Space-eager home buyers stage bidding wars in New York City suburbs - Plataforma Media

Space-eager home buyers stage bidding wars in New York City suburbs

Home buyers eying for cozy backyards and more office space are staging bidding wars in the suburbs surrounding New York City amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, dwellers moving out of urban apartments and into suburban houses are driving up both prices and sales volumes.


As many as 25 groups of prospective buyers have made in-person visits to a house in Floral Park, the village of Stewart Manor, a residential area in Nassau County around 25 kilometers to the east of Manhattan Island during a two-hour open house show on Sunday afternoon, according to Robin Azougi, a licensed real estate salesperson with Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Azougi said the house was just listed and Sunday was the first open house activity, which allows drop-in visits without appointment.

Built in 1957, the house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms with a price of nearly 680,000 U.S. dollars, according to online real estate platform Zillow.

“Last weekend I did another open house and … I had 12 offers and there was a bidding war,” Azougi told Xinhua.

In the past few months, “it’s a very tough buyers’ market and it’s a great sellers’ market,” said Azougi.

“Personally, I’m busier now than I was last year at this time,” Robert Ward, a real estate agent from Long Island with Coach Realtors, said on Sunday.

Ward said he had around 30 people visiting an open house with a time frame of two hours recently. “That’s a big number. Usually, a decent open house would see 10 to 15 people.”


A massive number of buyers are coming in and are exiting from the city. The buyers want backyards and office spaces. A lot of them are not commuting anymore and they want a home office so as to work through their own computers, said Azougi, who has been working as a real estate agent for six and half years.

“So, it’s a mass exit. And for every home we have a massive amount of buyers and the interest rates are very low in addition of lack of inventory. It causes bidding wars quite often as long as the homes are priced and marketed correctly,” said Azougi.

It seems a lot of people are asking for bigger homes with office space and backyards. Many buyers want to upgrade to larger homes than what they are presently living in, according to Azougi.

The home buyers come from the five boroughs of New York City as well as Long Island, Azougi noted.

Home buyers are more likely to appear in the eastern end of Long Island and they tend to purchase houses with a higher price range, according to Ward.

“You do get some people creeping out from the city, but farther east you go the more city people you get,” said Ward. He added that on the higher end stuff like million-dollar range, there would be more prospective buyers from the city than local. “It really depends on the price range.”

Ward said he used to get about two calls a month in the beginning of a house being listed, and now he probably get two to three calls a week with people mostly from the city.

The market is picking up because of low interest rates and good demand, said Hemant Shah, a broker with Laffey Real Estate on Long Island.

Shah said people are coming from outside areas like Manhattan and they go to the south shore of Long Island and the farther east.

With many residents on Manhattan Island only as tenants, they could stop renting and buy their own houses in rural areas easily, said Man Yung Chan, a licensed real estate salesperson with E Realty International Corp., a full-fledged real estate company based Flushing, a Chinatown in New York City.

Chan added that the proportion of first-time home buyers is high.


The bidding war also drove up transaction prices, according to multiple real estate agents.

Azougi said she had one house in Woodbury of Long Island sold at 37,000 U.S. dollars higher than the asking price, with other houses seeing 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. dollars of premium.

“It’s crazy market. The sellers are happy. I just need more homes (for sale),” added Azougi.

The transactions in the same period of last year was great too but this year is exceptional with the selling market now “over the top”, said Azougi. “It sells much faster.”

Most houses would get multiple offers on them within the first week of listing, which increased buyers’ demand, and consequently the lack of inventory was driving up prices, said Ward in a phone call with Xinhua.

Transaction prices usually would be 10 percent to 15 percent higher than the asking prices, according to Ward.

“There’re definitely more buyers than people wanting to move. The sellers are kind of changing because they see there is such a demand right now,” Ward said.

Chan said she didn’t encounter bidding wars often, stressing that location and pricing are very important in such cases.

As mortgage interest rates could fall below 3 percent, it’s the best time to buy a house, said Chan.

Shah added that though low interest rates attract people to come out, they’re still waiting and watching.

“One has to make sure that the job is secured” before buying a house. Once the combination of elections, jobs and others are settled, the market is going to go up further, said Shah.

Long Island excluding Hamptons and North Fork saw the number of newly signed contracts for single family priced higher than 600,000 U.S. dollars, which surged 65.9 percent year on year to 639 in August, according to a report by Douglas Elliman.

In Hampton, single family houses priced from 1 million to 3.99 million U.S. dollars posted 229 new singly contracts in August, jumping 112 percent year on year, the report showed.

Meanwhile, the sales volume of single family houses priced over 1 million U.S. dollars in Westchester County in north of New York City as well as Fairfield County of Connecticut more than doubled in comparison with the same period of last year, according to the report.

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