NY real estate: Sellers remain in driving seat

It's news any seller would want to hear: offers on their home are pouring in, many above the asking price. 

Doris Kason and her partner Suzanne Colon at Douglas Elliman have been navigating the real estate market throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, the competition to bid, buy, and close on homes has only become more challenging.  

"It doesn't matter what price range we're in," Kason said. "We're getting multiple offers." 

The problem, according to the real estate agents, is falling inventory and rising interest rates. 

"The offers are coming in before the homes are even on the market," Colon said. "We could put a 'coming soon' and offers are coming in before people are seeing photos."

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More people are working remotely and there has been a renewed interest in the suburbs ever since COVID-19.  

"We were hoping it was going to level off and there'd be more properties — and there aren't," Colon said. 

Experts predict a tight spring and summer market. Market analyst Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers said the issue isn't unique to Long Island. The bidding wars are national and indicative of the U.S. housing market.

"Even if inventory doubled or tripled, it would still be low — that's how much inventory has come down," he said. "Basically, there's a massive distortion in the market making it extremely unpleasant for homebuyers."

More than half the houses in 36 communities on Long Island sold above the asking price last year, according to the data compiled. Communities in the towns of Brookhaven, Babylon, and Islip, where the median sale price last year was less than $500,000, had the most competition. 

And because only one bid can be accepted on a home, there are no signs of relief for buyers.