We are very pleased to tout this week the fact that Hudson Woods has been the number one trending listing on Brownstoner Upstate’s real estate section. It’s a testament to a resurgent interest that city dwellers have in experiencing rural life and to the newfound awareness of the myriad upstate towns and their particular personalities. Since early 2014, there has been an unprecedented burst of home sales activity in the Hudson Valley, and particularly in our own Ulster county. On numerous blogs and in conversations with local realtors and interior designers, the consensus is that 2015 may be bigger than ever.
Jeff Serouya, a popular local realtor (and former city dweller) whose clients are largely city based tells us, “it was an unusually busy beginning of the year. When there’s a heavy winter, things tend to slow down. But early Spring is showing signs of it being maybe the busiest year in a long time, on top of what was a really good year last year.”
And interior designer Haynes Llewellyn, now based in Kingston, writes for Upstater and has clients spanning from the Hudson Valley down to the city and out to the Hamptons. He tells us “I think it’s become an investment, it’s because the prices are reasonable and that you can buy a house, renovate a house and still not spend as much as you’d spend in Manhattan. It’s beginning to have a great appeal.”
There is no single factor driving the activity. Says Haynes, “The perfect storm of real estate occurs when the forces of media, timing, and economy come into play.” According to our conversations, these are some of the determining forces:
– Brooklyn buyers represent an increasingly large group, looking upstate for an ideal escape from the city.
– ‘Creatives’ especially have found value in the well priced properties and embrace the challenge of renovations and creating new spaces. Many move upstate while maintaining strong business ties to the city.
– The 20’s and 30’s demographic more likely identify with a rural and Catskill life as an extension of their desire for authenticity, artisanship and craft. They gravitate toward towns like Phoenicia, Kingston, Red Hook and Beacon.
– The Hamptons have become less appealing, with a tiresome commute, infamous traffic, and an atmosphere of general urban frenzy.
– Gardening, farming, and locavore sensibility are at the heart of the experience, and with recent legislation encouraging small distilleries and breweries, there is officially a scene. Says Haynes, “we’re in the midst of a food revolution, and this region is one of its epicenters.”
Also quite notable is that it’s no longer the rule that buyers are looking for farmhouses and Dutch stone homes. Says Jeff, “We were a destination for many many years for people looking for antique homes because we have a good supply of them. Now, we’re seeing an unprecedented demand for homes that incorporate true Modern design. The supply of these homes hasn’t yet met the demand that we’re seeing from buyers who are specifically and only looking for high quality, modern, new construction.”