Resisting listing: Tri-state home sales keep declining as supply shrinks

Signed contracts, new listings down across the board in Westchester, Fairfield, Long Island

Long Island, Westchester and Fairfield counties and Greenwich
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Buyers who snapped up homes in the tri-state suburbs during the pandemic have shown little remorse, keeping their properties off the market and contributing to a continued downturn in listings and contracts.

“The decline in new listings continued to overpower newly signed contracts,” real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel wrote in a report on contract signings last month on Long Island and in Fairfield and Westchester counties.

Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller, who authored the report on behalf of Douglas Elliman, said owners in the region have been hesitant to list their homes after scoring favorable financing terms during the pandemic.

“Sellers are wedded to historically low mortgage rates,” he said. “Suburban inventory was obliterated because mortgage rates were too low for too long.”

On Long Island (excluding the Hamptons and North Fork), signed contracts for single-family homes fell in December for the fourth straight month. The number of new listings on the market has steadily declined since June and remains “substantially” lower than before the pandemic, according to the report. Listings and contract signings for single-family homes fell most dramatically in the $800,000 to $1 million price range, down 39 and 44 percent since last year, respectively.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“I think we’re still going to see a substantial amount of bidding wars,” said Miller of the tight supply.

Read more

In Westchester and Fairfield counties, newly signed contracts fell month over month for the seventh consecutive time, and new listings in both counties have decreased significantly over most of that period.

Affordability took a hit in Westchester, where the sharpest drops in listings and new contract signings were for single-family homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. In Fairfield, the steepest decline in inventory was among single-family homes priced above $1 million.

In the town of Greenwich, in Fairfield County, newly signed contracts fell month over month for the second time in a row, while listings fell dramatically during the same period. New contract signings for single-family homes priced between $1 million and $5 million fell by 50 percent or more compared to the same month last year.