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Shortage of houses for sale in WNY is a sign of region’s economic revival

Not enough houses for all of the people who want to buy them. It’s a good problem to have, and one that the Buffalo Niagara region once longed for as it watched other parts of the nation experience a superheated housing market.

Well, that housing bubble ended up bursting, leaving countless homeowners in foreclosure or underwater in states like Nevada and Florida. Some are still trying to climb out, as indicated by recent reporting in the New York Times.

The big news – at least, for those of us around here – comes in the form of remarkable data showing an emerging housing shortage for what looks like an influx of buyers.

As News business reporter Jonathan D. Epstein wrote, home prices hit a record high for the month of June. At the same time, the number of homes available for sale plummeted to a record low. It is, happily, one of the “hottest seasons” for the regional housing market in recent memory.

It’s not to say that outsiders are banging down the doors in every neighborhood demanding to make a deal. But for those interested in selling, this appears to be a good time. Sellers are getting multiple offers and cash deals are becoming more common. Indeed, this is a sea change from the days when some houses around here sat for months with no offers. Demand is also up in areas like the Lower West Side and East Side. As home values and, eventually, property taxes, rise, longtime homeowners face the possibility of being priced out of their homes. That’s a problem that will have to be dealt with.

National real estate numbers are trending higher, but something special is happening here thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s determined effort to revive the Western New York economy. People are moving into the area, and they need places to live.

The Buffalo Billion and other state money, incentives and tax credits are all creating jobs. Newcomers are moving in. Young people are coming back, or never leaving. Why would they?

Businesses are locating here. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is pulsating with new wings and buildings, with the University at Buffalo Medical School and Children’s still under construction. The waterfront is amazing. Downtown is pumping, with new apartments and restaurants. South Buffalo’s RiverBend is preparing for SolarCity to move in. It’s all good, and getting better.

It’s all adding up to a housing crunch. It’s about time.

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