It seems like a reachable goal — to find a single-family house in the $400,000 price range.
But on Long Island, where the median home price is $50,000 to $150,000 more, it can be a challenge.
Sellers have a lot of negotiating power, but buyers have things on their side, too, especially low interest rates. And the buyers are out in droves finding that perfect house.
“During a pandemic, people need to shelter in place,” says real estate agent Joanne Mills, owner of Exit Family Realty in Lindenhurst, who recently had an in-person showing where 45 people showed up forming a line down the walkway. “Well, people need a home to shelter.”
Still, real estate agents say there are plenty in that $400,000 range to fit just anyone’s needs; even if it means one that may need some cosmetic help in the highly desirable school district of Mount Sinai, or a small but beautifully renovated home in Lindenhurst, an easy commute to New York City.
Even in Long Beach, where homes close to the beach can hit the million-dollar mark, a fully renovated 1,000-square-foot house with three bedrooms is only a short half-mile walk from the boardwalk.
But, be quick. Good houses at $400,000 do not stay on the market for long.
In Nassau County, the median price for sold residential homes (which include multifamily homes) was $561,250, gaining a fast-growing $11,000 over a two-year period (June 2018-June 2020). In Suffolk County, in the same time frame, residential homes jumped $47,000 to a high in June 2020 of $450,000.
Real estate agents say homes are getting snatched up more quickly than in recent history. Houses on the market just one day are getting multiple offers, they say.
“If you price it right, you’ll get a lot more, because people are coming in with full priced offers,” says Dean Graber of Keller Williams Realty Landmark in Bayside, Queens, who sells homes in Nassau County, as well.
Historically low interest rates and the desire to get out of more congested areas, like the city boroughs, and into a home with a backyard, seems to be the main driving force for the real estate boom, brokers say.
In Lindenhurst, for example, where many residents are essential workers such as teachers, firefighters and police officers, “the market has always been hot,” Mills says. “We can’t keep inventory.”
Exit Family Realty had 22 contracts in June. “We had four months of inventory before COVID,” Mills says. “Now it’s two-and-a-half months.”
Another change in the homebuying shows a difference from just a year ago. Buyers then were looking for totally renovated homes. Now, they are willing to overlook things that they had not before, due to the lack of inventory, real estate agents say. Buyers are less fussy, because “they just want to get into a home,” Graber says.
Max Graneshram, 50, of Jamaica, Queens, has been looking on Long Island for a while. He and his wife have two young adult sons, 22 and 19, and now want a bigger home with a two-car garage. Despite a budget ceiling of $600,000, he still got outbid on a property.
“It happened two weeks…