Home sales soared in Western New York in August and prices rose solidly, as the warm, sunny and dry weather brought out prospective buyers, all competing for a shrinking supply of available homes.
According to new data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, 1,079 homes changed hands in August, up 13 percent from 954 in August 2011, and up a whopping 56 percent from 692 in 2010. That’s the highest tally for any month in two years and maintained a strong growth trend all year, as closed sales since January rose 9 percent to 6,137 from 5,623 in the same eight-month period in 2011.
The future looks bright as well. Pending sales – where a contract’s been signed but not sealed – rose 10 percent in August to 946 from 861, and were up 17 percent from 812 in 2010. So far this year, pending sales are up 13 percent to 7,237 from 6,432 in the same period a year ago.
BNAR, whose report lags both state and national figures for August, reports only sales handled by its members in the eight counties of Western New York, plus a handful of sales in Monroe and Livingston counties.
“We continue to monitor key improvements in the local housing market with a keener eye,” BNAR said in its report. “With two-thirds of 2012 complete, we’re starting to get a sense for how the year will shake out.”
But the inventory is drying up in some parts of the market. New listings fell 9 percent in August to 1,525 from 1,679 a year ago. That’s the lowest for any month since February, and is even lower than August 2010. Meanwhile, sellers put 2 percent fewer homes on the market in the first eight months of this year than last year, with 12,279 compared with 12,536 in 2011.
As a result, the total number of homes for sale in August fell 16 percent from a year ago to 5,871 from 7,007, The current tally would handle 7.2 months of demand, down 25 percent from 9.65 months in August 2011.
That led to multiple offers on some houses and drove prices up. The median sale price rose 7 percent to $128,750 from $120,000 in August 2011 and August 2010, representing the highest level in at least two years. The average sale price, meanwhile, rose 8 percent to $150,663 from $138,939 a year ago, and was still up 3.6 percent from $145,472 in 2010.
Sellers received 95.8 percent of their asking price in August, up from 94.8 percent a year ago and the highest for any month in at least two years. And homes spent 61 days on the market, down 15 percent from 72 days a year ago – the lowest duration of time for any month in more than two years, and a far cry from 98 days just six months ago.
“There’s reason for optimism going into the last third of 2012 and even into 2013, and housing is actually playing a large role in that positive outlook,” BNAR said.