Five Stories -- Spring Real Estate in the Catskills

Above - A village home in Franklin that got snapped up before spring even arrived.

Spring has arrived in the Catskills and so have the buyers. But this year brings a phenomenon not seen here in a long time - multiple offers and routinely inflated prices.

Two years of a strong sellers’ market in Delaware County has spread to Otsego County. Buyers this spring are stunned to discover that offering full price for the house they want may not be enough. And sellers are pre-emptively jacking up prices.

Multiple offers have been the norm in the Hudson Valley for awhile, but it used to be rare farther to the west. Nowadays, it’s commonplace.

Here are five anecdotes to paint the picture for you:

  1. A beautiful country estate property with some question marks visibile in the basement has been used as an Air BnB and shows the wear. It was priced over $1M. It is in contract.

  2. A simple village property drew multiple offers and is selling for well over asking.

  3. A beautifully upgraded but basically simple raised ranch about a mile outside town got multiple offers over asking, despite a patched roof.

  4. A luxurious, fully renovated farmhouse on massive acreage is getting interest at over $1M and, in response, raised its price by $200K.

  5. The seller of another luxurious property, with stunning upgrades but no bedroom closets and limited usable land, raised the price by $200K as soon as an appointment was made to show it.

What’s going on, you ask? Sellers smell demand. They aren’t wrong.

Unless you’re a cash buyer, an inflated price will create problems. It simply won’t appraise for the asking price, and that means a bigger downpayment.

But sellers are counting on the continued demand for country properties, and so far, they’re getting what they want.

Will it last? No one can say for sure. The remote work shift appears to be a lasting one. The empty storefronts in New York City tell a story that’s bad for the city and good for upstate real estate.

New businesses are moving into little villages across the Catskills. Oneonta has traffic jams and Starbucks is opening a new store there.

The people have arrived. They need a place to live. Sellers know it. If you’re coming, prepare yourself. The “cheap upstate housing” you expect is still here, but it’s cheap only compared to the Hudson Valley or the NYC suburbs. Prices have shot up in the past two years. It’s bad news for buyers who contact me with budgets under $150K. Nowadays, $200K is the low end for most properties in good shape, and the million dollar plus properties are sprouting up like spring flowers.

Welcome to the 2022 market in the Catskills and north. It is not for the faint of heart.

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