Home sales in November shot up in Western New York, continuing an active local market that started earlier in the fall, but pending sales and prices softened as winter approached.
The number of completed deals rose 8.9 percent to 860 from 790 in November 2012 – the highest for that month since 2009, according to new figures from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.
For the year to date, closed sales were up 10.4 percent to 9,664, the highest in at least two years.
However, those deals were signed as long as two months earlier, when sales activity was still high at the tail end of the summer season. By contrast, the winter months are often the slowest of the year, starting in November.
Pending deals – those that have recently been signed but not completed – fell 1.9 percent to 616 in November 2013. For the first 11 months of the year, pending sales were up 6.6 percent to 10,001.
For the first time in months, prices fell. The average sales price for November dropped 7.4 percent to $142,279 from a high of $153,683. The median price – which means half sold for more and half for less – fell 4 percent to $120,000.
Both were the lowest for any month since last April, but they match or exceed the highest point reached for all of 2009.
The declines were not enough to counter the increases all year. For the year to date, the average price rose 2.9 percent to $148,186, while the median rose 3.2 percent to $124,900.
National housing research and technology firm CoreLogic reported a different trend, however. According to the Irvine, Calif.-based firm, home prices nationally rose 5.1 percent in November, including the effect of “distressed” sales, such as short-sales or foreclosures. Not including distressed sales, prices rose 6.3 percent.
November and December are typically the slowest months for homeowners to list their houses for sale, as most people are focused on the holidays. However, growing consumer confidence because of an improving economy and the publicity surrounding the strong housing market prompted more people to put their houses on the market compared with a year earlier.
New listings in the region rose 5.3 percent from November 2012 to 955 – flat with two years ago – and were up for the year to date by 3.7 percent, to 16,311.
Homes spent 63 days on the market, down 11.3 percent from a year earlier. Aside from the last four months when sales were even faster, it’s the second-lowest duration on the market since 2011.
With completed sales rising by a faster rate for the month than new listings, the total inventory of homes for sale still fell 12.4 percent to 4,837.