Home prices in the Kingston metro area, which for census purposes includes all of Ulster County, rose at one of the highest rates in the country in the last quarter of 2020, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors.
In the second quarter of 2020, Kingston had the highest year-to-year rate increase at 18.3 percent. In the fourth quarter, Kingston’s rate was even higher — 24.2 percent — but other areas outpaced it, including Bridgeport, Conn. (39.0%); Pittsfield, Mass. (32.2 percent); Atlantic City, N. J. (30.0 percent); Naples, Fla. (29.9 percent); Barnstable, Mass. (28.9 percent); Crestview, Fla. (28.6 percent); Boise City, Idaho (27.1 percent); and Binghamton, N.Y. (24.4 percent).
The median sale price of a home in Kingston rose from $252,100 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $313,100 in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“It is worth noting that national destination sites such as Atlantic City, Barnstable, and Naples, along with small towns within driving distance from major cities like Binghamton and Kingston in New York, all saw large price increases, an indication of the strong demand for vacation homes and affordable homes during the ongoing pandemic,” states a press release accompanying the report.
Local reporting bears that out, with a sharp uptick in buyers from New York City descending on the area beginning last spring. The New York Times has been chronicling the migration, with articles like Is the Hudson Valley Turning Into the Hamptons? and A Run on the Catskills, the latter with the subhead: “New Yorkers desperate for more space and fresh air are driving prices up in the mountains north of the city.” The New York Post humorously wrote of those with buyer’s remorse in I fled NYC amid COVID — and it was the worst decision of my life.
The increase in home prices was part of a national trend. The report found single-family existing-home prices rose in all measured metro areas in the fourth quarter. The national median existing single-family home price rose 14.9 percent on a year-over-year basis, to $315,900. All regions experienced double-digit year-over-year price growth. The Northeast led this charge at 20.7 percent, followed by the West at 15.5 percent, the Midwest at 15.1 percent and the South at 14 percent.