“It is absolutely insane!” This is how one of the hardest working real estate brokers, Victor Mendolia of TKG Real Estate, describes the current state of the Hudson area real estate market. Mendolia has been a real estate broker for about seven years and he says this summer he is the busiest he has ever been.
“It’s definitely a seller’s market,” he continues. “Sellers are definitely calling all the shots.” The inventory is low in the Hudson market, especially in the coveted $200K-300K range asserts Mendolia. When inventory is low and demand is high, this leads to multiple offers on the same property. According to Mendolia, these situations are “tough”; no one is ever happy in the end. The parties that lose always feel like they were “played” and the parties that win always feel like they ended up paying too much. What’s his recommendation to buyers searching in the Hudson area? “Make an offer at list or above,” he says. “Lowball offers are not working” and can actually work against the potential buyer.
According to a video on Realtor.com released earlier this week, realtors reviewed 20,000 zip codes in the U.S. and determined the top five zip codes where homes are getting the most viewings and selling the fastest. Three of the top five are in the Northeast region and Hudson, NY is right in the middle of it all. And the prices are going up. Tammy Molinski of Coldwell Banker ran the numbers recently. Her search shows that a year ago, the average sale price in Columbia County was $376,000. This year it is $448,000. A year ago, a house remained on the market for an average of 126 days and now it is around 108 days.
When did this surge in sales begin? Molinski noticed business picking up around the end of May. “It’s pent-up demand,” she contends. In mid-March, Governor Cuomo began shutting down the state because of COVID-19. By the first week of June, things began to re-open. During the shutdown, potential homebuyers had to view homes virtually and some purchased properties sight unseen. Once homebuyers could enter homes, the market really took off. New York City people looking for second homes near Hudson is nothing new but things are different this time- we’re in the middle of a pandemic. “People feel safer up here,” says Mendolia.
A few things both Mendolia and Molinski notice about the current market: buyers from New York City are looking for full-time residences as opposed to weekend homes; most reasonably priced properties are receiving multiple offers; and there are a lot more cash offers than usual. Additionally, Mendolia has noticed an increase in multi-unit property sales he believes due to Hudson being designated an “Opportunity Zone” by the state of New York. The Opportunity Zone program is a federal program that “encourages private investment.” Molinski on the other hand has noticed that “land sales have picked up.”
Outside of Hudson, which areas are seeing a surge in sales? Both Mendolia and Molinski say Catskill “for sure.” Greene County is on the other side of the river where the property taxes are significantly lower. Due to a recent revitalization of its Main Street, Catskill has a walkable and charming downtown with numerous locales. “Coxsackie has seen a real boom lately too,” say Mendolia. Coxsackie is just north of Catskill and has a “real waterfront.”
Home sales aside, there is a noticeable uptick in monthly rentals. According to Realtor.com, monthly rental markets in major cities like New York City have taken a “nosedive” and as a result rents in rural areas and smaller towns like Hudson have dramatically increased. Landlords in the Hudson area are routinely receiving multiple offers on rental properties. Not only in Hudson though. One of Molinski’s listings in Livingston was for a three-bedroom farmhouse listed at $2400 per month. After multiple offers, the property was rented for $2800 per month.
With respect to unique properties, Mendolia cites the real estate portfolio of the late Eleanor Ambos. “She owned some of the most important properties in Columbia County,” he says. She owned the Pocketbook Factory in Hudson and the Ockawamick School in Claverack to name a few. Mendolia believes the Pocketbook Factory is in the process of selling by private sale. And the 80,000 sq foot school sitting on 22 acres? That’s his listing and it’s listed for a cool $2.75mil. According to Mendolia, her properties have been sitting vacant for years and now through these sales, they can be developed and repurposed which will “kickstart” development in the region.