Sluggish December caps off worst year for LI housing market since 2014

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By Dan Sears

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The Long Island housing market closed out 2023 with another month of year-over-year home sales declines. 

There were 1,488 homes contracted for sale in Nassau and Suffolk counties last month, a drop of 5.6 percent from the 1,576 pending Long Island home sales recorded in Dec. 2022, according to preliminary numbers from OneKey MLS. 

Monthly home sales on Long Island have been declining year-over-year for more than two years, as the market has been impacted by higher mortgage rates and shrinking listing inventory. 

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. 

The number of available homes on the market continues has sunk to an historically low level. There were 4,122 Long Island homes listed for sale with OneKey MLS as of Monday, 1,804 in Nassau and 2,318 in Suffolk. That’s 33 percent lower than the 5,084 homes that were listed for sale at the end of Dec. 2022 and 11 percent fewer than the 4,640 homes listed for sale at the end of Nov. 2023. 

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Home prices retreated slightly last month, after reaching record highs last year. December’s median price of closed home sales in Nassau was $700,000, down from September’s high of $733,500, but still 7.7 percent higher than the $650,000 median price recorded in Dec. 2022. 

In Suffolk, December’s median price of closed home sales was $590,000, just off October’s and November’s high of $600,000, but 9.1 percent higher than the $542,500 median from Dec. 2022. 

Brokers point to the recent easing of mortgage rates as a sign that this year will see increases in inventory and sales activity. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 6.7 percent as of Monday, according to NerdWallet.com, a significant drop from Oct. 2023, when the rate eclipsed 8 percent. Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged in their last meeting and said they expect to cut rates three times in the coming year, which has prompted optimism for a better market ahead.  

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