Guide to what houses cost in Sullivan County, NY

General guidelines about what houses cost in Sullivan County, NY

The following are very general price guidelines for the types of houses most second home buyers are looking for. The prices are based on houses that are in quiet, country settings (with the exception of “In Town Charm”, below) and not on main roads. There are less expensive houses for sale here, but they may be on busy roads, have less attractive settings or are in less desirable locations — factors that may limit their appeal to second home buyers. Setting features and location can greatly impact prices. A great view, a good swimming pond or a rushing creek can add significantly to price. (Updated March 2015)

Of course, there are a lot of variables that go into a property’s value, so take these as rough guidelines. But if you asked a dozen Realtors here in Sullivan County, they’d probably agree that these are pretty close. I haven’t included every possibility, riverfront houses (which tend to be priced similarly to lakefronts) , townhouses/condos and more primary or ‘suburban’ style in town houses. The bottom line is that you probably aren’t going to find a farmhouse in “move-in” condition in a quiet country setting for much under $200,000. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find an attractive getaway here for a moderate price.

When you search online, you’ll find examples in almost every category below at prices substantially less than what I’ve estimated. But if a house is priced substantially less than the range for that type of property, there’s usually a reason why. I’ve been out with hundreds of buyers over the years, and have a pretty good feel for the factors buyers, particularly second home buyers from the city, are looking for. These guidelines are based on what is likely a reasonable target range for real estate buyers for these types of properties in Sullivan County in 2015.


$175,000 to $650,000, depending on size and amount of acreage, in good condition. Stylishly renovated large farmhouses with large acreage (80+) can sell for more. At the lower end of this range, you’re looking at smaller houses, about 1,200 to 1,500 sq. ft. on 3 to 5 acres, often updated in the 70’s or 80’s with paneling and carpeting, so not a lot of original detail. At the upper end, farmhouses are on larger acreage and stylishly renovated in “Country Living”: style. Some “estate quality” large farmhouses on substantial acreage (100+) close in on $1 million. Overall, though, a good target for a renovated farmhouse on 5 to 10 acres on a quiet country road is $350,000 to $400,000.

With authentic farmhouses in short supply, new construction “reproduction” farmhouses, with authentic detailing combined with more modern layouts, are a good alternative. 1,000 sq. ft., 2 bedroom cottages from Catskill Farms, the leading builder in this genre, start about $300,000 and go up to about $500,000 for larger homes.

Farmhouse fixer uppers

Sullivan County farmhouse fixer upper

As low as $100,000 for a smaller fixer on a couple of acres that needs everything; $150,000 to $200,000 for up to 10 acres. Fixers with larger acreage can go correspondingly higher, into the $400,000 range and up with 100 or more acres. These ‘handyman’ houses often need total renovation, including all new systems.

Bringing back an old farmstead has great romantic appeal, but isn’t for the faint of heart or light of wallet. A gut renovation on a house that needs new systems can easily run $100 to $125 per square foot, and if significant structural repairs are needed, can be even more. Fixers usually won’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. Rehab loans may be available, but handyman fixers are typically bought with cash.

Classic ranch or cape

Sullivan County real estate classic ranch

$125,000 to $225,000 with 3 bedrooms on 2 to 5 acres, up to $300,000+ for a larger 4BR ranch or cape on 10 to 15 acres.

Ranches and capes built between the 1950’s and 1970’s can have a lot of appeal, especially if some ‘mid century’ detailing is intact. They also often have better settings than farmhouses, which were typically built close to roads. Overall, ranches and capes tend to be priced somewhat lower than farmhouses or other ‘authentic charmers’.

Log homes

$200,000 to $225,000 for smaller, 1,200 sq. ft. log homes on 2 to 5 wooded acres to $500,000 or more for larger, 2,500 to 3,000 square footers on larger acreage or with views or a pond. Larger log homes on a lake can sell for well upwards of $500,000.

Log homes comes in a wide range of prices and settings. The most typical is a 3BR/2BA (or 2BR + a sleeping loft), 1,500 to 1,800 square feet on 5 wooded acres that would sell somewhere in the $250K to $275K range. You’ll also find houses listed as “log cabins” that aren’t really full log, but are frame construction houses that are sided with ‘half log’ siding. These often sell for somewhat less than full log homes.

Cabins in the woods

Sullivan County cabin

A “cabin in the woods” on 5 or so wooded acres starts around $150,000 for a small cabin under 1,000 sq. ft., and goes on up to the mid $200’s for a larger rustic home on a few more acres.

A lot of buyers are looking for that little tucked away cabin in the woods for under $100,000. But those rough backwoods hunter cabins are a dying breed, at least here in Sullivan County.  Most were built before building codes, and were largely for seasonal use, with spring water rather than drilled wells, little or no insulation, and wood stoves as the only heat source. Over the years most have been upgraded to year round use, moving them into the $150,000 start category.

Don’t expect a lot of frills or “authentic charm” in a lower priced woodsy getaway. Paneling and vinyl floors are more the norm at the lower end of this category than pine walls and riverstone fireplaces.

Privately set lakefront

$400,000 to $800,000 on a 2 to 5 acre lakefront lot with 150 to 200 ft. lake frontage. At the Chapin Estate, one of our most upscale communities, large Adirondack lodge style lakefront homes can climb close to the $2 million range.

Black Lake is a good example of this category. An 1,800 to 2,000 sq. ft. 80’s era lakefront house in good condition, but needing some updating, would likely sell in the range of $450,000 to $550,000. A newer, larger house, with 4BRs 2,400 sq. ft. wold come in closer to $700,000. You’ll find similar pricing at Timber and York lakes.

Traditional lakefront

$200,000 (for a small cottage under 1,000 sq. ft., often seasonal requiring winterizing) to $500,000 for a larger home on a prime lake.

At Sullivan County’s ‘traditional’ lakes, houses are on smaller lots, generally about 1/4 of an acre and 50 to 100 feet wide with closer neighbors. Houses with ‘split lakefront’ where there’s a road between the house and the lake (which you can find at Mohican, Masten, Loch Ada and a few other lakes), are typically less expensive than direct lakefront.  A few traditional lakes with the most ‘mountain lake getaway feel’ — like Wolf and Tennanah — are at the upper end of this range. Some ‘traditional’ lakes, like Tennanah, also have a few homes on larger parcels that can command significantly higher prices.

Lakefront in a newer community

$300,000 to $450,000. 1/4 to 1 acre lots, 90 to 140 ft. lake frontage. Often nice lake settings, but not totally private like more expensive “private lakefront.”

Before the 1970’s, lakes communities here were all of the ‘traditional’ variety, and starting in the late 80’s, lake communities with more private lakefront acreage became the norm. Between these two eras are some lake communities, like Emerald Green, Lake Devenoge and Lake Joseph, that straddle the two eras. Houses are generally larger than in the traditional lake communities, and are on somewhat larger parcels with more separation between houses. Most of these houses have not been updated since being built, so think ‘new kitchen’. The $300-$450 price range is for a 3BR, 2BA house with about 1,800 sq. ft., but these communities also feature some larger houses. At Emerald Green, for example, a 5BR, 3,600 sq. ft. house could push into the $700’s.

Non-lakefront with lake rights

$200,000 to $300,000 in a newer community on a 1-5 acre lot; $150,000 to $250,000 in a newer lake community with 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot sizes, i.e. Emerald Green; $125,000 to $325,000 in an older traditional lake community (The $125K range would be for a small (under 900 sq. ft.) cottage on a 1/4 acre lot in Smallwood, while the $300K+ range would be for a larger, 4+ bedroom house in a community like Wolf Lake.) Best value is in a lake community like Emerald Green with great amenities but a more ‘suburban’ feel than some more rustic areas.

An option for a buyer looking to spend less than $100,000 on a lake getaway would be a seasonal cottage in Smallwood that can only be used during the warmer weather months from May through October.

For buyers looking to spend around $300,000 but want a more private setting, a lake rights house at Timber, York or Black is a great option. At those lakes, a comparable direct lakefront house would be more in the $500,000 range.

In town charmer

$135,000 for a smaller two bedroom house to $300,000 for a larger Victorian with classic detailing.

In-town charmers in one of our country hamlets like Narrowsburg, Callicoon or Jeffersonville can be a great option for buyers who want a charming getaway with authentic detailing, but can’t stretch for a farmhouse in the country. In-towners generally have large back yards with plenty of room for gardening and playing, and the side streets in a hamlet can actually be quieter than a house on a busier road ‘out in the country’.

You also often find grander houses with finer detailing in town. The reason? Out in the country, farmers largely built modest utilitarian houses, while the wealthier  lumber barons, bankers, doctors and lawyers built their houses in town.

“To Die For” country cute

$250,000 to $500,000. Craftsman or Adirondacks style, original detailing and stone work, nice setting. 3 to 10 acres, with a stream or pond. Occasionally there are more quirky one bedroom houses converted from small barns or farm outbuildings in the low $200’s. Barn conversions can range upwards from $500,000. (There were two sold in 2014 here; one at $690,000 and one at $750,000.)

Older cottages and lodge style houses with authentic detailing carry a premium, often costing more than comparable farmhouses. Good examples are quite rare, and they have often been lovingly updated by their owners, which adds both to their appeal and price.

Country contemporary

$200,000 to $400,000 on 5 to 10 acres, depending on size, style and setting. 1,400 to 2,400 sq. ft.

‘Country contemporaries’ are largely 80’s and 90’s era houses. They typically feature open plans with cathedral ceilings, have large decks and are cedar (rather than vinyl) sided. The also often have very nice settings, because in the 80’s the trend was to locate houses back from the road and to site them to take advantage of a view.

Interior detailing can be a little dated, though, as few have had kitchen or bath updates since being built.

“Dwell Modern”

$300,000 for a smaller two bedroom house to $1.5 million for an architect designed modern lakefront home

“Dwell modern” is a broad catch all for the flat-roofed, planar style modern houses, sometimes but not always pre fabs, inspired by Dwell Magazine in the 2000’s. Yes, we have this style in Sullivan County, but because most are less than ten years old, very few have shown up on the resale market. And the ones that do come to market aren’t cheap. Expect to pay between $300,000 and $400,000 for a smaller (less than 1,500 sq. ft.) prefab modern. Larger, architect designed ‘stick built’ modern homes are also occasionally available, and the ones that would make it into the pages of a magazine are generally $1M and up. That’s less than you’ll find something similar in the Hudson Valley, but isn’t a ‘bargain buy’.

Country ‘suburban’

$175,000 to $325,000
Newer, vinyl-sided splits, colonials and capes on 5 to 10 acres. These can be great values, offering a lot square footage and acreage for the price. They aren’t as fashionable as authentic charmers, updated contemporaries or Dwell moderns, but for second home buyers, particularly those with large families or lots of house guests, you get more for your money with country suburban than almost any other house type.

Most of these houses have open plan kitchen / dining / living areas and feature large decks. If they’re on acreage, they’re usually set further back from the road than older classics. They have lower ongoing maintenance costs (you never have to repaint vinyl siding, while a clapboard farmhouse needs repainting every 7 or 8 years.) They’re also more energy efficient, often using half the energy to heat compared to a similarly sized older farmhouse, unless the farmhouse has been extensively retrofitted.

Country contemporary

$200,000 to $400,000 on 5 to 10 acres, depending on size, style and setting. 1,400 to 2,400 sq. ft.

‘Country contemporaries’ are largely 80’s and 90’s era houses. They typically feature open plans with cathedral ceilings, have large decks and are cedar (rather than vinyl) sided. The also often have very nice settings, because in the 80’s the trend was to locate houses back from the road and to site them to take advantage of a view.

Interior detailing can be a little dated, though, as few have had kitchen or bath updates since being built.