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A Balanced Market On The North Fork

The North Fork real estate market has been trending upwards in recent years as it becomes a more desirable place for first and second homebuyers. Those coming from urban areas like New York City and Brooklyn desire the open space and privacy many properties afford, while several waterfront options ranging from Long Island Sound to the calmer bays and harbors on its southern side have their own appeal. Though, those property types are less plentiful. Nearly all hamlets and villages have a strong resale value, particularly Greenport, which becomes more desirable each year with prices beginning to reflect that.

“Greenport is still a strong market with homes moving quickly if they are in good condition,” shares Karla Dennehy of Douglas Elliman. “There is an interest in older homes that can be renovated in Greenport but the price must make sense. North Fork homes on the water or close to beaches and having water access remain in demand.”

Real estate firms reported low inventory in 2018, resulting in a seller’s market as prices increased. Demand for homes remains high in 2019, and some agents note that there may be a softening in certain segments of the market, though still in the seller’s favor. Corcoran’s Sheri Winter Parker (SWP) finds that the market is working for both buyers and sellers as there’s a better understanding that properties need to be priced right to sell. “Educated consumers really make the best buyers and they’re becoming more savvy,” SWP explains. “Both buyers and sellers can win in a tight market, especially when they are working with a good broker.”

New construction homes continue to be a strong player in what potential buyers are looking for, though in many cases this displays in the form of major renovations or rebuilds on existing properties. The brand-new construction trend is desirable, and there is still some land available for future builds. Open floor plans, master bedrooms on the first floor, updated kitchens and baths, and a connection to outdoor living are some of the key elements of this trend. Quality is of the utmost importance to buyers now, and Carol Szynaka of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty has found successful builders are incorporating craftsmanship and custom features now into spec homes. Agreeing thoughtful design has become apparent in these types of builds, Century 21 Albertson Realty’s Tom Scalia finds styles and finishes are characteristic of the North Fork.

Having found value in the range of coastal and bucolic properties the North Fork real estate market has to offer, investors are taking note and benefitting from the new tax code, heightening the demand for both residential and commercial properties. As buyers continue to show interest, real estate agents will be busy trying to find the right properties at the right price to get these deals in place. Many find this is just the start of years of success on the horizon.

“Our North Fork markets are just hitting their stride,” says Town & Country’s Judi Desiderio. “There’s heightened interest in the bucolic beauty of the wide, open spaces.”

NFRES: What are your thoughts on the current state of the market?

KD: According to our market report by Samuel Miller, the North Fork housing market hasn’t seen softer price trends in median sales price for the past eight quarters despite cooling sales. The median sales price was unchanged and the average sale price rose slightly. The average days on market is up and we are looking at about a 10-month supply of homes for sale. The North Fork remains a special place on Long Island, being one of the few places surrounded by water that you can commute to and from New York City. Despite a pending soft market, I expect the North Fork will continue to be sought after by buyers.

Karla Dennehy, Douglas Elliman

NFRES: What do you see trending in new construction?

SWP: Modern is still prevailing in all elements of new construction. Open layouts with an easy flow throughout the home’s interior as well as a smooth transition to the outdoors is essential. Gourmet kitchens are also popular. Something trending in recent years as well is the master bedroom on the first floor. Anything cool you can do in the bathroom is awesome, like a wet bathroom that is sleek but also sexy. Radiant floor heating is heaven in the bathroom, and not difficult or expensive to do, depending of course. I also find neutral colors are always best. Don’t go crazy with color that is so unique to you if you’re looking to sell.

Sheri Winter Parker, Corcoran

NFRES: What areas have the best resale value at the moment?  

TS: The demand in all North Fork areas remains high but Greenport, Orient and New Suffolk seem to be leading the way. New Suffolk has the waterfront, small community, and low taxes. The Village of Greenport seems to be the hottest place around with all of the restaurants and things to do, and of course the waterfront. Orient seems to be attracting artists from New York City. It’s the end of the island and most remote area available. Price points for resale are middle of the market. Some people are investing in renovations, but mostly people want turnkey.

Tom Scalia, Century 21 Albertson Realty

NFRES: What areas of the North Fork have seen the largest increase in home sales this year? 

JD: Town & Country monitors all North Fork markets in our home sales reports and find the sales are truly spread almost evenly across the hamlets — with 80% of the homes trading under $1 million. The entire North Fork peninsula is on most people’s radar. Our year end and first quarter reports show price points are slightly higher further east but more homes change hands on the west end. Waterfront is always the golden ticket, but the majority can’t afford that luxury. Same with new construction. The North Fork is riding the great wave. Inventory is painfully low. Small new home developments under $1 million would fly off the charts. 

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country

NFRES: For 2018, low inventory pushed prices up, making it a seller’s market. Do you see it becoming a buyer’s market this year?

CS: Inventory levels have been a little light so when a property is priced accurately, buyers are ready to pounce. Once a deal is struck, sellers and buyers have to work together to get to the closing table. I have seen this process taking a little longer than in previous years. Good properties and buyers alike are not easy to find so a little compromising makes for a great transaction.

Carol Szynaka, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty