Mixed results for LI's February housing market

Islandwide, fewer homes for sale in February compared

Islandwide, fewer homes for sale in February compared to 2012 has led to quick sales. Douglas Elliman’s Gary Baumann says, “Buyers complain to us constantly that there are no houses on the market.” (March 14, 2013) (Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas)

Nassau County's housing market perked up a bit last month, while the number of home sales fell in Suffolk County.

In Nassau, home prices and sales rose compared to the previous February, according to a report released Thursday by the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. In Suffolk, meanwhile, the number of sales fell year-over-year and prices remained stagnant.

In both counties, pending sales rose sharply, while the number of homes for sale dropped.

That low inventory, along with a widespread belief that the market has hit bottom, has led to a few bidding wars, real estate agents said. Some home shoppers are especially keen for areas that escaped damage from Sandy, the devastating Oct. 29 storm, while budget-minded buyers are seeking out bargains in storm-hit waterfront areas.

Many buyers believe prices and interest rates won't get much lower, said Kevin Leatherman, president of MLS of Long Island and a broker in Rockville Centre.

In Nassau County, the median home price of a sold home rose by 2.2 percent year-over-year, to $383,200. There were 589 home sales, an uptick of 1.6 percent compared to February 2012. The county saw a big boost in the number of homes going into contract, with 832 pending sales, a year-over-year bump of 14 percent. However, the median price for a home going into contract remained virtually unchanged, at $385,500.

There were 6,480 Nassau County homes for sale last month, 27 percent fewer than during the same period last year. That makes for an 11-month supply at the current pace of sales. A healthy market has a six- to eight-month supply, brokers say.

"Buyers complain to us constantly that there are no houses on the market," said Gary Baumann, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in Dix Hills and Syosset. One recent listing in Syosset found a buyer in less than a week; the three-bedroom home fielded multiple offers at its full asking price of $562,800, he said.

In Suffolk County, the median price of $298,700 for completed home sales rose 0.3 percent from the previous February. There were 615 home sales, 3 percent fewer than last February.

However, there were 875 pending sales, a nearly 11 percent increase over the previous February. The median price of a home going into contract was $315,000, a rise of 3.3 percent from the same period last year. Suffolk County had 9,068 homes for sale -- an almost 22 percent decline from the previous February, but still a nearly 15-month supply.

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