‘Fall seems to be new spring:’ S.I. real estate listings, sales jump in September

Shaniqua Juliano

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — At a normally slower time for residential real estate, Staten Island’s housing market saw an uptick in sales and listings in September, according to the latest statistics from the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR). At a time of year that would normally signal a slowing […]

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — At a normally slower time for residential real estate, Staten Island’s housing market saw an uptick in sales and listings in September, according to the latest statistics from the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR).

At a time of year that would normally signal a slowing of activity in the residential sector, new listings for homes on Staten Island increased 15.5% to 678 in September, as compared to 587 in the same month a year ago, according to SIBOR. In addition, pending sales were up 77.4% to 582, versus 328 in September 2019.

During this time, homes for sale fell 15% to 2,191 units, from 2,579 a year ago.

“The Staten Island real estate market is still rebounding from the COVID-19 shutdown,” said Sandy Krueger, CEO of SIBOR. “Sales are being made across the market spectrum as demonstrated by the median sales price of homes on Staten Island, which hasn’t changed since this time last year. Low inventory levels, however, show the uncertainty that some people still have related to the pandemic.”

Home prices on the Island were the same as last year for the month of September, with the median sales price holding steady at $560,000. The days on market statistic was up 16.8% to 105 days. Sellers were encouraged in September as the months supply of homes for sale was down 15.1% to 6.4 months.

“Fall seems to be the new spring in our local real estate market, as pent up buyer demand caused by COVID continues to drive the market activity in a normally slower time annually,” said Scott Setaro, President of SIBOR.

Said James Prendamano, CEO of Casandra Properties, Inc., which has two Staten Island offices: “Staten Island is the forgotten borough no more. We are emerging as the place to live in New York City. Folks are waking up to the amazing things Staten Island has to offer and that is long overdue.”

AGENTS ARE ‘BUSY’

After being on lockdown during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, buyers and sellers have been eager to put their homes up for sale or seek one for purchase, Realtors said.

“Our agents have been very busy. The typical ‘selling’ season of the spring has been pushed,” said Christine DeHart, broker/owner of the Castleton Corners-based Salmon Real Estate. “People have been home for three months. They took advantage of that time to declutter and/or make improvements to prepare their homes for sale. We are getting calls from a lot of people who want to move to bigger spaces or closer to family members. Many Staten Islanders are looking to move to New Jersey or down south for bigger property sizes. But, by the same token, many people from Brooklyn or Manhattan are looking to come to Staten Island for the same reason.”

One factor contributing to a growing interest in Staten Island among some home buyers is the desire to relocate from city centers to less-urban environments, Krueger said.

“Staten Island is seeing strong demand from city residents looking for a more suburban lifestyle,” he said.

UPTICK IN OPEN HOUSE REQUESTS

Realtors say they have seen an uptick in showing and open house requests.

“The market continues to be vibrant as pent up demand is evident with increased activity in showing requests and open house turnout. I believe that with interest rates at historic lows coupled with a mindset to social distance your family’s housing needs, Staten Island’s housing market will remain strong and in demand,” said Ron Molcho, broker/owner of American Homes Group, West Brighton.

NATIONAL OUTLOOK

While mortgage rates remain near record lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports that lending standards are tightening, which makes it a bit more difficult for some buyers to qualify.

At the same time, national unemployment remains substantially higher than a year ago due to COVID-19, which could adversely impact the national market.

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