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Brewster Broker: Housing Market Moving in 'Right Direction'

Experts say it's a great time to buy.

If first and second quarter numbers continue, this year could be the strongest since 2008 for the local real estate market.

According to the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc.'s latest report, which focuses on quarter two, Putnam County saw 177 closed residential sales, about a 24 percent increase from totals posted during the same time last year. 

"At last, the Westchester-Putnam real estate market posted an improved performance that may have some staying power," the July 9 report reads. The document also notes that "Putnam often lags Westchester on key volume and price indicators."

Robert P. Morini, regional vice president and brokerage manager for , said although there is a "way to go" in terms of market improvement, folks in the industry are "optimistic that sales activity will continue to improve through the end of 2012 and believe that 2013 will be even better."

"Overall, the county [Putnam] saw almost 50 percent loss of unit sales during the worst years of this real estate recession," he said. "...While market activity is no where near where it was at the height of the market, it is certainly heading in the right direction."

"We are particularly excited to see the upper end of the market come back with sales of luxury and weekend properties on the rise" Morini continued, adding that there are "lots of very motivated sellers out there, and with interest rates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage just above 3.5 percent, now is a fabulous time to buy."

Here is a roundup of the information, based on the report:

-Projections for year-end sale totals, if current trends continue, are 650 to 700 units in Putnam and 6,700 to 6,900 in Westchester.

-Second-quarter sales of single-family houses jumped by about 31 percent in Putnam, "albeit in comparison to very poor sales results last year."

-The median sale price of a single family house in Putnam was $299,500 last quarter, a 6.4 percent decrease from the same time period in 2011. The median sale price of a condo or co-op was down about 10.4 percent from the second quarter of 2011, at $215,000. Although less severe, Westchester saw decreases in those categories, too, with drops of 0.6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

-"Uncertain job growth and job security continue to retard consumer confidence in home-buying," so although mortgage rates—now less than 4 percent—are below where they were for much of last year—about 4.2 percent for 30-year conventional loans—"the current inherent affordability of mortgage financing is offset to some extent by much tighter lending criteria." 

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