Local home sales cooled off in February due to especially frigid weather but are heating up again now that spring has sprung.
February’s closed sales were down 3.2 percent, to 482, year over year, according to data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. Year-to-date sales were down 6.1 percent, to 1,072, compared with last year. Pending sales, those where a deal is signed but not yet completed, increased 0.1 percent to 688.
“The cold weather definitely had an enormous impact because it was so darn cold for such a long time,” said Nan Malysza, a manager with Realty USA in Williamsville. “Sellers were holding back because they didn’t think anybody was going to come out.”
Pricing was down for the month, as well. The median sales price, which means half sold for more and half sold for less, dropped 2.1 percent to $114,000 compared with last February’s $116,500.
“Typically that indicates homes in the lower price range are selling and that’s what brings that number down,” said Peter Scarcello, general manager of Hunt Real Estate Buffalo Niagara.
Year-to-date median pricing was up, however, rising 2.5 percent from $115,000 in 2013 to $117,900.
Homes stayed on the market for an average of 82 days, the same amount of time as in February last year.
Inventory, or the number of homes for sale, was down 15.2 percent to 4.010 units.
New listings were down 14.4 percent to 1,008.
That decreased inventory increased competition for right-priced homes in desirable neighborhoods, realtors said, leading to many “multiple offer situations.” It’s an ongoing trend in the local market that could push home buyers to consider new-home construction.
The housing market typically picks up in March and April but got off to a slower start this year because of exceptionally cold, snowy weather. But things are in full swing now, they said.
February’s slow sales have led to pent-up demand, realtors said, with the pendulum picking up momentum to correct itself.
“The market has exploded. Interest rates are so low right now, buyers are really anxious to buy,” Malysza said.