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A Minor Problem Ahead?

Just another thing to worry about when assessing the long-term prospects of the real estate market: a global pandemic that could cripple the world.

Why? Uncertainty. People don’t want to make a long-term financial commitment if their job security is at risk, and pandemics have a way of eroding confidence.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.45 percent for the week ending February 7, which fell from 4.35 percent the same time a year ago, according to Freddie Mac. That rate is the lowest in three years. But is it enough to stimulate sales?

It’s too bad because according to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales rose 9.6 percent to a seasonally-adjusted $5.46 million from a year ago, the NAR said, and it was the second straight month of year-over-year increased activity. Those numbers were calculated before the coronavirus raised its ugly head.

Another reason for concern is construction supplies — much is shipped into the country, including from China. If countries continue to quarantine borders, new construction will suffer delays.

Sale Of The Week

Sleepy Shelter Island gets the top number for the week ending February 7. Alphanest LLC transferred 44 Gardiners Bay Drive to Windward 44 GBD, LLC for $10,178,500. The five-bedroom house on a six-acre lot is a single-family home built in 1963. The cool part is the property was last sold for $160,000 in 1988. The median sales price for the Shelter Island Heights area is $1.4 million these days.