Long Island gets rare listings lift

Lack of homes on market still plague Westchester and Connecticut

Lack of house listings
(iStock, Getty / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal)

Home listings in the tri-state area are finally beginning to bounce back from record lows. On Long Island, May brought a glimmer of hope for those interested in buying a home.

Listings on the peninsula — excluding those in the Hamptons and the North Fork — ticked up almost 1 percent year-over-year in May, according to a report compiled by Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman. That held true for both single-family homes and condo units.

It’s not much, but it’s the first time in three months there has been an annual gain in combined listings.

The rise wasn’t enough to break a 12-month streak of declining newly signed contracts for the combined single-family and condo markets on Long Island, though. Signings dropped 10 percent in the single-family market and 19 percent in the condo market.

The same 12-month streak of annual drops in signed contracts persisted in Westchester County. A lack of new listings is also being blamed in the county, where single-family listings dropped 11 percent and condo listings plunged more than 40 percent.

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Newly signed contracts fell 5.4 percent for single-family homes and 27 percent for condos. There were only two new listings for condos priced below $200,000 last month and only one contract signed for a unit in that price range.

Contracts and listings are also falling hand-in-hand in Greenwich, Connecticut. For the fourth straight month, newly signed contracts in the single-family and condo markets combined to fall. Condo signings in the limited market fell 4.8 percent, but single family signings dropped much more precipitously, 53 percent year-over-year.

New listings dropped more than 42 percent for single-family homes and 43 percent for condos.

The only tri-state market to buck last month’s drop in contract signings was Fairfield County, where they have been on the upswing every month since July. In May, newly signed single-family contracts were up 51 percent annually and condo contracts were up 55 percent.

This is despite the fact that the region is dealing with the same general listing shortage as the other markets. New listings have fallen annually since last April, down about 1 percent for single-family homes year-over-year and 8 percent for condos.

Rising mortgage rates are a critical factor for every housing market, even wealthy ones where cash buyers are more common. As mortgage rates climb, inventory tends to climb too, especially as buyers retreat from the market. Outside of Long Island, however, that was not the case in May.

Meanwhile, new construction remains hampered by frenzied material prices and a shortage of labor, which limits listings.