Welcome to the Online Open House


Sullivan County

Comprehensive Housing Strategy

Thank you for visiting!

This Online Open House is an opportunity for the public to learn about housing issues that have been identified so far and to provide input on questions of strategy and prioritization that face Sullivan County and its housing market.


Here's how the Open House works


Step 1

Begin by reviewing key findings from the first stages of analysis.


Step 2

The Open House survey was open through early August and is now closed. But if you have comments or feedback, you may still send them by e-mail to SullivanHousingStudy@czb.org.


Step 1 - Review key findings

To date, this project has identified a series of issues—related to both the homeownership and rental markets—that have a significant influence on the Sullivan County housing market and how it functions for current or potential county residents.

HOMEOWNERSHIP

The pandemic pushed single-family home prices higher


The average price of a single-family home in Sullivan County jumped 38% during the pandemic. The average price countywide was $168,300 during the period 2013-2019. During 2020 and 2021, it was $232,300.


The average price in most municipalities in the county ranged from $100,000 to $250,000 during 2013-2019. During the pandemic, the range was $150,000 to $300,000.


Source: Analysis of arms-length, single-family sales data from NYS SalesWeb

Despite these increases, prices remain broadly affordable to the typical Sullivan County household


With an average sale price of $232,300 countywide during 2020-2021, and an average price range of $150,000 to $300,000 in most municipalities, prices in Sullivan County remain well below national levels. Nationally, median prices pushed above $350,000 during 2021.


Current typical prices in Sullivan County are affordable to households that make between $50,000 and $100,000 based on the rule of thumb that a household can afford a home that is priced at 3x the household's annual income.


The median income in the county is $60,400 and the average income is $81,400.


Source: Analysis of arms-length, single-family sales data from NYS SalesWeb and income data from the American Community Survey (2020 5-Year Estimates)

Taxes, energy costs, and long-overdue repairs are factors that stress existing owners and may keep future buyers away


Due to a small tax base, the property tax burden on residential property in Sullivan County tends to be high. This is especially true in the villages of Liberty and Monticello where county, town, village, and school taxes add up to an effective property tax rate of 5% to 6% of a property's assessed value. This means that a home valued at $120,000 in these villages pays upwards of $7,000 per year in property taxes. In most areas of the county outside of these villages, the effective tax rate is closer to 3%, which equates to taxes of around $4,000 each year on a $120,000 house.


On top of taxes, the county’s reliance on fuel oil is becoming more costly, and the eventual costs of transitioning to electric and other alternatives will be expensive.


High levels of deferred maintenance exacerbate energy costs and dampen the appeal of the county’s housing stock.


Source: Analysis of county, municipal, and school tax rates across Sullivan County; energy sources for heating from American Community Survey (2020 5-Year Estimates); windshield survey of exterior housing conditions during April 2022


The housing supply for permanent residents is constrained by seasonal and other users


44% of all housing units (owner-occupied and rental) in Sullivan County are not permanently occupied—a legacy of the county’s history as a vacation spot and a place for second homes.


34% of all units are used seasonally, or for recreational purposes.


7% of all units are chronically vacant and off the market—likely due to poor condition.


Source: American Community Survey (2020 5-Year Estimates)


RENTALS

Rental conditions in the county are poor


Fieldwork during April 2022 found that many existing rental properties in the county, which are concentrated in the villages, suffer from decades of deferred maintenance. Discussions with county residents and those who assist households in finding rentals confirmed this observation.



Rents in the county are relatively low, but there are many renters who are cost burdened


The median gross rent in Sullivan County, which includes utility costs, was $886 in 2020. This was 33% lower than median rents statewide and 19% lower than rents nationwide.


At the same time, there were 1,995 renters in Sullivan County who earned less than $20,000 in 2020 and were cost-burdened—paying more than 30% of their incomes on rent.


Overall, there were 3,630 renters who paid more than they could afford for their housing in 2020, and 82% of those renters earned less than $35,000.


Source: American Community Survey (2020 5-Year Estimates)

There are very few new and appealing rental opportunities for workers that businesses and institutions are trying to attract and retain


Not only are existing rental properties in generally poor condition, but very few rental units have been built in recent years due to soft market conditions, lack of infrastructure, or zoning restrictions.


This, along with challenges in the county’s market of owner-occupied housing, makes it more difficult to attract and keep some segments of the workforce.




Step 2 - Tell us what you think!

The open house's online survey is now closed, but you may still submit feedback by e-mail to SullivanHousingStudy@czb.org.