Catskills Town Leads U.S. in Rising Home Prices With NYC Exodus

A picturesque Hudson Valley town north of New York City has the fastest rising home prices in the U.S.

The typical home in Kingston, New York, now on the receiving end of the exodus from the densely packed city, sold for $276,000 in the second quarter, an 18% jump from a year earlier.

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That was the biggest increase among 181 U.S. metropolitan areas measured by the National Association of Realtors, according to a report Wednesday.

“Every single deal I have is someone from Brooklyn or Manhattan,” said Amy Crossfield, a Kingston agent and former Brooklynite. “You have bidding wars, cash offers and people rushing to put in an offer the day something comes on the market.”

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Kingston is nestled between the Catskill Mountains to the west and the Hudson River to the east, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) from New York. It has long drawn urbanites looking for a weekend getaway, with its book stores, coffee shops and boutiques. But the arrivals from New York, who are fueling booms in suburbs across the tri-state area, shifted the market into overdrive, Crossfield said.

Crossfield’s clients include two New York professors who are teaching remotely, and the owners of a design firm who don’t need to be in the office.

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One couple, looking for a weekend place with a backyard, lost in two bidding wars. After one of the offers, $11,000 above asking, they were fourth in line. They finally got a home that others missed because it was badly photographed in the listing, Crossifield said.

“I don’t ever think it has been this crazy,” she said.

Overall, U.S. home prices rose 4.2% in the second quarter, down from the 7.7% pace in the first quarter, according to the report.

The coronavirus lockdowns that started in March caused buyers to pause for a couple months. By May, with borrowing costs near record lows, they came flooding back.

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