Long Island’s spring home-selling season got off to a strong start last month, with gains in closed sales, contract signings and house prices in both counties.
The biggest increases were in Suffolk County, where homes sold for a median price of $380,000 in April, a 5.6 percent rise compared with the same period last year, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island reported Wednesday. In Nassau County the median price rose by 3.1 percent, year over year, to $505,000.
The number of closed sales made annual gains of 7.2 percent in Suffolk and 4.4 percent in Nassau. Pending sales jumped by 13.5 percent in Suffolk and 5.8 percent in Nassau compared with the same period last year. Buyers seeking affordably priced homes have been favoring Suffolk, brokers said.
“We continue to have a very strong demand across the board,” said Jerry O'Neill, owner of Coldwell Banker Harbor Light in Amity Harbor. “Unfortunately, we have a shortage of inventory. ... Buyers are very frustrated, especially at the entry level.”
Homes in the low- and midpriced ranges are selling quickly, he said, but “the top end is where things slow down.” One factor in the slowdown at the top of the market could be the new $10,000 cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes, which makes homeownership more expensive for properties with high tax bills, O’Neill said.
Inventory grew in both counties last month, giving buyers more options. In Suffolk, 6,706 homes were listed for sale, 4 percent more than a year earlier. In Nassau, homeowners listed 5,766 properties, a nearly 16 percent year-over-year increase.
At the current pace of sales, it would take about 5-1/2 months to sell all the listed homes in Suffolk and about 6-1/2 months in Nassau. A balanced market has a supply of about six to eight months, real estate brokers say.
“It’s a very fast market,” said Alan Deblat, owner of Alan Deblat Real Estate Corp. in Baldwin, who sells homes in Baldwin, Freeport and Oceanside. "If a listing comes out, it’s going to sell in a couple of weeks, if it’s priced correctly."