Low interest rates, proximity to New York City and good schools have made Malverne and West Hempstead prime locations in the post-pandemic real estate market, according to local brokers and agents. With houses in high demand, however, the supply isn’t keeping up, leading to multiple bids on virtually every home and properties selling at well above their original asking prices.
“People have to realize that no matter what, people have to live somewhere,” said Anne Coffey, a broker at Coffey Realty Solutions in Malverne. “I think people realized that during this pandemic, they should start thinking about buying and purchasing hard assets, and one of those assets is a house or a condo.”
Coffey, a longtime Malvernite who has worked in real estate for more than 40 years, said that homes are going so fast that there’s no time to make an appraisal. “I’ve seen as many as 40 people lined up for a house,” she said.
Sharona Beck, a broker at Sharona Beck Realty in West Hempstead and Cedarhurst, explained that there has recently been an influx of prospective buyers from New York City looking to relocate to communities like West Hempstead. The pandemic, Beck said, has made people appreciate the need for more living space, while still being able to have a commuter’s access to the city.
“So many people have purchased homes during Covid that were not ready,” Beck said. “People were falling all over each other to buy anything. There were many buyers that were in apartments in city areas, and they weren’t even thinking of buying a piece of property, but Covid really escalated their timetable.”
But, Beck added, “It’s not a buyer frenzy like it was at this time last year. In the last couple of months, I’ve had a considerable amount of buyers just telling me that the market is way too high, and they want to sit it out. They don’t feel that they’re getting the best value for their dollar right now. That’s what happens when there’s very little supply and high demand.”
Beck noted that many buyers were front-line workers, and that Long Island felt like a safer place to live. A broker for 33 years, she said she didn’t recall another time when people were buying homes well above market value at such a fast pace. Now, however, buyers don’t seem to have the sense of urgency they did at the height of the pandemic, she said.
“They didn’t have time to think,” Beck recalled. “Fear is a big motivating factor for buyers. This market has changed so rapidly that it’s hard to even put a finger on a number of what a house will go for these days. With the buyers being afraid to jump in, it definitely makes for a cooler market.”
David Zivotofsky, a real estate salesman for Realty Connect USA in West Hempstead, said it was difficult to showcase homes virtually. Even when restrictions started to loosen, he said, many homeowners remained reluctant to have people walk through their homes, so they delayed putting them on the market, creating a backlog of homes. Now, with more people vaccinated, would-be sellers are becoming more comfortable with listing their homes.
“I can’t imagine buying a home without walking through it,” Zivotofsky said. “Before the pandemic hit, the market was doing well at that point. Now there seems to be a whole bunch of new people that are looking to move out of the city or just move for other reasons. Nobody knows how long this trend is going to last. Over the next three months during the summer, I don’t see it changing much.”