Housing prices in the Catskills are dropping precipitously. But for prospective buyers they’re not low enough.
The New York Times: …for many in the Catskills, this is a tough winter.
“Buyers think everything should be a fire sale,” said David Knudsen, a broker at the Catskills Buyer Agency in Liberty, who said the average sale prices declined more than 15 per cent from November 2007 to November 2008. At the same time, by all accounts, the number of closings has declined substantially.
The tightened credit market is part of the problem. But even those buyers who can get financing are playing wait-and-see. “They don’t have one iota of motivation to do anything,” Mr. Knudsen said, because they think both prices and interest rates are going lower.
At the same time, Mr. Knudsen said, “many sellers are in la-la land,” unwilling to recognise how low buyers expect prices to go.
And that — the expectations gap — means houses aren’t selling.
In early October, in his Catskills real estate blog, blog.catskill4sale.com, he called the situation an “economic Armageddon.”
A few weeks later, Sullivan County’s largest brokerage, Yeager Realty, with 40 agents in Liberty, Bethel and Rock Hill, shuttered its offices, after a 24-year run. (The company’s owner, Paula Yeager, said she would continue to work from home.) .
Indeed, with so many fewer serious buyers, Mr. Knudsen said, he thought the best advice to some sellers was to close up their houses for the winter, rather than keep them open for the occasional — very occasional — showing.
“If they want to come up for a weekend, they can stay in a motel,” he said. It’s cheaper, he said, than heating the house all winter.
The guy in the picture by the way is a local broker, Randy Florke, and the house was put up for sale a year ago for $299,000. He’s now asking for $199,000.
Image from The New York Times
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