Residential inventory is rising and home prices are continuing to trend upward in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The data suggests the local residential real estate market is getting more favorable to buyers as moving season arrives in April, but a closer look reveals a murkier truth. Competition remains fierce for starter homes, while those who can afford to buy one of the region’s generous selection of luxury homes are slower than usual to sign on the dotted line.

Nassau reported a $525,000 closed median home price in January, representing a 5 percent increase over last year, while Suffolk reported a closed median price of $380,000, a 5.8 percent increase over what was reported a year ago, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (MLSLI). The total number of Long Island residential inventory in January was 15,270, a 14.4 percent increase over last year, MLSLI said.

The shift follows a national trend.

Half of local business owners believe residential real estate prices will increase this year, down from 66 percent last year, according to the 2019 Long Island Economic Survey and Opinion Poll released by the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island in February. Twenty three percent of respondents believe prices will decrease and 27 percent believe prices will remain the same.

Further complicating things is the impact of the new $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions and Nassau’s property tax reassessment, which has put tax bills in flux for many local homeowners. Forty percent of respondents to the HIA study are concerned that the tax reform will have a negative impact on the value of their home. Fifteen percent said they will either downsize or move out of state as a result.