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Local home sales hold steady as prices rise 6% Median sale price increases to $92,725 as homes on the market jump by 9%

The region's home sales in February remained steady from a year ago, while the median sale price increased 6 percent, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.

The BNAR reported Wednesday that 788 homes were sold, up 2 units from a year earlier. It was the highest total for any month since last October.

The region's median sale price, which means half the homes sold for less and half sold for more, was $92,725, BNAR said. A year ago, it was $87,245.

The average sale price, which is more likely to be influenced by the sale of exceptionally high- or low-priced homes, was $119,237, up 9 percent from February 2005. The BNAR said 45 homes sold for $300,000 or more, compared to 35 in that price range a year ago.

Prospective home buyers had more homes to choose from in February than they did a year ago. The group said 4,569 homes were on the market, up 9 percent.

"I think we have strong sales," said Miriam Treger, president of BNAR. "We have a nice venue of listings, and the spring market hasn't even started."

And while the inventory has risen, it is not at a "saturation" level that would hurt sales activity, Treger said.

Nationwide, economists and industry observers have debated whether the country is facing a housing market "bubble." But a survey of metro areas nationally indicates home prices in the Buffalo area are unlikely to drop.

PMI Mortgage Insurance's latest quarterly survey said the Buffalo metro area faces only a 5.5 percent risk of its home prices falling in the next two years. San Diego, at the top of the list, was rated a 59 percent risk.

Phil Aquila of M.J. Peterson and Co. described the region's market as in a "holding pattern," based on recent sales activity.

"I don't think we have a real estate bubble in Western New York," he said. "We have a very stable environment for homes."

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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