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Area home sales rose 5% in November However, the median sale price fell 7% from a year ago, to $89,900

Home sales in Buffalo Niagara increased 5 percent in November, while the median and average sale prices declined, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR).

A total of 645 homes were sold during the month, BNAR reported. That was the lowest monthly total of the year, but November is typically slow for home sales.

The median sale price fell 7 percent from a year ago, to $89,900. Median indicates that half the number of homes sold for more than that amount, and half sold for less. Fifty-six percent of the properties sold for $100,000 or less.

The average sale price, which is more likely to be influenced by sales of exceptionally high- and low-priced homes, declined 8 percent from November 2005 to $110,269.

Miriam Treger, BNAR's president, attributed the pickup in sales to more buyers active in the marketplace and falling interest rates.

"I believe the buying power is there," she said.

The number of homes on the market rose 5 percent from a year ago to 5,153. The inventory has increased from the year before each month since May 2004.

The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) quarterly report said Buffalo Niagara in the third quarter had a median sale price of $106,000, up from $102,900 in the same three-month period in 2005. It was among the lowest of all metro areas that reported data.

NAR economist David Lereah forecast that national existing-home sales in 2007 would finish 1 percent below the projected total for 2006, gathering strength toward the end of next year.

Buffalo Niagara appears unlikely to break the full-year sales record of 10,482, set last year, listed by BNAR. It would need 738 home sales this month to match that figure. December is routinely the slowest sales month of the year.

"Traditionally we have a slowdown because people are focusing on family," Treger said.

BNAR said the region has set full-year records each year from 2003 through 2005.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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