When you look at the numbers, one thing has become clear: the real estate market locally has stabilized after 5+ years of some of the most tumultuous times in American history. By no means was it an easy go of it locally-especially after Hurricane Sandy made it to our shoreline back in October of last year.
The impacts of the hurricane were clearly evidenced in home sale numbers for this past November, a month after the storm. With just 182 home sales, it was a drop of over 14% from the prior month, and a whopping 33% from a year prior. However, a brighter side emerged after the storm, rebounding a little over 32% in December.
All in all, it was enough to put the market as a whole above 2011 in many facets and it's the first time the market has seen gains across several key statistics. It would have likely been even better overall, if not for the impacts of the hurricane.
So let's take a look at some of the more impressive improvements. In 2012, median home sale prices were up ten thousand dollars from 2011, moving from $375,000 to $385,000. Also, the amount of home sales overall jumped slightly-about 2.5 percent overall.
One of the real interesting numbers overall was the amount of total homes for sale on the market, which was considerably lower than Staten Island has seen in the past several years. In December of 2011, there were 3,018 residential homes on the market, and this past December saw 2,502-a 17% decline. For home sellers, it might be an indication that on the supply side, demand will leave fewer options for homebuyers, pushing home prices higher. However, that really hasn't been the case-at least not yet-as buyers seem to wait on the sideline until they find what they're looking for.
You may ask how I arrived at that conclusion. Basically, the percentage of list to sell prices has not really changed from 2011 to this past year. It went from 93.89% in 2011 to 93.76% in 2012. Additionally, the homes that remained on the market averaged 155 days this past year, as compared to 2011's 141-day average. It's these numbers that are a more perplexing piece of this puzzle. However, it's very possible that the hurricane had some impacts on the average days on the market, as the market was in about a three-week hiatus following Sandy. It would be the most obvious hypothesis to conclude-at least at this point.
Another sign is just a bit more visual, as homebuyer activity has been increasing steadily since the storm. Now, it looks like the biggest thaw of a freezing real estate market might be what's on tap for spring.