The local real estate market breezed through a humid July, which included 8,200 local auto industry workers idled by the General Motors strike, as home sale volume continued climbing.
The Greater Buffalo Association of Realtors reported 839 single-family homes and condominium units sold in July, a 9 percent increase from a year ago. Sales volume has increased every month this year compared with the same month last year, and total sales through the end of July are 13 percent above 1997.
Some real estate professionals worried the impact of the General Motors strike might drag down market activity.
"I was concerned that the GM strike might have hurt, perhaps it did a little, but certainly not substantially," said Daniel Symoniak, executive vice president of the realtors association. A shrinking inventory and rising demand are beginning to push up residential market values. The median sale price rose by $5,400 from last July, a 6.8 percent jump from $79,500 to $84,900.
Prices in the two-, three-, and four-plus bedroom categories all increased. The median price of a three-bedroom home showed the largest appreciation from $78,500 last year to $85,000.
Three-bedroom home sales dominate the market, with 452 of 839 units sold coming in that category, according to realtors association figures.
The median price of the market's largest homes, with four-plus bedrooms, inched up from $117,000 to $118,000.
Inventory also continued dropping in July. The board recorded 1,686 new listings on the multiple listing system last month, compared with 1,960 during the same month last year.
"I think that's a healthy sign. We've had an oversupply for a couple years," Symoniak said.
The inventory figures do not include some houses on the market through America's Choice, because many of those homes do not go into the multiple listing system.
There were 7,996 homes listed on the multiple listing system at the end of July, compared with 8,705 at the same time last year, according to the realtors association.