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Home prices hitting record highs again

Home sales in Western New York set record-high prices in October, as demand for houses continues to outpace the supply.

The average price for a home sold in the Buffalo Niagara area rose 5.4 percent last month to $170,454 compared to October 2016, according to new data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. That's the highest on record for the month since at least 2000 – when the average was consistently less than $100,000.

Similarly, the median price – half sold for more and half for less – rose 9 percent from a year ago to $145,000, also the highest on record for October since at least 1999, when the median was routinely under $90,000.

And both the average and median were only slightly under the all-time record highs for any month, set in September, when the median was $150,064 and the average was $180,933.

The rising prices came despite a drop in closed transactions last month. Completed deals fell 13.8 percent from last year to 1,064, down from the summer's height, but still a strong pace and the fourth-highest amount for October in the last 17 years.

However, some of the drop may also be attributable to a change in reporting by BNAR, which now issues its data 10 days after the month's end instead of 40 days.

And pending sales – where a contract is signed, but the deal hasn't closed – fell 2 percent from a year ago to 946. That's the first time since February that the tally fell under 1,000, but it's only slightly below the high marks for October in each of the last two years.

But those drops are less reflective of buyer interest and demand – which real estate agents say is heavy – than their ability to find a home and win bidding wars. New listings rose 2 percent to 1,257 last month, but the inventory of available homes on the market dropped 14 percent again to 3,261. That's still well below normal levels. The association noted there are only enough homes to satisfy demand for the next 3.2 months at the current pace of sales, without additions to the market.

BNAR reports transactions by its member Realtors in the eight-county area, plus a handful of sales in Monroe and Livingston counties.

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