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Another healthy year for Long Island real estate.

The Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc. announced that 1998 proved to be another record year for Long Island home sales. Supply and demand have been the key factors in the significant increases in the number of sales, and the prices resulting from them.

Over the course of 1998, MLS Realtors saw prices increase an average of more than 9 percent across Long Island. The most significant growth was noted in Nassau County, where the annual average sales price for 1998 outpaced its predecessor by 10.18 percent. Queens ranked second in growth, showing a 9.35 percent increase in the average sales price for the year. Suffolk came in with a not-so-shabby 7.47 percent increase.

"Supplies are down and the demand seems to continue to grow. Simple economics explain the success of the 1998 real estate market," said Joseph E. Mottola, chief executive officer for the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, and its parent trade association, the Long Island Board of Realtors. "We enjoyed another year of unprecedented consumer confidence factors. The high taxes that led the list of reasons to leave Long Island have seen some relief from the New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR). High-paying jobs are plentiful here on Long Island. People feel confident about the economy and their current and future finances. Couple these factors with almost zero inflation; the availability of mortgage money at the interest rates that haven't been seen since many of our parents bought in the 1950's paid; and you've got all of the makings of a boom market."

Many of the same trends noted in 1996 and 1997 continued through 1998. Strong trends in decreasing inventory have made finding the house of your dreams difficult. "The biggest problem voiced by our members today is lack of inventory," remarked MLS President Carlos Cruz. "Anytime something reasonable priced in decent condition comes on the market, it is swallowed up right away. In many areas, multiple bids are received the same day a home comes onto the market, some for even more than the original asking price."

The 1990's showed significant drops in average inventory levels. In Nassau County, the number of homes listed at any given period plummeted from 1990 to 1998 by more than 43 percent. Homes on the market decreased by 37 percent, and Queens' owners listed 17 percent less homes for sale. Statistics show the numbers of closed sales have nearly doubled and, with almost half as many homes for sale, defining the climate

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Feb 24, 1999
Words:425
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