2006 NY Real Estate Market Status
Home buyers and sellers have been staring at one another since the fall, waiting to see who will blink first. Buyers are hoping prices will come down, and sellers are still thinking would-be buyers will pay up.

Residential inventory has climbed 67 percent on Long Island and a stunning 82 percent in Queens from February 2004 to February 2005, according to data released yesterday by the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. What's more, the number of home sales is down slightly compared with a year ago.

Prices, however, are still rising. Suffolk County's median price stood at $395,000 last month, a 6.8 percent gain over last February. In Nassau County, the median price reached $500,000 -- its previous high and a 13.7 percent increase from February 2004. Queens saw the biggest gain -- a 20.5 percent increase to $470,000.  "The houses that are priced properly are selling.

Perhaps the biggest unknown: mortgage rates. Despite continuing gains in short-term interest rates, the long-term rates have barely followed suit, remaining in the 6 percent range. That's keeping the market going, because buyers are willing to pay higher home prices if their rates remain low.