Rockland County sits in a unique location. It’s close to New York City, but separated by the Hudson River. Railroad commuters must stop in Hoboken NJ before transferring to the city and drivers have to brave one of the NJ/NY crossings, which could explain why the suburbs of Rockland are not as popular as those in Westchester. Still, Rockland is truly an under-appreciated county – green, affordable and homey.
Rockland is one of the smallest counties in New York, but it’s still larger than most US cities. The county is home to five towns, each of which contains multiple small and tight-knit villages.
Here you will find some of the largest state parks in New York, including Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain. If you haven’t been to the area, take a trip out to one of these gems. It will surprise you how much greenery there is a step away from NYC.
A few other highlights of Rockland County include:
- Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site: site of a historic battle in the Revolutionary War. While you’re in Stony Point, also visit the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson.
- New City: home to many historic homes, including H. R. Stevens House and Jacob Blauvelt House.
- Camp Shanks Museum: the site of the largest WW2 camp on the east coast. The Camp Shanks Museum is located in Orangetown, which is also home to several historic homes.
- Nyack: rent a boat through the Nyack Boat Charter or walk along the Nyack Beach State Park.
Housing Market Report
Homes are reasonably affordable compared to the NYC metro area. The average home price in Rockland is around $430,000 according to Zillow and $470,000 per Realtor. This is considerably higher than the national average of $217,000, but on a par with New York State. Average prices show a wide variation between villages (for example, Haverstraw’s average home price is $240,000 and Orangetown’s is $565,000), so shop around.
The health of the housing market is about average compared to the rest of the country. Zillow’s estimate for Rockland’s 2019 home appreciation rate is 5.9%, which is lower than the forecast for both the US and the NYC metro area. The effects of the recession are still being felt with nearly 8% of homeowners in the area holding negative equity in their homes and 3% delinquent on their mortgages.
Still, Rockland is a stable market posed to heat up as new developments come online. Brokers in the area are waiting to see whether Rockland will be successful in attracting more workers from NYC. The hope is families will come to love the greenery of the area and stay for the long haul.
Vacant Land Offerings
Rockland County is fairly well-developed and so it’s tricky to find affordable land, but keep an eye peeled on Sloatsburg. This sleepy town is in a beautiful location, right at the edge of Harriman State Park. There are some new subdivisions selling lots at the edge of the park. The prices are affordable, but the lots do not yet have utility service or paved roads and it may be years before the developer plans to install amenities.
As vacant land investors, we see little business in Rockland County, but the beauty of the area lures us out at least twice a month. It’s a wonderful option for homebuyers in the NYC area who want to get a good bang for their buck. No matter whether you’re looking to buy, invest or explore, Rockland County is a gem that is worth getting to know.