Inventory can’t meet demand for North Fork homes

02/03/2015 8:00 AM |

The rate of real estate sales on the North Fork has increased to the point that available inventory can no longer meet demand.

That’s the key takeaway of the fourth-quarter results released last Thursday by Manhattan appraisal firm Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman, said Miller Samuel president Jonathan Miller.

“The supply is trying to normalize,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s still not, but it’s better for consumers than it was a year ago.”

At the end of 2013, there were 455 houses on the market on the North Fork — from Aquebogue to Orient — according to the report. Points farther west weren’t included in the analysis. By the end of 2014, that number increased — albeit modestly — to 521 available homes. Meanwhile, residential sales in 2014 jumped a significant 34 percent from the same time the previous year — from 556 to 685.

As a result of this trend, Mr. Miller said, home prices on the North Fork will likely increase this year — but probably won’t spike.

“When you have sales rising faster than inventory can replace them, that means a faster market and you’re keeping pressure on prices to move higher,” he explained.

And despite the fact that inventory has improved since last year, that isn’t particularly impressive because 2013 set such a low bar, Mr. Miller said.

“Inventory in the region was falling for a number of years, effectively bottoming out about a year ago,” he said. “It got to the point where, a year ago, inventory was the lowest it had been since 2008. So here we are, saying inventory expanded from last year, but last year was the seven-year low.”

David Kapell, owner of Kapell Real Estate in Greenport, said his business has felt the effects of a shrinking inventory for the past two years. He believes homeowners are waiting to list their properties for financial reasons.

“They figure, ‘Maybe I’ll wait until next season and put it on [the market] when I might get a higher price,’ ” he said.

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