Competing for second-home buyers
A second big issue here is property taxes. Buyers run for the hills when they see taxes of $12,000 on a house selling for $300,000, a not uncommon occurrence here. Assessments in many towns are way out of line with market value, with newer or renovated second homes often over assessed and longtime primary homes under assessed. Towns need to bite the bullet and do town-wide revaluations to bring things back in line.
We’re also losing on the connectivity front. The county needs a plan to extend wired Internet (cable or DSL) to every house in the county. For most second home buyers, reliable wired high-speed Internet is as crucial as water, and they’ll go where they can get it.
Lastly, our hamlets and villages are assets, and can’t be left to wither. Strategic planning meetings and beautification campaigns only go so far. There needs to be a concerted effort to fill storefronts and help businesses remain viable in hamlets like Livingston Manor and Jeffersonville.
Buyers have choices, and we need to court them. All levels of government, from the county to the town level, need to consider whether decisions like passing property rights resolutions or deferring town-wide reassessments promote or inhibit second-home ownership here. This is a garden that needs to be tended and not ignored.
[David Knudsen lives in Hortonville, NY. He is Associate Broker at the Catskills Buyer Agency in Liberty, NY. You can read his blog at blog.catskill4sale.com/]