Feb. 16, 2021

How a Repeal of the SALT Cap Would Help Long Island Homeowners

A new administration in the White House means a new opportunity for New York lawmakers to push for a repeal of the SALT cap. With President Biden sworn in and changes to the makeup of the House and Senate, conversation about the SALT cap has renewed with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Congressman Tom Suozzi, among others. Both Schumer and Suozzi introduced legislation in late January to the newly Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

The SALT cap was enacted in 2017 by former President Trump as part of his tax reform package, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Among other changes, the TCJA placed a limit on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) that a taxpayer could claim. For singles and married couples filing joining, the SALT cap is $10,000. Homeowners in New York pay some of the highest property taxes in the country and many critics of the TCJA argued that it subjects New York residents to double taxation. A repeal of the SALT cap would allow Long Island homeowners to fully deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes. According to WSHU, “the average homeowner would claim $18,300 a year, if the cap was repealed.”

In the wake of the pandemic, supporters of the repeal argue that the benefits of such a move would be even more strongly felt now. They believe it would put more money back in the pockets of the average Long Island homeowner, who may be struggling under the weight of medical bills, job loss, or a decrease in income as a direct result of the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo argues that it would also return more money to the state – to the tune of about $34 million a day in tax revenue.

On the opposite side of the table, those who support keeping the SALT cap in place view this question of repeal primarily as a vehicle to provide a tax cut to the wealthy, not to the poor or working class. They argue that the people most affected by the SALT cap are the top 1% of earners who are also the least likely to have been affected by COVID-19 in the first place as they don’t work essential or frontline jobs.

While we’ll have to wait and see how the newly introduced legislation plays out, with Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, many people think it’s likely the SALT cap will be repealed in the coming months. That means Long Island homeowners may see a cut in their taxes. As a result, we could see increased support of the Long Island economy through purchases made to local businesses and restaurants with that extra cash. From a real estate perspective, more buyers and sellers may decide to enter the market. This is particularly good news if the repeal of the SALT cap encourages sellers to list their homes. During much of 2020, inventory of available homes in the Long Island market was unable to meet buyer demand, leading to high home prices and short market times. Buyer demand for Long Island homes isn’t expected to ease anytime soon so more inventory would be a welcome change.

Wondering how the new administration is already affecting the Long Island housing market? Thinking of making a move later this year? Reach out to us learn more about the current market conditions and how we can help you, whether you’re planning to buy or sell on Long Island.

Jan. 11, 2021

2021 Long Island Real Estate Outlook: What a Biden Presidency Means for Real Estate

With the start of a new year and about ten days to inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden, you may be wondering what 2021 holds for the Long Island real estate market. 2020 was a fantastic year for the housing market, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Low inventory, high buyer demand, and low interest rates contributed to record home prices in our local market. However, with a new administration on the way, let’s look at whether we can expect the good times to last or if 2021 will bring significant change.



Low Interest Rates Will Continue


Presidents don’t set interest rates and so a new administration will not have much effect on the current low rates. According to Bankrate, the Fed “has signaled that it will keep rates low for years, which will translate to little upward pressure on mortgage rates.” That’s good news for prospective home buyers and for the real estate industry as low interest rates helped fuel the home-buying frenzy on Long Island in 2020. While America continues to fight and recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect interest rates to stay low this year.



First-Time Home Buyers Could Receive More Government Assistance


During his campaign, Joe Biden promised to provide more assistance to first-time home buyers. With a Democratic House and Senate, we may seem some of these promises come to fruition in 2021. One notable proposal is the First Down Payment Tax Credit, which could give up to $15,000 to qualified home buyers. This tax credit would be “advanceable” which means “homebuyers receive the tax credit when they make the purchase instead of waiting to receive the assistance when they file taxes the following year.” This would certainly help more prospective buyers move into the market, but it won’t help the already competitive environment we have here on Long Island.



Proposed Higher Taxes for High Income Earners


President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t been shy about sharing his opinion that wealthy Americans should pay their fair share of taxes. Biden has proposed raising the “income tax rate to 39.6% from 37% for people making over $400,000 annually. That sets the top rate back where it was during the Obama administration.” While this won’t affect the majority of Americans, high earners do fuel the luxury housing market and we may see that affect luxury home buyers and sellers here on Long Island.



1031 Exchanges May Go Away


For those who aren’t familiar with it, a 1031 Exchange allows real estate investors to save money when buying and selling investment properties by deferring the payment of capital gains tax. This is also called a “like-kind exchange.” While Biden isn’t the first to propose eliminating 1031 Exchanges, if the measure passes it would have a major effect on the real estate market. A 1031 Exchange can be used with both residential and commercial properties so if investors aren’t able to defer their capital gains taxes, we could see a big shift in investment behavior going forward.



More Pandemic Aid Likely


Finally, one item we’ll likely see in 2021 from the new administration is more COVID-19 relief. With the latest stimulus package only delivering $600 in assistance to qualified Americans, it’s likely the discussion of those $2,000 stimulus checks will be renewed after inauguration day. This proposal, which failed in the Republican-controlled senate, may stand a chance of passing now that Democrats control the house and the senate. We’ll likely also see more assistance for businesses in a new stimulus package proposal. Increased help for individuals and businesses could help keep some people moving forward with buying a home this year.



Thinking of buying a home on Long Island this year? Not sure if it makes sense for you to sell your current home? Let’s talk! We are here to help you with all your decisions surrounding real estate, whether that’s a home purchase or sale. We’ll advise you on what makes sense for your specific situation and then help you achieve it in 2021. Contact us today!

Nov. 9, 2020

Will Raising Taxes in New York Cause the Wealthy to Leave the State?

The question of raising taxes is always a contentious issue, whether it’s talk about raising taxes across the board or just for the wealthy. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting revenues not only for businesses, but also local government, New York legislators have renewed discussions about raising taxes for high earners.


In a state like New York where there is a high concentration of millionaires and billionaires, such proposals don’t exactly fly under the radar. Even Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has come out in opposition of a tax hike on the wealthy, citing concerns that it “would only cause them to flee to lower tax states.”


That’s something we’ve certainly heard before. The main argument in favor of not raising taxes on the wealthy has always been the fear that they will sell their homes and move to other states or even countries with lower taxes. That would be a big deal for New York if it actually happens. A recent article from CNBC found that, “the top 1% of earners pay 40% of New York’s income taxes and 47% of New York City’s income taxes.”


However, as we said above, the idea of the wealthy fleeing high-tax states for greener pastures is not a new one. That means there’s data and studies about what the wealthy actually do when confronted with higher taxes. The most prominent study is encapsulated in a book by Cristobal Young called The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight. In a 2017 article for The Guardian, Young synthesized the central conclusions of his book which involved analyzing the tax returns of “3.7 million top-earning individuals” in the United States. His conclusion? “Only about 2.4% of US-based millionaires change their state of residence in a given year.” Moving from one state to another is actually more common for people who belong to the middle class and below. When millionaires do move, 85% of the time it has “no net tax impact for the movers.” Young also found that, of the 15% who make a move with a favorable tax impact, “almost all of the tax-migration moves are to just one low-tax state: Florida.”


In more recent reporting, The Atlantic published an article just last month on the topic of millionaire tax flight. They found that after the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, which capped state and local tax deductions for high earners, the number of wealthy residents in New York City actually increased. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of people earning more than $5 million and paying taxes in New York City rose from 3,528 filers in 2016 to 4,412 in 2018.


Of course, all this data is pre-pandemic. The coronavirus has injected a level of uncertainty into pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. It’s unprecedented in many ways so we can’t entirely predict how wealthy New Yorkers would react now to an increase in taxes. However, on Long Island we have seen an increase in people relocating from the city since the pandemic begin. So much so that, as we reported earlier this summer, home sales increased year-over-year in almost every price bracket, including luxury real estate. What we haven’t seen as much of is people leaving New York entirely. With most people able to work remote for the foreseeable future, people (including the very wealthy) are still choosing to stay in New York state where income tax for high earners is set at 8.82%. Not the highest in the nation, but still substantial.


Our conclusion? Based on several independent studies and our own anecdotal evidence of recent Long Island real estate market trends, tax rates do not seem to be the biggest determining factor for where wealthy New Yorkers choose to live. The location independence granted by the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the truth of that. Even with the freedom to choose and the means to do so, most wealthy New Yorkers are not leaving the state. Instead, they’re choosing a little more space and a different pace of life for themselves and their families outside the city.


If you’re one of many people thinking of making a move this winter or in spring 2021, we would love to work with you. If you own a home currently that you might want to sell, click here to request a free estimate of your home’s current value. You can also view some of our recent sales to see how we’ve helped many people on Long Island take advantage of the strong seller’s marker. Thinking of buying? Start your search today by learning about Long Island’s best neighborhoods or browse all homes for sale.


Oct. 7, 2020

How Will the 2020 Election Impact Long Island Real Estate?

We now have less than thirty days to go until the next presidential election on November 3rd, 2020. While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this election, one thing that’s not as much of a mystery is what effect the election results will have on the Long Island real estate market. We can’t see the future, but we can use our experience as Realtors in the New York market and data from past elections to make our predictions about what will happen during the next four years in America.


If President Trump Wins a Second Term as President


There’s always uncertainty in an election year and the housing market often reflects that. Historically, many buyers and sellers wait until after the election to make their move which usually means that the election year, or at least the months leading up to the election, are a bit lackluster. Yet President Trump is in office at this moment in time when we’re seeing an explosion of buyers in the Long Island housing market, propelled both by low interest rates and the need to change their current living situation after being cooped up at home for months. If President Trump wins a second term, we’ll likely see a continuation of this status quo.


While it’s difficult to find details of an exact housing plan on President Trump’s campaign website, recent issues that may come to fruition if he wins a second term include ending the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) program which aims to make housing more affordable in wealthier neighborhoods. President Trump’s administration has also discussed privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 2017, President Trump’s administration also passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which means it won’t be on the table to be potentially repealed if he secures a second term. This act, while benefitting some Americans, was not universally loved as some homeowners saw an increase in their tax bill rather than a reduction.


If Joe Biden Becomes the 46th President of the United States


As stated on his campaign website, Joe Biden is committed to “rebuilding the middle class and ensuring that this time everyone comes along.” In his housing plan, Joe Biden puts a clear focus on ending discriminatory practices, solving homelessness, lowering the cost of housing, and providing more paths to homeownership, among other campaign promises. If Joe Biden is elected President and if he is able to lay down laws that move the needle on his vision, then we may see a further increase in prospective homebuyers in the years to come. Homeownership has risen in recent years and Biden’s plan may help keep it on an upward trend. However, the current issue on Long Island and in many other parts of the country is not a lack of willing and ready buyers, but available homes at their price point.


In addition, when a new President is elected we sometimes see a rollback of the previous administration’s work. Though Biden’s plan does not specifically call for the repeal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it may be on the chopping block for his administration. Particularly as funding will be needed for some of the new programs Biden envisions, like the First Down Payment Tax Credit.


What Will Happen Either Way


No matter who gets elected, we will likely see both buyers and sellers pull back a bit from the Long Island housing market in November. If the last election and recent years have shown us anything, there’s likely to be some contention and controversary after November 3rd. Already hesitant buyers and sellers may delay their plans until the dust settles. Once the issues are resolved though, those same buyers and sellers will likely return to the market in force. That means the Long Island real estate market in January 2021 and spring 2021 in general could be particularly active. Especially if interest rates remain low in the new year, which they likely will



Wondering if now is the right time for you to buy or sell a home on Long Island? Already planning to make your move in 2021? We are here to help – reach out to us to get started today!

Sept. 17, 2020

Long Island’s “Second Wave” of Real Estate: Fall 2020

September 22nd marks the official beginning of fall and that means it’s time to prepare for Long Island’s traditional “Second Wave” of real estate. As longtime Realtors on Long Island, we know that the fall always brings a second surge in the real estate market as people come back from summer vacation and realize their current home no longer fits their needs.


This year, thanks to COVID-19, Long Island experienced a crazy summer in real estate. In our last blog, we talked in-depth about the specific factors driving this surge, but it’s safe to say that those same factors are still very much in play this fall.


In New York at least, things have progressed since this spring’s total lockdown. We’ve entered Phase 4, which is the final phase of the reopening plan. However, many people are still leaving New York City and moving out to the suburbs. Long Island, with its close proximity to the city, is the ideal choice for those who desire a bit more space between them and their neighbors. Many of these buyers can afford to snap up luxury homes (those properties listed at $1 million or more) which helped drive a year-over-year increase in luxury home sales on Long Island of 151%!


Not all buyers are relocating from New York City though. Just like every fall, there’s a number of people who’ve realized their current Long Island home just isn’t a good fit as they try to navigate home schooling or distance learning alongside working from home. Thanks to record-low interest rates, people are motivated to make a move now rather than waiting to see what happens with schools and jobs next spring or summer.


Despite the flurry of activity in the Long Island real estate market this summer, we still have very low inventory. This coupled with increased buyer demand means that many homes are receiving multiple offers and selling for a great price! In both Nassau and Suffolk counties, we’ve seen a year-over-year increase in prices for single family homes, condos, and townhomes in most price brackets across the board. Click here to check out the latest market reports for both counties.


If you’re thinking of buying or selling this fall, it’s a great time to make a move. For buyers, you’ll probably lock in a great rate which means you’ll be able to stretch your dollar further to purchase a bit more home. For sellers, you’ll likely be able to sell your home quickly and at the price you want.


No matter what side of the table you’re sitting on, fall 2020 offers tremendous opportunity for Long Island real estate. If you’re looking to take advantage of our current market conditions, reach out to us. We’d be happy to represent you whether you’re selling, buying, or both!

Aug. 13, 2020

Luxury Homes Sales Surge on Long Island

The coronavirus has changed life as we know it. For Long Island real estate though, that’s actually been a good thing. A recent article from Newsday reported that the sale of luxury homes on Long Island (homes listed at $1 million or more) surged last month, up 151% from a year ago!


What’s driving this sudden demand for high-end homes in the midst of a global pandemic? A few reasons – and all of them tied to the effects of the coronavirus.


First, in the wake of New York City’s lockdown earlier this year, many people are fleeing the city for the suburbs. That includes wealthy New Yorkers who are snapping up some of the market’s priciest homes. After the city spent several weeks as the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States, people realized that living in a densely populated city might not be for them. Long Island’s proximity to the city makes it the ideal choice for those who still need or want to be near New York City.


Second, with most US companies moving to remote or virtual work indefinitely, some people are taking advantage of their newfound location freedom to move out of the city. They’re banking on the fact that their jobs might stay totally remote in the future or include greater flexibility to work from home. Even if that’s not the case and these new Long Island residents have to go back to office life in the future, Long Island is an ideal choice for those who need to commute to the city.


Third, low interest rates are incentivizing people to buy. Some Long Island luxury home buyers might have been contemplating making a move to the area for years. With interest rates near historic lows, there’s never been a better time to make that dream a reality. Though taxes on Long Island are a bit higher than in the city, most buyers are going to be able to get more property for their money. Not to mention a change of pace and different lifestyle.


Fourth, with people spending even more time at home, many Long Island residents have realized their home isn’t really working for their needs anymore. Maybe the home is too small for their growing family or the street is too noisy. Maybe they’ve been dreaming of buying a home with a big backyard and a pool for a while now. Whatever their motivation, many people have emerged from the coronavirus lockdown inspired to move up from their current home.


What does this sudden uptick in luxury home purchases mean for the Long Island market going forward? If you’re a seller and thinking of selling your home, now is the time to list! Even if your home doesn’t come with a luxury price tag, Newsday reported that the Long Island housing market saw an increase in the number of sales in all price ranges across the board, except for homes priced at $199,999 or less. We’re also facing low inventory conditions on Long Island, which means there are more buyers than homes available. Again, this is great news if you’re selling because you’ll likely snag a great price for your home.


On the buyer side, while the market is competitive, it’s not impossible. We’ve helped many of our clients secure a new home this summer. Working with the right team that knows how to put a strong offer together is the key to landing the home of your dreams.


Want to know more about how the market is doing in your neighborhood or zip code? Thinking of selling or buying soon? Reach out to us and let’s get started!

July 14, 2020

Summer on Long Island 2020: What to Do This Summer

While summer on Long Island looks a bit different this year, there are still plenty of things you can do to get outside, enjoy the gorgeous summer weather, and make memories with your family safely. We’ve compiled a list of sixteen of our favorite Long Island summer activities that you can still do while New York moves forward with reopening.



Hit the Beach


Beat the heat and spend some time in the sun by planning a trip to one of the many wonderful beaches on Long Island! Kids can swim in the waves, build sandcastles on the beach, and make memories for a lifetime. Arrive early to stake out a spot and consider visiting a less popular beach to ensure you can maintain adequate social distance from other people. Check out this list of the 25 best beaches for families on Long Island.



Go Berry Picking at Lewin Farms


Berry picking is a Long Island tradition! Spend the day exploring the berry fields and picking plump, ripe blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more. We recommend visiting Lewin Farms in Calverton, Long Island’s first pick-your-own farm, but there are many other berry farms open now. You’ll want to call ahead to find out what fruit is in season and to ask about their current COVID-19 guidelines.



Have a Picnic


While you might have had plans for an epic summer vacation this year, you can still enjoy a little change of scenery close to home! Bring a picnic lunch, a blanket, and some sunblock to enjoy a day outside with the family at one of Long Island’s many picturesque neighborhood and state parks. Need some inspiration or want to visit a new-to-you park? Check out this list of the top picnic spots on Long Island.



Sea Kayak at Levy Park


Want to head out on an adventure? Plan a day of sea kayaking! Levy Park in the town of Hempstead is a popular place to kayak. There’s a launch area at the park, which is ideal for those who already have their own kayaks. Tours are also offered with Levy Park Rangers. Learn more about kayaking at Levy Park here.



Take a Trip to Fire Island


No Long Island summer is complete without a trip to Fire Island! One of the most beautiful places on the Atlantic coast, take the ferry over to the island and go sailing, bike riding, beachcombing, hiking, and more.  While the Fire Island Lighthouse is still closed, you can explore the grounds around the lighthouse and visit the gift shop! To plan your visit to Fire Island and see what’s open, click here.



Explore Old Westbury Gardens


With over 200 acres to explore, Old Westbury Gardens is the perfect place to take the family and allow the kids to run off some of their energy. While the Westbury House is still closed for renovation, there’s plenty to see and explore at the site. Both members and general admission will need to buy tickets in advance – click here to learn more.



Enjoy Waterfront Dining Outdoors


Plan a date night or special family outing at a waterfront restaurant with patio seating! Take the night off of cooking and relax with views of the water. It’s the perfect way to end a day spent exploring a new beachside town or to refuel after a hike. 



Visit Montauk


With most overseas or out of state trips cancelled the summer, use your time at home to explore all of Long Island! We recommend driving out to the Hamptons and visiting beautiful Montauk. Spend the day at the beach or explore this historic seaside town. Montauk’s iconic lighthouse tower is temporarily closed, but you can still explore the museum and grounds. Make sure to take a family photo in front of the lighthouse!



Catch a Movie at the Drive-In


With movie theatres closed, drive-in movies are popping up all over Long Island! Many of these pop-up events are staging just a movie or two though some have plans to run a longer series. Watch a movie from the comfort of your own car and spend time with your family this summer doing something different and unique. Click here to find a pop up drive-in theatre location near you.



Book a Staycation


Sometimes the best vacation is one that doesn’t require you to travel. Book a staycation rental in your town or just clear your schedule and vacation at home! Staycations are a great way to give yourself a little R&R while ensuring you’re staying safe and minimizing your risk for COVID-19.



Take a Drive-Thru Farm Tour


Do your kids love animals? Take them to a drive-thru farm tour on Long Island! In response to the pandemic, both Spirit’s Promise and North Shore Horse Rescue have added a unique way for visitors to see their facilities and support these non-profits.  Ticket sales support food and medication for the rescue animals and also go towards the organization’s equine therapy programs. Click here to learn more and buy tickets.



Go Boating on the Great South Bay


Love to sail? Take a boat out on the Great South Bay! With calm waters and panoramic views, it’s the ideal place to enjoy some water recreation and relax under the sun.



Visit the Long Island Aquarium


The Long Island Aquarium is open for summer with new COVID-19 regulations in place. Take the family for an educational day exploring the indoor and outdoor exhibits at the aquarium. While many of the more interactive offerings are on hold due to the virus, you can still book a ride on the Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat. Click here to purchase tickets to the aquarium and see what’s open now.



Go Camping in Your Own Backyard


Want to get the camping experience this summer without leaving home? Pitch a tent in your own backyard or just roll out the sleeping bags to spend the night under the stars. Make s’mores in the oven, play outdoor games, tell scary stories around a backyard fire pit, and make it a night to remember!



Hike or Bike the Long Island Trails


Make sure your family is getting their exercise by planning regular walks, hikes, or bike rides this summer around Long Island! With miles of winding trails, there’s something for every skill level. Discover a new trail by checking out this list of some of Long Island’s best hiking trails.



Take the Kids to a Petting Zoo


Is there anything cuter than kids and farm animals? Luckily, many Long Island petting zoos and farms are open this summer! Make sure to call your local farm to verify their hours and COVID-19 regulations, but planning a day on the farm is sure to be a blast for the whole family. Find a farm near you here.



If all this time at home has left you dreaming of making a move, we’re here to help! Browse the latest homes for sale on Long Island or contact us to get started with the buying or selling process.

June 10, 2020

What Will Be the Effects of the Coronavirus Bailout Packages on Long Island Real Estate?

The coronavirus radically altered the trajectory of 2020 for nearly every business and industry in the United States. Faced with a large-scale shutdown and millions of people out of work (peak numbers show that 42.6 million people or more than a quarter of the labor force filed for unemployment this spring) the government reacted by passing a series of bailout packages and stimulus items. Altogether, more than $3 trillion dollars was promised to help the American people get through the worst months of the crisis.

With states reopening and some people already getting back to work (recent reports indicated 2.5 million jobs were added during the month of May), it’s time to start thinking about what the legacy of the coronavirus bailout packages will be and how it will impact both the economy and the housing market.


Where Did All the Money Go?

Most business sectors and private citizens received some level of benefit from the $3 trillion worth of aid money this spring. Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Disaster Loan program, most businesses that applied received some form of assistance. The Paycheck Protection Program alone put more than $500 billion dollars into the hands of small business owners. According to CNN, another “$500 billion was given to the Federal Reserve so that it could design lending programs for struggling companies.” This $500 billion is aimed at assisting corporations and large industries that were devastated by the shutdown, like airline companies. Most working individuals qualified for and already received their $1,200 stimulus checks in the mail or as direct deposits to their bank accounts. This accounted for almost $270 billion worth of the original $3 trillion. Another $90 billion was used to expand unemployment benefits, of which one in four American workers filed for this spring. Finally, hospitals, state and local governments, farmers, and schools also received portions of the $3 trillion in aid.


What Lasting Impacts Can We Expect for the Housing Market?

While the US housing market remained remarkably resilient in the face of the pandemic, as the real estate industry swiftly adapted to new and changing regulations in order to keep transactions moving, we expect the biggest industry impacts are still to come.

People are going back to work – but how many will get their old jobs back remains to be seen. Some people may be forced to find new employment altogether or take a pay cut as individual industries struggle to recover from the pandemic. In addition, the introduction of $3 trillion dollars into the economy could lead to hyperinflation and rising costs of living across the country. All these concerns could lead to an increase in short sales and foreclosures as homeowners struggle to keep up with their bills and pay their mortgages.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed this spring and as of late May, 4.76 million homeowners were in forbearance programs. The CARES Act offered two key relief options for homeowners:


1) It put foreclosures on pause. That 60-day moratorium began on March 18th, 2020 and ended on May 17th, 2020.


2) It also allowed homeowners to request forbearance for up to 180 days and then additionally granted individuals the right to request an extension for another 180 days beyond that. Forbearance means that a homeowner could essentially pause their mortgage payments for a specific amount of time. However, it does not erase those payments. They must still be repaid, though what that repayment looks like differs from person to person. It’s this later piece that has real estate industry experts most on guard. Homeowners who requested forbearance may have agreed to terms of repayment that will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to meet depending on their employment and economic status at the time those payments come due.


We had predicted earlier this year that the spring 2020 real estate market would be especially busy in Long Island and the coronavirus appears to have only put most people’s buying and selling plans on hold until summer. While we are seeing quite a bit of buyer demand in our Long Island real estate market and new homes coming on the market as restrictions ease, only time will tell how the rest of 2020 and 2021 will bear out. With the memory of the 2008 housing crisis still fresh in people’s minds, it can be disheartening to hear that short sales and foreclosures may be coming back. However, the conditions that led to the 2008 housing crisis are dramatically different than what we are experiencing now. This leads us to conclude that the predicted uptick in distressed sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may not be nearly as bad.


As always, if you have any questions about how the market in your neighborhood or zip code is doing, reach out to us to request a personalized market report. We would also be glad to provide you with a free estimate of your home’s current value.

May 6, 2020

Coronavirus: A New Normal for Buying and Selling Real Estate on Long Island

Nearly six weeks after New York locked down in an effort to control the spread of the novel coronavirus and provide some relief to hospitals, residents of Long Island and New York State have seen the first cautious glimmers that life might be returning to normal or at least a new version of normal.

On April 28th, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his most detailed reopening plan yet. Currently New York has a stay-at-home order in place until May 15th. After that, Governor Cuomo indicated that businesses in upstate New York and industries with lower exposure risks for workers might begin to return to work towards middle to late May.

Governor Cuomo, like most of the leadership around the country, is considering a phased reopening schedule, with more essential jobs that present relatively low risk to workers returning to work ahead of jobs that are less essential and present higher risk of exposure. In particular, manufacturing and construction were highlighted as two sectors that may be returning to work sooner rather than later.

Of course, a return to work is not a return to life as we knew it. With no vaccine available and necessary supplies for treating coronavirus patients running low, social distancing, masks, and limited gatherings are likely to be features of our daily life for the foreseeable future. Precautionary measures are our best defense against an invisible enemy, particularly in more densely populated areas like New York City.

Real estate is currently considered an essential business, though showings and open houses need to be conducted virtually. As we move forward into our new normal, we can expect these restrictions to relax somewhat. Looking at other states as a model for how we might do business in a less controlled environment, here’s what we think buyers and sellers can expect for the months ahead:

Masks and Gloves Will Be Required for All Showings and Inspections

Whether or not masks continue to be mandated in public places, we can expect that most sellers will ask that buyers not tour a home unless they’re wearing a mask and gloves. Similarly, we can expect that individual companies will require their workers to don similar protective gear both to limit their own exposure and to reduce risk for the customer. This would include people like home inspectors, plumbers, contractors, photographers, videographers, home stagers, and more. 

Virtual and Private Tours Will Increase

Even if we get the official nod to begin holding open houses again, we expect that virtual and individual viewings will become much more of the norm in the months ahead. It’s not unreasonable to think that sellers will require interested buyers to view their video walkthrough or 3-D tour before booking an in-person showing to ensure that the only buyers who are coming into the home are the ones that are serious about buying it.

Buyers Will Increasingly Need Pre-Approval Letters to See Homes

Though requiring a buyer to furnish a pre-approval letter before touring a home is much more common in the luxury market, we can imagine that many sellers at all price points will ask for that pre-approval before letting buyers into their properties. This would be done in an effort to reduce foot traffic from casual browsers and those who are not qualified to buy the home.

Increased Sanitation Procedures Will Be Needed

We know that the coronavirus can linger on surfaces for hours or days so we expect that sellers and listing agents will enact new sanitization protocols. Things like spreading out showing appointments to allow time for the home to be cleaned and sanitized in between viewings or before the seller’s family returns to the property. Scheduling staging, photography, inspections and repair work on different days to decrease risk to all parties involved. In addition to the masks and gloves we mentioned above, we can also expect to see agents providing their clients with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes alongside informational sheets about the homes they’re touring.

Social Distancing Will Be Observed in All Facets of the Transaction

Most people have gotten the hang of staying six feet away from each other and we can expect this rule to become the new normal of the real estate world. No more shaking hands, hugging, or touching each other. Limiting the number of people inside a home, room, or office at any given time. Staying away from each other unless completely healthy. We have learned to effectively social distance and we will continue to do so until the threat of the coronavirus is over.

We are all learning a new way to live and conduct business. But the real estate industry is adaptable and we will all adjust to this new normalt if it means we can continue to help people buy and sell homes. Even as the worst of the pandemic raged in New York this spring, the housing market on Long Island kept moving. As life begins to move back to normal, we expect the spring and summer housing market to pick up again. People still need a place to live no matter what.

If you’re thinking of making a move this year, reach out to us. We’ll be happy to share what we at The Pesce Lanzillotta Team are doing to help make our buyers and sellers comfortable during this unprecedented time.   

April 16, 2020

The $2 Trillion Stimulus Package and What it Means for US Real Estate

On March 27th, President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion stimulus package into law. The stimulus package is designed to provide relief for Americans who are struggling under the weight of the countrywide shutdown over concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.


While $2 trillion dollars is a lot of money, it’s important to know where that money is actually going to go, the impact it will have on the average American citizen, and how it will affect US real estate in the months to come.


What’s in the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package?


As of writing, the $2 trillion stimulus package is the largest aid measure in US history. It provides support for American citizens and businesses in a few notable ways:


-90% of Americans Will Receive a Check From the Government:


The most talked about part of the stimulus package is the checks Americans will receive in the coming months from the government. With 90% of Americans eligible to receive these checks, individuals could see up to $1,200 deposited in their bank accounts. Click here to see a full breakdown of the check payments based on income and marital status. 


-Unemployment Benefits and Insurance Have Expanded


With businesses across the US forced to temporarily halt and suspend their operations, many people have suddenly found themselves unemployed. In an effort to aid the millions of workers who suddenly have no income, unemployed workers can now potentially receive up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. The expansions in this area have also allowed groups like freelancers and gig workers to also claim unemployment.


-Small Businesses Are Eligible for New Loan Programs


Another key part of the stimulus package was the creation of new loan programs that small businesses can apply for. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is set to provide businesses with a loan of up to $10,000 that would be fully forgiven so long as the businesses continued to pay their employees and all necessary terms were met. Another new loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) also allows businesses to apply for loans to help keep their employees on payroll. These loans will need to be partially repaid under the terms of the loan. Click here to see a breakdown of these two programs.


-Some Big Companies Will Receive Cash Loans


Along with benefits for small businesses, the stimulus package included cash for industry-specific loans for big businesses. Most notably, airlines and hotels will stand to benefit from these provisions. 


-Increased Aid for Struggling Hospitals


Aid dollars for the beleaguered healthcare system were a critical part of this stimulus package. As news outlets continue to carry reports that hospitals lack the necessary supplies to treat coronavirus patients, like ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), this funding is an important step in winning the fight against the virus.



Who Will Benefit from the Signing of the Stimulus Package?


The $2 trillion stimulus package is comprehensive in its provisions and as stated above, 90% of Americans are expected to qualify for checks from the government. Though with a population of over 300 million American people and nearly 17 million out of work, it may not be enough to take the sting out of the crisis.


How Will the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Affect US Real Estate?


While the recent stimulus package doesn’t include any direct provisions for real estate directly, the fact that so many people will receive aid from the government is a positive. $1,200 per person may not be a huge amount, but for some it could be the difference between making ends meet or not at all.


We don’t know how long the country will continue to be shut down and how many small and large businesses will ultimately go under as a result of this crisis. But this initial support from the government for the average worker and the small business owner could go a long way to ensuring people can keep up with their mortgage payments and those who were looking to buy a home this year can keep moving forward with their plans. We believe that the housing market as a whole, and particularly here on Long Island, was in a great place before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This coupled with the governmental support we’re seeing leads us to conclude that while the housing market may experience an understandable downshift in the months to come, we believe it will bounce back quickly to pre-pandemic levels once the country goes back to work.



Looking for specific information about how the Long Island housing market is doing in your neighborhood? Reach out to us to receive a custom market report, click here to see the latest data for Nassau and Suffolk counties, or request your free online home valuation report here.