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Low inventory keeps Buffalo Niagara housing market red hot

The Buffalo Niagara housing market is getting even tighter.

Home prices are rising steadily – up 6 percent in May – because more people are looking to buy a home than there are homes for sale. That makes the hunt for a new home harder. Even with the hot housing market making it easier for sellers to get close to their asking price – and homes selling faster than they have at any time since the Great Recession, fewer homes are coming on to the market. That means buyers don’t have as many choices as they search for a house, and it often leads to bidding wars that give sellers the upper hand.

As a result, fewer homes are selling, but that decline is a sign of strength, rather than an indication of weakness.

And there is no sign that’s about to change.

“Prospective home buyers should expect a competitive housing market for the next several months,” the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors said in its latest report.

Here's a breakdown of what's happening in the Buffalo Niagara housing market.

Fewer homes are selling

Home sales plunged again during May, falling by more than 26 percent.

The tight supply of homes for sale made it harder for buyers to find a house. And when buyers did find one, they had to pay more because of the increased competition. That isn’t changing: Pending sales, which are deals that have been signed but haven’t closed, dropped 5 percent.

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Fewer homes are going up for sale

You’d have to go back at least 20 years – and probably many more – to find a May where there were fewer homes up for sale.

The shortage of homes for sale – 2,853 were listed in May, down 12 percent from a year ago – has buyers scrambling. But it isn’t prodding homeowners into putting their homes on the market. New listings fell 6 percent in May.

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How long it takes for an average house to sell

It’s a seller’s market – and that means homes are selling fast.

Homes in May sold after being on the market for an average of 49 days – a day faster than a year ago and almost three weeks faster than in 2015. Sellers are getting more than 97 percent of their most-recent asking price. And the supply of homes for sale is down to just 2.8 months.

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Home prices on the rise

Local home prices still are rising steadily, although the pace has slowed over the last two months.

The median sale price of homes sold in May rose by 6 percent, compared with a year ago. And in a sign of just how hot the local housing market has been, the May increase was the smallest single-month price increase since April 2017.

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