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Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

October 29, 2022

The Ground is shifting under our feet

It's an interesting time to be a veteran of Hudson Valley real estate and building, since the ground and terrain is shifting as I wake and write. I peruse the real estate listings that 'expire' each day, meaning a sale hasn't been completed by the time the contract ends with the realtor, and maybe more importantly, that the seller hasn't relisted or renewed the listing, typically marking some sort of pause and difficult soul searching from the seller as they contemplate the next move as interest and taxes accrue, and maybe worse, cash flow tied up so nothing more can be done on the next project, which means a loss of momentum, a scattering of relationships, and just a more difficult path forward for the next project. I know from experience how painful that can be and see quite a few new $1m+ houses languishing - because if the homes are finished, even if you get a deal going it's 3 or 4 months before the sale closes.

I like my vantage - we have a half dozen homes under contract which is great, but we also have a fully completed home for sale which is always something I want (as a sort of model home) until I actually have it, because even if you don't have a lot of debt borrowed against it, it still dings your confidence, even if that ding is unwarranted or premature. It's just the price of being careful - someone who doesn't feel it either is using someone else's money or is unrealistically too sure of themselves. Even though we have a pretty big ship at this point, I can still rev or brake the engine based on my observations and instincts and intuition. The data and interpretations of that data are flooding in daily. Average sales prices, days on markets, price decreases, etc... "Sold" updates don't tell you much right now since anything selling today was put into contract 3 or 4 months ago, a lifetime ago in this environment.

Screened porches are fun.

I think a lot of the realtors who have entered the game in the last few years might be a bit surprised at how gnarly the Catskill's real estate market can be - stingy, slow, temperamental and petulant. The days of slapping a price on it and fielding multiple offers is probably over for now, and those realtors who developed a reputation for the Midas Touch might be revealed to rather be well-timed surfers in a wave that floated a lot of boats. I get the feeling that those who will best weather what is brewing is those who took some winnings off the table rather than ramping up lifestyles to match temporary incomes. While I believe the long term trend of the Hudson Valley is strong as long as hybrid work remains a thing- which I am confident it will - doesn't mean the gravy days might entail a less nutrient and filling gravy.

My QB son broke his elbow which inserted us into the medical arena, where I don't go too often, being fortunate to be healthy and having the good fortune of having relations and family who haven't suffered from unexpected accidents or illness. My mind always wonders what people do who don't have the resources - be financial, time or referrals. I guess just go into debt, or get shitty care - turning bad luck happenstance into a permanent setback.

I had a lot of plans today, but woke up tired of being busy and cancelled them. I spend too much time in my car, so decided to spend the day at home watching Penn State duel Ohio State, type out this blog, read a good newspaper cover to cover and ponder our next moves as a business, where chaos and distress just might be our friends.

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