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Area ranks third in Dow study of home appreciation increases

A national personal finance magazine has recognized Western New York as one of five top cities where home prices have not only rebounded to prerecession levels but exceeded them, even as prices nationally are still way down.

A Feb. 23 article on Dow Jones & Co.'s ranked Buffalo third among all metropolitan areas nationwide for the highest median price appreciation on home sales since 2008. Buffalo prices are up 13.1 percent in the last three years, to $119,200, according to the article, citing data from National Association of Realtors.

Only Elmira, with 18 percent growth, and the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island region spanning Iowa and Illinois, with 17 percent appreciation, were higher. However, their median prices, at $103,400 and $109,900, respectively, were lower than Buffalo's.

Buffalo beat out Shreveport, La., which came in 4th with 12.8 percent, and Indianapolis, at 11.4 percent. Both had higher median prices, at $156,200 and $123,900, respectively.

All five, the article said, share one thing in common: they are relatively smaller cities that "weren't involved in the housing boom and therefore have avoided much of the housing bust."

Specifically, Buffalo did not experience overbuilding, and foreclosures are well below national levels, while its economic recovery and job growth are outpacing other areas. The article also cited expanding and high-paying medical and manufacturing jobs.

Meanwhile, though, the median home price nationally is still down 15 percent from 2008 to $166,100 -- higher than all five of the top cities.