Long Island’s vineyard community is one of the many facets that make our island unique. The discovery that the region’s soil and climate were suitable for growing grapes, especially on the North Fork, has bolstered the economy and helped maintain a centuries-old agricultural heritage.
What does winemaking have to do with the housing market? Well, just like being a vintner, there are going to be good years, some not as good and even a few bad ones. But the weather this summer is expected to produce a vintage worthy of praise and value.
And it is expected that 2012 will be the year that real estate marked its shift from contraction to growth as concerns over a double-dip recession have faded and, depending on your perspective, prices have stopped declining and stabilized. The real estate market is showing signs of life based on the pace and frequency of transactions locally and nationally.
Most visible are new residential developments underway across the region. They include the recent demolition of the former Swezey’s department store in downtown Patchogue to make way for a mixed-use project that will include new apartments. The project will further enhance the renaissance the village’s downtown is experiencing. In addition, there are large projects in various stages of completion in Medford, Riverhead, Shirley and Yaphank to name a few.
There is a feeling that potential buyers, many of whom have been biding their time waiting for prices to bottom out, have recognized the market shift and are pursuing purchases. It will take awhile to absorb the supply that has been created by the past, but that is unavoidable and necessary.
Market optimism has even resulted in median home prices increasing in Nassau according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. Further spurring homebuyers are mortgage rates remaining at historic lows. How low? In the three-percent range for a 30-year fixed and in the two-percent range for a 15-year fixed. It was not long ago when an interest rate below six percent was seen as a good deal. Again there is the feeling that these rates will not go any lower and now is the time to buy, whether it is a fixer upper or luxury getaway.
Although it has taken longer than expected, the housing market is showing strong signs of recovery. And this is something to be thankful for, because as the housing market goes on Long Island, so goes the health of its economy. I think we can all drink to that.