Real Estate

Real Estate: As home prices fluctuate, North Fork condos hold their value

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Maidstone Landing condos overlook the Sound in Northville.

In the market for a condo or co-op on the North Fork? You may want to know how prices are holding up compared to single-family homes, whose prices and volume of sales have declined from the highs of a few years ago.

The answer, according to local real estate agents, is reasonably well.

“We have a limited number of condos on the North Fork,” said Paul Loeb of Lloyd’s Realty in Greenport. “There’s not much out there and so when a condo comes on the market, it often sells more quickly than a single-family home.”

Mr. Loeb cites as an example the Cleaves Point complex in East Marion.

“There’s nothing available at the moment but we have people very interested should a unit come up for sale,” he said.

There have been some strongly priced sales of desirable units, according to Mr. Loeb.

“Last year a unit sold in the Pipes Cove development at the end of Sixth Street in Greenport for $990,000,” he said. “It sold quickly and there wasn’t much of a price drop from the asking price.”

A condo in Greenport’s Oyster Point community sold just as fast, Mr. Loeb said.

“Of course the draw for both of those units is waterfront location and docking,” he added.

Even so, pricing issues have kept a second-floor unit in the waterfront Sterling Harbor complex from selling. That, Mr. Loeb said, underlines the need to set realistic prices.

Inland, four units at Pheasant Run in Greenport and one in Founders Village sold in 2010.

“The sales prices probably declined about the same extent as single family homes,” said Mr. Loeb. “But the point is they all sold.”

Across the North Fork 57 condos and co-ops sold in 2010, down from 64 in 2009, said Laurie Mindnich of Options Realty in Riverhead.

“But overall pricing was close to what we saw in 2009,” she said. The highest priced sale was a unit in the Maidstone Landing complex in Jamesport on the Sound shore.

A 3-bedroom, three and a half bath condo sold for sold for $1,048,500, down from the $1,199,000 asking price.

The lowest priced sale was a Calverton condo that went for $85,000.

But a lack of inventory isn’t the only reason why some condo prices have not declined dramatically, said Ms. Mindnich.
“Some of the 55+ communities are in better shape than the unrestricted developments,” she said. “I think the reason is that older people will tend to buy a condo with cash and prices held up for that reason. Founders Village in Southold is one 55+ development that remains very popular, especially the end units.”

Jerry Cibulski of Century21 Agawam Albertson’s Southold office says there has been some price decline, which would obviously disappoint sellers. But on the other hand people are definitely purchasing condos.

“I’ve seen an increase in the number of people looking at 55+ condos recently,” he said. “Even when the weather was so bad, we’ve had people coming out to view some of the 55+ communities in Riverhead. There’s been a strong uptick in the last six months.”

Mr. Loeb says more inventory would be welcome.

“There’s certainly room for another reasonably priced community like Pheasant Run,” he said. “The sales prices for the four units that sold in 2010 ranged from $280,000 to $330,000. The properties are in the 1300- to 1400-square-foot range. Some have garages and there’s a pool. And the maintenance is done for you.”

The key to making a sale in the current market is to have the condo unit in tip-top shape, Mr. Cibulski said.

“You’ll definitely have to sell at a lower price than you may want if the unit needs repairs,” he said.

The development itself has to be in excellent financial condition if a seller is dealing with a non-cash buyer, says Mr. Cibulski.

“Banks are looking for condo developments to have good cash reserves,” he said.

Mr. Cibulski is of the opinion that the harsh winter may have provide hidden value for condo sales.

“It’s got a lot of people thinking about whether they really want to shovel their driveways and do all that other maintenance,” he said. “So all that snow may encourage people to take a fresh look at condominiums.