If you take a look at the residential sales over the months following Hurricane Sandy, you can see that the storm definitely had an impact on the amount of homes being sold.  In November of 2012, home sales had dropped almost 15%.  The next month seemed to make up for the lack of homes being sold, with 244 home sales-an increase of over 34%.



After December, however, there seemed to be a steady decline in the number of homes being sold.  By March of 2013, that steady decline showed up at 20% from the beginning of the year, with only 179 homes being sold. However, this seems to be rather normal for the number of homes being sold in March, though that number has been steadily decreasing over the past four years.



Looking back at the data from 2011 and 2012, it seems that the months following March follow a trend, where home sales drop in April, but begin to rise over the next couple of months.  If this year continues with the trend, we'll be seeing that rise in the coming months, but if you look at the other factors, it seems like the opposite may occur.

One of the leading indicators for an improving real estate market is the average listed price to actual closing day sales price.  The good news is that homebuyers were covering a greater percentage of a 

home's listed price this past March, at 93.96%, as compared to the previous year, where homeowners were paying on average 92.76% of a home's marketed listing price at the time of contract. This is actually the greatest percentage of list to sell prices paid in March since 2010.The percentage dropped from February of 2012, where homebuyers were covering 94.11% of the home's list price.  This may not mean much, though, since the percentage of ask-to-sell prices has not moved much over the past few months.

These percentages go hand-in-hand with the average prices for homes being listed and homes being sold, as they are calculated using the two numbers. Both the average listing price and the average selling price rose a little more than 8% from February of 2013, where the average listing price in March was $440,933 and the average selling price was $414,303.

Comparing them to the previous year, the two numbers declined. From March of 2012 to March of 2013, the average listing price dropped almost 5%, while the average selling price dropped over 3%.

The number of homes on the market for March of 2013 was 2260. Not only was this a 23% decline compared to March of 2012, it was also the lowest number of homes we have seen on the market in any given month in many years.

Another number we have not seen in years was that of the average cumulative days on the market.  In March of 2013, that number was 236, the highest it has been in a while. This was an increase of almost 32% from February of 2013, and more than a 14% increase from the prior year. The question remains: Is this a hangover as a result of Hurricane Sandy? Here is what I do believe: On many occasions over the last quarter, banks have ordered reappraisals of not just hurricane effected homes, but all homes in Staten Island that were on their way to the closing table. The delays have Staten Island's real estate market locked in a holding pattern. The real issue here is whether or not delays to closing are causing a considerable amount of anxiety amongst homebuyers who are looking to lock in low interest rates.

The amount of months it would take to sell the 2260 homes is 12.61, which is considerab

ly lower than in March of 2012, by more than 22%. This number has been increasing since the beginning of 2013, from 9.8 in January, to 10.19 in February.

Putting all of these factors together, you might make the assumption that the market is slowing. However that's simply not the case. There is such a short supply of houses on the market, so there are less homes being sold.  That's not just indicative of what we're seeing locally, but nationwide.  One of the other internal indicators we have inside our office here at RealEstateSINY.com is overall traffic and inquires. Homebuyers' inquiries are up over 20% over last year at the same time, and it looks like that number will move increasingly higher over the next few months. Positive news continues to improve confidence in the 
real estate market and for the first time since the 2007, an interest in buying is outpacing available housing.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on
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