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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

10 Years Post Recession, Sullivan County Real Estate

(Farmhouse #1, Narrowsburg NY)
10 years ago builders and a lot of others were just beginning to see there was no light at the end of the recession tunnel, that the economy hiccup was much more than a simple case of over-leveraged indigestion. A lot of print articles and podcasts are doing fun retrospectives, of which I'm a big fan.
Catskill Farms, simply, had a great recession in the Catskills. One truism became evident - that if you are going to grow a business, if you can find the clients and customers, it's a lot easier during a recession than a building boom. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but a deeper dive exposes the truth of it. It was especially true in the Catskills real estate market.
Recessions lower material and labor prices. Recessions free up high-quality labor. Recessions create slack in the supply chain. Recessions keep your vendors and suppliers fighting to earn and keep your business, since there isn't a new prospect anywhere to be found.
If you are remain busy as the marketplace place slows, you literally get to have your cake and eat it too. Catskill Farms survived - in fact prospered - for 3 reasons. 1, our bank (Jeff Bank) never left us, and 2, we remained close enough to our clients to hear up close and personal their changing preferences, and 3, our clients were AAA rated credit risks, and 4 (I know, I said 3), they lived in NYC, which was perhaps the only city in America that weathered the recession without real estate price declines and job losses. The recession was strong enough that anything but this inadvertently perfect business model failed.
I guess there's even another - this wasn't a primary home marketplace driven by necessity. It was a discretionary market, and with a nod to the disparity of experiences between those with and those with less, the discretionary market for those with discretionary tastes, held up - at least in my little sliver of the ulster and sullivan county real estate experience.
And it really was a little sliver. A little tiny niche we panned for gold.
Some of our homes sold in 2009, where banks were calling employers the day of closing, just to make sure the buyer still had a job - the epitome of reluctant lending, looking for any reason not to lend..

Farm 10 (just finishing up Farm 52), a 1800 sq ft piece of Sullivan County NY real estate, not far from Barryville NY.

Ranch 1, again, not far from Narrowsburg NY and the Upper Delaware River. A 960 sq ft beauty, sold to a single woman and her playwright boyfriend (now her husband).
And who can forget 720 sq ft MicroCottage 4.
Some of best relationships were forged during that time as an up and coming builder, when the region's best framers and roofers and sheetrockers found themselves with openings in their schedules for the first time in a decade, and Catskill Farms weaved their way in, provided work, stay organized and paid our bills which kept the motor turning.

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