Remember the golden rule of real estate…location, location, location; well the old adage rings true in Babylon Village as sales data shows the village is somewhat insulated from the region's housing crisis.
As national real estate reports show steep declines in values and buyer apathy at historic levels the Babylon Village real estate market is stable, in some instances competitive for buyers.
In fact buyers think the village so desirable they are circling certain neighborhoods looking for new inventory to come out on the market. First -time home buyers in the $450,000 and under range seem to act most quickly when a house comes on the market that is in a good location and appealing condition. Recently 31 Bacon Lane listed at $359,000 went under contract in 20 days, 46 Virginia Rd listed at $429,000 was under contract in 24 days and closed in 56 days for $420,000 and 29 South Bay Drive listed at $439,000 went under contract within 30 days of listing.
It is important to note that all of these homes had "bidding wars" meaning multiple bids by more than one buyer were negotiated at the same time. This activity bodes well for the village especially when the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (MLSLI) reports the average days on the market for homes in our geographic zone (primarily the Babylon and West Islip area) as 129 days.
Overall housing values are still in decline on Long Island decreasing about 3% in Suffolk County since November of 2009, according to MLSLI. This shows much less depreciation than previous years. However a perusal of recent home sales in the mid $300,000 to $500,000 ranges in Babylon Village show values in that category remain stable and in some instances increased slightly. This is because earlier declines in house values have made buying a home in this price point affordable again for many consumers.
However while Babylon Village is insulated from much of the regional housing crisis it is certainly not immune. In 2010 many waterfront homes with high end price tags have sat on the market for a very long time as consumers evaluate the cost of owning such large waterfront properties and come up short.
As reported by MLSLI homes sales over $700,000 in Suffolk County have declined by 27% when comparing November 2009 to November 2010. With only nine homes over $700,000 sold in Babylon Village in the last 12 months it is hard to gauge value. Currently there are 19 homes for sale in the zipcode of 11702 over $700,000.
The good news is that although the high-end market is still in transition locally it too will pick up. The aforementioned lack of activity causes sellers to reduce their price to entice buyers. These price reductions will begin to create an affordability factor that will motivate buyers to purchase a property that they may not have been able to afford a year ago.
Surveys show consumer confidence returning to the upper end housing market. Recently American Express Printing and The Harrison Group completed a survey of Affluence and Wealth in America, and 54% of the participants agreed the real estate market will recover soon and 19% said they are in the market to buy either a high end property for vacation or primary use. These factors should create and uptick of activity for high-end properties in Babylon Village for 2011.
Georgia Westcott is an expert in the field of residential real estate and has been selling homes since 1995 . She is the broker/owner of The Westcott Group Real Estate Co. in Babylon Village.