a decrease of 20 percent.

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On a percentage basis, Putnam County inventory dropped the most—22 percent. On a volume basis, Westchester being the largest county, end-of-quarter inventory fell by 945 properties, or 16 percent from last year at this date. That sort of imbalance may have consequences: either price increases and/or diminished sales volumes. Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties all posted second quarter price increases for the median sale price of single-family houses. Putnam county posted the largest percentage increase—8.5 percent—from $289,500 last year to $314,000 this year. Orange County followed at 6.0 percent and Rockland County at 4.9 percent.

Westchester, on the other hand, posted a 1.6 percent decrease in the median sale price of a single family house, from $660,500 to $650,000. Its condominium median, $356,438, also was down by 1.5 percent. The $155,000 median price of cooperatives was an increase of 6.9 increase from last year.

Each county is different as to its size, dominant property type and price range, so it will take a few more months to discern the likely path of the region as a whole.

The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. The reported transactions do not include all real estate sales in the area or all sales assisted by the participating offices but they are fairly reflective of general market conditions.