Western New York’s housing market set new records for sales and prices last year – a major accomplishment that nevertheless should come as no surprise to the buyers and sellers who lived it every day as they fought aggressively over deals and haggled over rising prices.
For all of last year, the number of completed home sales in the eight-county area soared 15.8 percent from the prior year, hitting 12,478, according to new data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. That's the highest level so far this century, easily blowing away the previous record set in 2007.
The combination of heavy demand and fewer options also led to an uptick in prices. The average sales price for the year was up 0.8 percent to $152,480, while the median was up 1.6 percent to $128,479. Both are new highs for a full year.
The year started off with a new high level for January 2016, leaping 56 percent from a year earlier. The pace continued all year, capped off with 1,051 deals in December – a record high for December going back at least 16 years and the seventh-straight month of more than 1,000 sales.
Pending sales in December dipped by 2.5 percent, to 620, which is still the second-largest number since at least 2000. But the number of transactions that were in process at any point during the year still increased 9.7 percent over the prior year's previous record, coming in at 12,595.
New listings fell 5.1 percent for the year, to 17,224. New listings in December dropped 14 percent to 713.
The total inventory of available homes for sale plunged 32.7 percent, hitting its lowest mark – 3,253 houses – for any month of the year since at least 1999.
BNAR reports "arms-length" transactions involving its Realtor members in the eight-county region, plus a handful of sales in Monroe and Livingston counties.