December, 2022

Rubble and Ruins?


The past two and a half years have been quite the ride with a momentary rest stop, seatbelt check and exhale from frenzy before voyaging on to the next phase in this journey to market normalization.

Wall Street pulling back on bonuses, talks of recession, inflation, market crash, peripheral industries to real estate experiencing slow downs (furniture for one), new construction starts noticing a slow down, certain brokerages and lenders experiencing layoffs along with other unrelated industries.

No doubt, wildcards exist that have the propensity to add to already expected challenges, but "rubble and ruins" for real estate in 2023? No one has a crystal ball, but a crash is not my projection based on a number of factors, which will be further explored in this issue. Most certainly there will be challenges ahead and an adjustment is already underway.

Challenging times mean pivot, focus, be that much smarter and work the action plan that much harder. The foundation of my business is based on referrals and repeat clients. The days ahead will call that much more for experts to guide clients through transactions. This is my full time focus with referrals, as always, most appreciated.

Let's dive in and nail the first elephant in the room - interest rates.

Interest Rates

Interest rates are higher than we are used to. They are also still below the historic average of 7.76% as reflected in the below Freddie Mac graph.

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates have never doubled in a year before. We can check that box as now done. The first market gasp was in May, 2022 when the stock market took a plunge and interest rates took a spike. There were a few days of market quiet following that one-two punch.

The market regained composure and then another hit in June when interest rates rose by over a half a percentage point (.625% to be precise) in a week. There have been buyers that have had to adjust their price points and other buyers that are no longer in a position to buy. Also worthy to consider, in 1980 and 1981, rates averaged 16% and 18% respectively. Were people still buying and selling during that double digit period? Yep. Real estate has proven itself a worthy investment over the long haul. Marry the house, date the rate.

Up or Down?

Many counties throughout the nation have been realizing increased inventory over the past several months. Dutchess County is up 18.7% in available housing inventory November, 2022 versus November, 2021. That's a step in the right direction, but rather than compare to 2021, a year plagued with historic inventory shortages, a more relevant look back seems November, 2019, considered more of a "normal trending" year. The number changes dramatically with that comparison showing Dutchess County down 105.9% from the "normalized" 2019 market. We are still very tight in inventory with a way to go.

As demand contracts due to rising rates, supply should continue to increase from historical lows of 2021. Homeowners were first disincentivized to sell due to lack of inventory to purchase. Based on a report from Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardiner, 25-30 million homeowners have mortgages with 3% or less interest rates. This can bring pause for certain mortgaged homeowners that need to finance their next home. This "lock-in effect", creates yet another disincentive for existing homeowners to put their homes on the market which "will remain in a way that has not occurred in over 40 years," Fannie Mae economists predict.

As companies define their long term work from home policies, this could be one buy or sell catalyst. Add to this general life changes that present needs for relocation. Divorce, physical housing needs, familial changes, etc.. there are a number of reasons people buy and sell real estate in any market condition. Albeit inventory shortage is expected to continue in 2023, there is underlying opportunity for positive inventory growth to continue.

Sellers/Buyers/Neutral Market?

Based on factors that define market type, our area is still in a sellers market. Inventory remains low and absorption levels (time it takes for a property to cycle through listing to sold - noted in months in the diagram) are still indicative of a sellers market.

It is not the same sellers market it was during the height of Covid frenzy, though. That ship sailed in approximately August, 2022 in our area. There were still properties enjoying multiple offers in the Fall as there are some also now, but flights over ask going well into six figures as several of my clients enjoyed are yesteryear at this point.

Properties that are selling over ask tend to have a much tighter margin to asking price these days. Realtors and sellers will need to be realistic as the market has slowed, but there are still buyers out there and they are hungry. Higher mortgage rates and lower affordability are limiting how much buyers can pay for a home. I am not expecting a buyers market in 2023 as low inventory is still expected, but more likely a move toward a neutral market.

Not everyone has fully picked up on the market adjustment yet, so there is expected increase in expired homes going forward as well as homes that enter the market not accurately priced to current market conditions that go through price reductions before ultimately selling. Keeping a firm pulse on the market is crucial in any market condition.

Buyers and Sellers Today

Sellers continue to enjoy higher gains than if percentages during the four years prior to Covid continued on their trending growth path to date.

The market is still presenting solid opportunity for sellers with median price YTD November up 6.3% versus November, 2021 and a whopping 39.5% versus November, 2019. It is also presenting opportunities for buyers to secure homes and have more breathing space with less competition during the process.

Historically, winter buyers are very serious versus many early Spring buyers that tend to "dip their feet in" while getting to know the market before making a decision. Add to this concern with rising interest rates. The buyers that are out now are in less number than days past, but they are decision ready with available inventory not speaking to their needs. Homeowners out there waiting for Spring market - unless you have to wait, grab the opportunity now with less competition, known rates and a captive audience of buyer.

What about the cash buyers and investors?

Cash buyers are still out there, but not in the number of days past. Cash historically has leverage in real estate. During the height of Covid, many cash buyers had two words: "It's mine" and so it was as they were the buyer segment that notoriously took leaps off asking and dropped contingencies, because they could.

Now, cash buyers still tend to have two words but instead of "it's mine" it's "I'll wait." The dynamic of cash buyers has changed. My investor clients are at the ready for return to market, but at the same time patient. They aren't looking for flights over ask. They are looking for numbers that work and particularly outside of single family detached. I expect my focus with investors to increase substantially in days ahead and have been preparing.

Fixer Uppers

Fixer uppers could have challenges in the days ahead as certain loan types can be more difficult with fixer uppers (FHA, VA and USDA that tend to look more at repair issues) with many conventional mortgaged buyers without additional liquidity for major improvements. There are rehab loans, but they tend to have a higher price tag with interest rates. Cash is around, but willingness to pay top dollar has subsided.

With all my fancy professional videos, the "Real Deal" off the cuff video I did for this house was very well received. People are rightfully tired of stretched appliances and kitchen counters making their way to Jersey with these wide angle lenses that distort reality and often attracts the wrong buyers, which generally only serves to annoy buyers and their realtors. Particularly fixer uppers that are marketed as "move in."

This property is in a town that has my eye from an investment perspective - Highland. Less than 10 minutes to New Paltz, same to Poughkeepsie. Blink three times and you're out of town, but it's a cute Main Street kind of town. Other municipalities that have my eye: Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Pleasant Valley, Catskill and Albany. Drop a line if interested in investing in or out of state - residential, land, commercial.

Goal is a December closing. I am representing both buyer and seller in this transaction.

Ten Year Look Back

In Freddie Mac's October, 2022 forecast snapshot, nationwide sales increased by 17.8% in 2021, 6.7% in 2022 and projected -0.2 in 2023. That, along with several other factors, point to adjustment, not crash. There has been no historical pattern to suggest the real estate market could sustain the past two and a half year trajectory, but the scenario is much different. from the early 2000's bubble and burst.

Dutchess County realized zero or negative YTD changes in 2012-2015 as evidenced in diagram above. There was positive recovery in 2016 with steady increases all the way up to the catapult in 2020. As December numbers will not be out for another month, to share pacing, YTD November 2022 has Median Sale Price at $420,000 with a percentage change of 6.3%. That percentage growth rate falls in line with pre-Covid trending percentages. It was the Covid height and frenzy of 2020 and 2021 that set the course for adjustment just being a matter of time.


The Town of Red Hook and Town of Milan may not get the public eye as much as Rhinebeck and Millbrook, but quietly those two spots are sweeping up some big time sales. The Town of Red Hook holds two of the three top sales in Mid Hudson Multiple Listing Service History.

Current active listings above $5M in Columbia, Dutchess and Ulster Counties. Some pretty sweet waterfronts on the market among other gems. Click here.

Let's kick it up a notch and roll to $10M+ sold. There have been a total of only nine in Mid-Hudson Multiple Listing history that have made the $10M+ list and six out of the nine sold during Covid, specifically April, 2020-September, 2022. Here they are.

Currently, there is only one listing above $5M in contract on the market in the Mid-Hudson MLS. This listing is testament to rising construction costs during Covid. This new construction home entered the market in September, 2020 for $7,700,000. The following year, the price was increased to it's current $8,250,000 due to rising costs in supplies. It is going to close in Spring 2023 when construction is complete in the $9,000,000+ range due to additional amenities and elevated construction costs to fulfill. See it here.

Choosing a Real Estate Partner

There are some really outstanding real estate professionals out there and there are some pieces of work, just like any other industry.

It is unfortunate for the real estate industry as a whole that some don't realize the importance of a solid partner or what a solid partner should be until already in the transaction. Mistakes in choice can leave a long lasting bitter taste on what can be a highly emotional experience.

Should you be looking for a real estate partner, here's the skinny on ways to sort out a professional to align with as it can be hard to tell with all smiles at the table (or just call me ;)

1) Are they full time Realtors? Is this just a side job to see pretty houses or are they all in?

2) What is the marketing plan and how would they execute? Ideally, the realtor will have a marketing (and project management) background prior to real estate.

3) Should the Realtor be new to the industry, explore their support network and additional training. With drive, applicable skills and a strong support system, they could be contenders with more seasoned brokers.

4) Is the Realtor a member of more than one multiple listing service? For example, I am a member of the Mid-Hudson multiple listing service, which covers Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties. Many realtors are only members of one service in the area. There are approximately 2,000 member agents. With roots in Westchester and Putnam, I have also maintained membership with the HGAR/OneKey multiple listing service. Rather than only putting my seller clients in front of 2,000 agents and limiting housing supply to the Mid-Hudson multiple alone for my buyers, I have access to over 45,000 member agents through my additional membership with HGAR/OneKey, which also feeds into the city. Most Realtors do not carry multiple memberships. Worthy of asking.

5) Look the Realtor up online and in social media. Do you align with their message and brand? Is it consistent? Do you feel trust in their ability to represent you and your property in the best light possible?

6) Documented sales history - ask to see the history directly from the multiple listing service for a number of recent listings. This will show if the house had to reduce in price multiple times prior to selling (if it's with one listing it could be due to a seller insisting on overpricing, but if multiple listings reduced in price prior to selling it could show an inability to accurately price and market a property, ditto if listings expire)

7) Ask for references and be specific. Rather than have a Realtor furnish you with references (which guaranteed will all say great things), check out recent sales on Zillow, etc.. pull up those sales and specifically ask for those references, also.

8).Last, but so incredibly far from least - does the Realtor have expert market knowledge? It is imperative to align with an expert in both marketing and market knowledge - particularly in the days ahead.

The chosen real estate partner can truly mean the difference of multiple thousands, whether buying or selling, along with an overall confidence through the process and timely, smooth sail to the closing table. If you're looking for a real estate partner or have questions on the market, call me.


"Sandi is an industry savant, fair, loyal, smart, kind and the powerhouse you want by your side."

T. McCormick and S. Hon


What did one of my other clients do with a portion of $200,000 over ask proceeds from his sale? Click here for the five second changeup in lifestyle purchased from his record breaking sale in Ulster County.

Market Inequality

What areas are most likely to see the largest adjustments?

Not all markets are created equal. Where home prices rose the fastest in recent years are expected to experience a disproportionate swing to the downside. In a report released by real estate juggernaut Attom, counties at greatest risk for decline around the country were spotlighted.

The report found that the most at-risk counties are clustered in and around New Jersey, Illinois and inland California, including New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. The boroughs in New York City noted at highest risk include Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island along with five in the suburbs: Essex, Passaic, Sussex and Union Counties in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York.

The data does not suggest a steep drop in home prices is imminent, according to the report, but shows that different areas are facing lower and more elevated levels of risk as the US economy remains in uncertainty.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the largest cluster of counties considered not at risk were located in the south, midwest and western areas of California.

According to a Redfin survey, while newly expansive boomtowns are slowing, affordable metros on the East Coast and Midwest are just starting to take off. For example, in Albany, the median price per square foot was up 11.2% in October, up from a 2.8% increase in February.

I personally don't think Albany or Poughkeepsie have seen their full day yet. I still can't believe that the house I sold at 7 St. John's Parkway in Poughkeepsie remains the highest sale in the City of Poughkeepsie in over 15 years - for $700,000!. Look at this house! The South side of Poughkeepsie completely reminds me of Larchmont in Westchester for a fraction of the cost. Poughkeepsie is worthy of that record being broken!

As far as our area is concerned, the homes that went ballistic in sale price are most vulnerable to adjustment. I have noticed marginal advancement with adjustment in Ulster County over Dutchess County.


This past March, I went to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina and visited a two-family on the market for $2,000,000. It was accessed for $750,000. I have spent a great deal of time speaking with tax accessors throughout multiple counties in representation of my clients throughout Covid. I have heard all different plans and solutions as taxes are handled by each individual municipality under the guidance of New York State.

When I asked this North Carolina tax accessor what they planned to do about the gap between accessed value and purchase price upon sale she said "nothing." She continued by sharing the county as a whole would be evaluating taxes in 2025.

We were still in the height of Covid in March, 2022 when I had this conversation, but I knew an adjustment had to be coming and I also knew many tax departments in New York were rolling out new assessments in May. I thought then and I think even that much more now, how prolific to simply wait. Let the market do what it's going to do and then revisit in 2025.

Taxes can be grieved every year, but only once a year. It our area, the deadline is in May. If your taxes are higher than comparative homes in your area, it could be a worthy investment of time to grieve. If adjusted, it can help not only the household budget, but also on resale as buyers are tax aware. Contact the tax accessor in your municipality for grievance deadline.

It's a wrap!  Should you have any questions on the market, feel free to reach out. I post regular updates on Instagram (@HudsonValleyNest), follow along!

To those who have sent referrals, thank you again. For those who are considering, know that I appreciate the trust and will take very good care of those sent my way.

Happy holidays all!




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Sandi Park

Associate Real Estate Broker

Global Luxury Specialist

Coldwell Banker Realty & Global Luxury

M: 914-522-6282


Serving the Hudson Valley and Global Luxury Markets