The Buffalo Niagara housing market stayed sizzling into September.
Home prices kept rising – increasing by almost 7 percent over the past year – reaching the $160,000 level for just the second month ever and $5,000 short of the all-time high set during July.
But the market remains tight, with potential buyers still outnumbering the supply of homes for sale – an imbalance that is pushing up prices and leading to bidding wars for popular homes. Even in this sellers’ market, few homes are coming up for sale.
Still, homes are selling quickly, with the average home staying on the market for just 32 days before it sells. And sellers still have a lot of pricing power. The average home that sold during September went for nearly its full asking price at the time.
“We continue to see pockets of unprecedented price heights, combined with low days on market and an economic backdrop conducive to consistent demand,” the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors said in its report. But the real estate trade group also warned that rising prices and higher mortgage rates, coupled with sluggish wage growth, could put the brakes on sales in the months to come.
• Local home prices keep rising, topping $160,000 for just the second month ever.
The median sale price of homes sold in September rose nearly 7 percent to $160,000. While that was a record high for September and the second highest ever, it still was less than the record $165,000 median sale price during July.
Through September, median sale prices in 2018 are up by more than 8 percent, putting the region on pace for its biggest annual increase in home prices in at least 18 years.
• Home sales continue to trend lower as fewer homes are on the market.
The tight supply of homes for sale made it harder for buyers to find a house, leading to a big drop in sales. September sales were down 25 percent, but that drop is likely to be revised downward next month as more data becomes available. Last month’s report of a 16 percent drop in August sales was revised to just a 2 percent decline.
But the trend remains: Sales through September are down 6 percent, and pending sales last month were off by 6 percent.
• You’d have to go back more than 20 years to find a September where there were fewer homes up for sale.
The shortage of homes for sale – 3,460 were listed in September, down 4 percent from a year ago – has buyers scrambling. But the strong housing market isn’t prompting homeowners to put their houses on the market. New listings were down by almost 1 percent last month and have dropped during 10 of the last 11 months.
• It’s a sellers’ market, and that means homes keep selling fast.
Homes in September sold after being on the market for an average of 32 days – four days faster than a year ago but two full weeks faster than in 2016. Sellers in September got better than 99 percent of their most-recent asking price. The supply of homes for sale is only enough to accommodate 3.4 months of sales at the current pace.