The Long Island residential real estate market is booming in Huntington, thanks to a strong buyer demand combined with low rates.
Market reports from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island showed that closed sales activity in March increased by 14.18% compared to the month prior.
“Long Island houses are selling relatively quickly,” said Jay Meringoff, branch manager of Coach Realtors in Huntington, “but every market has its own personality, so to speak. Huntington, for example, is a fantastic real estate market. There’s a lot of benefits of living in Huntington.”
One of those advantages, according to Meringoff, is the price range.
“One thing that makes Huntington such a great place to live,” he said, “is that Huntington consists of homes ranging from $300,000 up to the multi-million dollar price range.”
Huntington offers a lot for practically everybody. The town offers a very diverse price range for homeowners. There are homes available for middle-class and upper-middle class families, along with a ton of nearby activities. It is a great location for real estate, especially now that the number of available home inventory is low.
“Overall, there has been a shortage of inventory,” said Kelley Taylor, a broker from Douglas Elliman. “Three decades of being in real estate I have not seen this much of a shortage.”
The Multiple Listing Services of Long Island shows that inventory is indeed low compared to last year. Recent market reports indicated that the total number of Long Island residential inventory for the month of March was 14,432 which represents a 7.3% decrease over last year. The bulk of that inventory comes from Nassau and Suffolk.
During the month of March, Nassau County reported an available inventory of 4,442 with a closed median list price of $505,000. This represents an 8% increase compared to the prior year’s median price of $467,500.
Suffolk County showed a higher inventory but lower median list price compared to Nassau. The inventory for Suffolk County in the month of March was 6,048 with a closed median list price of $352,000. This represents a 6.7% increase compared to the prior year’s median price of $329,995.
Although inventory is lower compared to last year, prices are increasing. This shortage is providing a great opportunity for sellers. A low inventory creates a scarcity in competition and a strong buyer demand, which sellers can capitalize on by asking for higher prices. It’s a basic concept in supply and demand: as supply lowers, demand increases and, therefore, prices increase.
One may think stronger prices would scare off buyers – but surprisingly, it doesn’t. Low inventory isn’t the only factor that contributes to a strong market.
“Buyers still want to buy, even though prices are strong,” says Jay Meringoff. “They want to buy because mortgage rates are so low.”
Recently, there was a slight decline in the key long-term U.S. mortgage rates. On Thursday, data released by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac stated that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.55% from 4.58% since last week. This decrease comes after a steady rise throughout most of April, with rates reaching its highest levels in over four years. For comparison, the 30-year fixed-rate average was 3.97% a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate average is also higher than it was a year ago, it is currently sitting at 3.94%. Last week the average was 3.87% and 3.10% last year.
Despite the steady increases – home purchases are still growing. Mortgage rates, while slowly rising, are still considered to be low.
“It’s a great time to buy for buyers because the mortgage rates are still extremely low,” said Meringoff. “Even though they have creeped up a little bit in the last few weeks, they’re still extremely low overall.”
Throughout the country, first-time homebuyers have accounted for 46% of mortgage loans taken out since January. The economic forecast has been improving and there is a strong buyer demand, but if rates continue to increase, buyers might take a step back.
“Buying power is dependent on interest rate,” Taylor said. “The more the interest is, the less buying power they have. So they have to start looking at homes with lower price points as the rates rise.”
Some brokers in the real estate market believe that first-time homebuyers will face a harder time qualifying for mortgages when rates hit 5%. This could scare off homebuyers, resulting in homes staying on the market for a longer period of time. For now, rates are low enough for many first-time buyers to feel comfortable enough to take out mortgage loans, which is great news for the Long Island markets.
Out of all the residential areas on Long Island that are currently thriving from the real estate market, Huntington is one of the most distinctive.
As mentioned earlier, a diverse price range on housing offers something for everyone. There are homes for the middle-class and upper-middle class, along with plenty of hotspots for people of all ages. For those seeking entertainment, there are fantastic restaurants, a multitude of bars, gorgeous parks, historical museums, and boating communities. It truly is a town that is unlike any other market on the Island.
“We’ve closed more houses in the township of Huntington than any other real estate in Suffolk year-to-date,” Taylor said.