STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Therese Romanelli put her Silver Lake home up for sale on July 8. In the days since, potential buyers have flocked to her three-bedroom, 1920 colonial priced at $569,000.
“We’ve had over 20 showings and several offers very close to the asking price,” said Ms. Romanelli, who is an empty-nester choosing to downsize at a time when Staten Island’s real estate market is on the upswing. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest in a very short time.”
Ms. Romanelli is one of many home sellers who “waited out” the last few years of the “buyer’s” real estate market — home prices dropped significantly, and there were more houses for sale than buyers to purchase them — to put her residence up for sale.
“I considered putting my home on the market a few years ago, but I knew the prices were low,” she said. “I waited and saw that this was a good time to sell my home.”
After more than five years of a real estate climate favorable to buyers, Staten Island Realtors believe the tide is finally turning, with signs of a “seller’s market” on the horizon.
“We are certainly seeing signs of a seller’s market at this point. One year ago, we were still in the arms of a buyer’s market; inventory was robust and not moving very quickly,” said Traci Cangiano, broker/owner of Cangiano Estates in Great Kills, and the 2013 president of the Staten Island Board of ARealtors (SIBOR).
“Now inventory is limited, we are experiencing multiple-offer situations, and homes are selling very quickly when priced right because qualified buyers are patiently waiting for inventory to hit the marketplace.”
In fact, the Island is in tune with a statewide trend of a noticeable upswing in closed sales. The Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR) “10K Market Data Report” shows that there was a 42.2% change in closed sales in July compared to one year ago, said Ms. Cangiano.”
“The New York state housing market experienced its own July heat wave as motivated buyers snapped up homes at a brisk pace,” said Duncan R. MacKenzie, New York State Association of Realtors CEO. “In fact, the market reached the highest number of July closed sales since 2007, and the highest number of July pending sales since 2005.”
He noted that July marked the 14th consecutive month of stable or rising median prices compared to the prior year.
“Real estate will always be a part of our lives that just rolls with the economic punches. I am grateful sales have been on the upswing since January 2013, and that consumer confidence is finally making a positive, noticeable impact around our hometown,” said Ms. Cangiano.
According to the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR), the average median home price in the borough for July was $390,000.
Realtors who have endured a down real estate market for the last several years are excited about the rebound.
“After July 2006, whatever homes were sanctioned to close, did so. Then we felt the impact of the market receding tremendously, which then followed suit into 2007, 2008, 2009, and banks weren’t lending,” said Robert Martino, broker/owner of Home Bridge Realty Group in Bloomfield.
“For the most part, buyers have been on the fence. Now the economy is showing signs of strength as more people are coming off the fence and getting into homeownership,” he added.
In addition to increased prices, real estate professionals say there is a heightened demand for upscale homes.
“I’m seeing the trade up buyers getting back into the game, and you’re seeing movement on the high end — around the $ 1 million mark,” said Joan Camerlengo, owner/broker of her eponymous Grant City-based firm. “The buyer pool is back in the game. Money is still cheep to borrow. Interest rates are around 5 percent and that is still low. Plus, there’s a lot of consumer confidence in the economy.”
Realtors say the lower inventory of housing stock can be attributed, in part, to Hurricane Sandy’s mass devastation of homes across the borough.
“Part of Staten Island is still in recovery due to Sandy, so that contributes to the downturn in inventory,” said Ms. Cangiano. “The inventory is low around the coastline. People have been waiting for the state buyout. A third of the Island was taken from our [housing] inventory.”
She noted that the state buyout will also affect the number of buyers in the marketplace.