The "Weekend of Chamber Music" is a very popular music event here in Sullivan County every July. (This will be its 19th season.) But another, and less known, contribution that WCM makes to Sullivan County is its "Artist Coaching Project", where WCM pairs performing artists with local school music teachers here in Sullivan to provide…Details
First, there were the statements by geologists last year that the geology of the Marcellus underlying most of Sullivan County may not be conducive to economic gas extraction, a position echoed by industry spokespeople last December. (Article). Then came the surprising cancellation of a vote in November by the Delaware River Basin Commission on proposed…Details
Chalk it up to this unseasonably warm ‘winter’, but lots of second home buyers seem to be thinking about summer. And that means there are a lot of inquiries about houses on lakes. Unfortunately, the inventory of houses on lakes for sale has been very low. It’s probably about the tightest inventory of lake houses…Details
It's only March, and with the dreary weather outside, summer may seem a long way off. But it's just around the corner. A great thing about being here in Sullivan County in the summer is the plethora of fresh, organic, locally grown food available — from the first spring greens in May and June through…Details
It took me a lot longer than usual to get my monthly Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate together. I did get the February report posted today just under the wire (well, for February at least.) The data this month is very interesting. Overall, it's pointing to a strengthening market. While sales volume…Details
You've probably passed it a hundred times — the 7 story unfinished rust/pink building on the left just off of Route 17B just before the racetrack. During the boom years, when it was looking like there would be a casino at the Monticello Raceway, it was planned as a luxury condominium. It was largely finished,…Details
I was on the phone with Warren Blumenthal from Catskill Sales Associates this morning. Warren knows I'm a connectivity junkie for anything related to cell and internet coverage in Sullivan County. So he mentioned that he has a 4G Verizon phone (a Motorola Razr), which has been operating on 3G in Sullivan … until just…Details
I just posted my latest Current Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate with sales data through December, 2011. This month's report also has full year data for 2010 and 2011. For the full years, both sales volume and prices were relatively flat. But that's not such bad news, as there wasn't a huge…Details
For the past month, one of the top requests I've been getting is for hunting property — raw land with 20 plus acres, cabins on 20 or more acres, or cabins on 5 to 10 acres that back up to state land. The price point among these buyers is remarkably consistent — they're looking at…Details
The weather, or more specifically, the lack of winter, is the main topic of conversation here. The most common phrase I hear is "Can you believe this weather? or some variation thereof, followed shortly thereafter by "I'm not complaining, mind you." That is, unless you're an ice fisherman, cross country skier, planner of a winter…Details
Farmhouses, whether stylishly renovated, new reproductions, or ones that have seen better days and, in Realtor-speak, are just waiting for your tender loving care, have enduring appeal among New York second home buyers. There's something warm and cozy about a farmhouse that beckons as an antidote to the sharp edges and shrill cacaphony of the…Details
It's that time of the year, to look back and look ahead. At the end of 2011, we can breathe at least a little sigh of relief. It will still be a few weeks until the final end of year sales numbers are in, but it looks like sales volume and prices will be just about even with 2010. On one hand, treading water on the volume front is a little disappointing, given that the northeast region as a whole is showing a modest uptick in sales volume for 2011. But we didn't fall off a cliff, either, which is somewhat remarkable given the pall of gas drilling that has been casting a shadow over the western Catskills for the past couple of years.
So what do I think 2012 will look like? A lot hinges, in my opinion, on whether the gas drilling issue gets definitively resolved. Will gas drilling come to Sullivan County and, if so, where? The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation is expected to issue its drilling regulations in 2012, possibly in the third quarter, but could be as early as late spring. But the NY DEC isn't the only agency with regulatory authority for drilling in Sullivan County. The four state Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is also expected to rule on whether drilling can occur in the Delaware River Basin, and if so, under what terms. The third factor is the geology. This past year, some geologists have weighed in about whether the gas underlying Sullivan is economically extractable.
I think it's a given that the NY DEC will green light hydrofrack drilling in some form in this state in 2012. A green light from the DRBC is much less certain. If the DRBC says 'no' to drilling in the Delaware Basin, or makes it so onerous or expensive to do so, that would lift the pall of drilling over this area and could uncork second home demand in the west/northwest areas of Sullivan.
A red light to drilling here will likely mean more large raw land parcels will come to market, which would mean more land available for small organic farmers. Demand for land for small organic farms has been high all year, but there's been almost none on the market here. Land prices further east in the Hudson Valley are often too high for small start up farmers. and cheaper land further north is too far from the key NYC market. Sullivan County is well positioned to take advantage of this locavore farming trend, if cheaper land is available and the possibility of gas drilling is minimized.
Until there's resolution of the drilling issue, I expect the demand profile for Sullivan County real estate in 2012 to be similar to 2011. Interest in lakefront and lake-related properties will continue to be strong, which will hopefully bring more inventory to market. The throttle on lake sales here all year has been a lack of good inventory. However, the buyer focus on value will likely keep price appreciation on lake properties modest at best. Sellers who are waiting until their lake house which could have sold for $350,000 this year will pull $450,000 won't likely see that happening in 2012.
I also expect demand to remain high for vacation getaways with privacy in the $200,000 to $250,000 range, which was a sweet spot for buyers in 2011, as well as inexpensive cottages in places like Smallwood in the low $100's. Communities that offer land protection, like Wolf Lake, Black Forest, Merriewold and Edgewood Lake, will also likely have increasing appeal.Details
I just posted my latest Current Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate with sales data through Nov. 2011. Sales volume is holding steady, about on par with the previous month and previous yewar. Sales prices have been holding steady as well, with the average sales price up some over last year, while the…Details
I've never quite understood why millions of Americans battle the crowds to go shopping on Black Friday. But they do, and that in this region that causes an annual, notorious traffic jam around Woodbury Commons — located on the main route to Sullivan County, where the Thruway meets Route 17. The lanes to exit off…Details
Good news for folks in the southwest part of Sullivan County. Train service on the Port Jervis line (which connects at Secaucus Junction to Penn station) will be operating again starting next Monday, Nov. 28th. The Port Jervis line between Harriman and Port Jervis has been closed down since Hurricane Irene destroyed a number of…Details
I just posted my latest Current Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate with sales data through October, 2011. Both bulls and bears are likely to be disappointed with the latest data — sales volume and prices are both about on par with the same period a year ago. So the market hasn't shown…Details
I have a short list of old reliable favorites, that I enjoy showing and I consider pretty good values. A lot of those have been on the market for a while, most due to the slow and tentative market rather than any glaring drawback to the house. Some of these houses seem like old friends,…Details
Last week I was out with friends, and someone came over to our table and asked me "What's Up?", that they're a regular reader of this blog and I haven't been blogging much lately. (Some folks have been wondering if I've been ill when they see me, 'cause I've lost 43 pounds since July. Trust…Details
I finally got the latest Current Market Conditions Report finished and posted. Sorry it took so long this month. Usually I have it up sometime between the 15th and 20th of the month. October has been hell month, busier than I can recall in recent memory. Inquiries about properties have been through the roof. Online…Details
The crucial town board elections are Tuesday, Nov. 8th. For those who are registered to vote here in Sullivan County, but will be unable to physically go to the polls on Nov. 8th, you can vote by absentee ballot. But you need to request an absentee ballot at least 7 days prior to the election…Details