Where are the listings? Shortage limits deals in NY suburbs

Long Island, Westchester inventory could triple and still be “unusually low”


February listings on Long Island and Westchester ticked up from the month before, but the supply of available homes remains near record lows, limiting the number of contracts signed.

New signed contracts have fallen year over year in both markets since early last summer, although they rose slightly over January levels, according to a February report compiled by Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

Data for Long Island does not include the Hamptons or North Fork, which are seen as separate markets.

Jonathan Miller, author of the report, said the supply shortage pushed prices up so far that new sellers decided to enter the market last month.

“Similar to Westchester, Long Island has been a robust market for a long period of time and inventory has largely been burned off,” Miller said. “If inventory doubled or tripled, it would still be unusually low.”

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A combination of low interest rates and a resilient economy have juiced demand for housing across the country and Long Island and Westchester are no exception. Meanwhile, new construction, which Miller said only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of inventory, has been hampered by the rising cost of materials and a shortage of trade workers.

Markets from New York to San Francisco and Houston to Chicago, are experiencing similar trends. Demand in New York City’s suburbs rose dramatically during the pandemic, exacerbating the supply shortage.

While signed contracts on Long Island for single-family homes fell year-over-year by 11 percent, the number increased for those priced between $500,000 and $599,999, and from $800,000 to $1 million.

Similarly, in Westchester, new contracts overall fell by 5 percent, but rose 28 percent for houses priced at or above $2 million. Contract signings for condos in both markets were flat year-over-year.

New listings on Long Island for single-family homes rose 4.3 percent from a year ago, with an increase in the number of homes prices at $400,000 and above. The number of homes listed below that price — which are rare in any event — fell over 27 percent. In Westchester, where new listings fell by 17 percent year-over-year, only listings between $500,000 and $800,000 saw an uptick in frequency. Condo listings on Long Island fell 11 percent and rose 7 percent in Westchester.