The number of Long Island home sales saw a year-over-year gain last month, despite a still paltry listing inventory.
There were 1,524 homes contracted for sale in Nassau and Suffolk counties in January, a 6.1 percent increase from the 1,436 homes that were contracted for sale in Jan. 2023, according to preliminary numbers from OneKey MLS.
Last month’s year-over-year gain in pending Long Island home sales was the first year-over-year sales increase in more than two years, as the market has been impacted by higher mortgage rates and shrinking listing inventory.
Inventory remains at historically low levels. There were 4,183 Long Island homes—1,778 in Nassau and 2,405 in Suffolk—listed for sale with OneKey MLS at the end of January. That’s 17.4 percent fewer than the 5,064 Long Island homes that were listed for sale at the end of Jan. 2023.
The lack of supply has kept home prices high, though they pulled back a little last month. The median price of closed home sales in Nassau County was $700,000 in January, the same as the previous month, but still up 7.7 percent from the $660,000 median price recorded in Jan. 2023.
In Suffolk, the median price of closed home sales last month was $585,000. That’s the county’s lowest median price since July 2023, but 10.5 percent higher than the $530,000 median price recorded in Jan. 2023.
The continued dearth of available homes for sale has been largely caused by still-high mortgage rates, according to brokers. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 6.8 percent as of Monday, according to NerdWallet.com, slightly higher than last month, but a significant drop from Oct. 2023, when the rate eclipsed 8 percent.
The combination of higher rates and low inventory had a big impact on the area’s housing market last year. There were 23,047 closed home sales on Long Island in 2023, a drop of 22.4 percent from the 29,694 closed home sales in 2022. Last year’s number of closed home sales was the lowest annual total since 2014 when there were 22,055 closed home sales.
However Federal Reserve officials have been leaving interest rates unchanged recently and they’re expected to lower rates later this year, which has prompted optimism for a better housing market ahead.