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Buffalo Niagara home sales soar in January

Without missing a beat, Western New York’s housing market took off like a cheetah in January, as sales soared and buyers continued signing new deals.

In the first month following a record-setting year, closed sales jumped 23.7 percent to 747, reflecting a build-up of transactions that had been in the pipeline at the end of 2015, according to newly released Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors data. While that’s the lowest level for any month since last March, it’s also the highest tally for the month of January locally since at least 2000, besting the prior record by 11 percent.

At the same time, the deal making continued apace, with pending sales – where a contract is signed but not done – rising 12.3 percent to 777. That’s the second-highest level for January in the last 16 years, just behind 796 in 2007.

While not as cold and snowy as last year, however, the winter did have some effect on homeowners’ desire to put their houses up for sale in January, typically not a time when buyers are out shopping. New listings fell 12.7 percent to 1,032 – the fourth-lowest for the month since at least 2000. That may also reflect a slowdown after the rapid pace of listings last year, although it’s still too early in the year.

As a result, though, the inventory of homes for sale dropped 13.9 percent to 3,996, representing just 3.9 months’ worth of activity. That’s the lowest level of available homes for any month of the year since March 2004.

Prices were mixed, on the other hand. The median price – half were higher, half were lower – rose 1.7 percent to $120,000, the lowest for any month since March 2015. But the average fell 2 percent to $138,829, the lowest for any month since February 2015.

BNAR reports arms-length transactions by its Realtor members in the eight-county area of Western New York, plus a handful of sales in Monroe and Livingston counties.