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EXISTING HOME SALES OFF 17.9% IN ERIE COUNTY

Existing-home sales throughout Erie County tumbled in September to the lowest total since 1991, Greater Buffalo Association of Realtors' statistics show.

Similarly, single-family home sales, the dominant unit sold countywide, dropped to the lowest September figure in more than seven years.

The monthly GBAR figures show 567 single-family, condominium and cooperative units sold last month, down 124 units, or 17.9 percent, from September 1995's 691 and the lowest sales figure since September 1991's 566.

Single-family units sold totaled 505, off 141 units, or 21.8 percent, from one year ago and 30 homes less than September 1991's 535.

"It was a disappointing month for sales, and certainly I wasn't expecting an 18 percent drop from last September," said Daniel Symoniak, GBAR executive vice president, who added he had no really concrete reason for such a large tumble. While sales fell, so, too, did the number of listings available on the multiple-listing system. Total MLS listings in September were 7,793, down 145 units, or 1.8 percent, from August's 7,938.

Listings continue to slowly drop from a recent peak of 8,049 recorded in June, but were up 895 units, or 13 percent, from September 1995's 6,898.

"Listings continue to follow the normal seasonal pattern," according to Symoniak.

Sales were down, available listings were down, but prices versus one year ago continue to hold steady or climb.

The median price for all units sold in September was $81,000, up $1,000, or 1.2 percent, from $80,000 one year ago, but off $1,000 from August 1996's $82,000.

Three of four sales categories saw median prices increase from one year ago. The biggest jump both in dollars and percentage was in the biggest home size: four-plus bedroom. The median price for four-plus-bedroom units last month was $123,750, up $22,000, or 21.6 percent, from $101,750 one year ago.

Condos/co-ops rose in median price $12,325, or 15.8 percent, to $90,325 from $78,000 one year ago, while three-bedroom units inched up $100, or 0.1 percent, to $80,000 from $79,900 in September 1995.

The median price in the two-bedroom sales category fell $9,150 last month to $54,750 from $63,900 in September 1995.

Symoniak said the overall median sales price was nothing out of the ordinary, but what caught his eye was the large spike in the overall average sales price. From September to September, the average price jumped $6,441, or 7.1 percent, to $97,333 from $90,892.

"When you see a big spike like that in the average sales price, it generally means you had a couple large sales," Symoniak said.

Indeed, three sales in September were recorded in the $500,000 to $749,999 price range, with 15 sales recorded at $250,000 and above.

However, homes priced under $100,000 continue to dominate sales, totaling 378 units, or 66.7 percent of total sales volume in September.

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