April 23, 2013


Housing prices up as supply decreases

Median sale price in county increases 18 percent over year

HousingBob Ellis/staff photographer
A for sale sign on West Main Street in Cortland.

Staff Reporter

Homes sold at a higher price in Cortland County, but fewer were sold and fewer homes were put on the market as real estate agents reported a strong first quarter for sales across the state.
Median sale prices for homes in Cortland County increased 18.3 percent from $90,000 in March 2012 to $106,500 in March 2013, according to the New York State Association of Realtors data released Monday.
But the number of closed sales fell by nearly half, dropping from 21 in March 2012 to 12 in March 23, a 42.9 percent decrease.
That could be due to the weather, said Jaime Yaman, manager and associate broker of Yaman Real Estate on 185 Clinton Ave.
Home sales that close in March start the 60-day process in January, and this winter was harsher than last winter, which kept more buyers and sellers out of the market, Yaman said.
For the first quarter, the median sale price statewide increased from $210,000 a year ago to $218,000, a rise of 3.8 percent.
“Most of it has to do with low inventory,” said Yaman, noting that buyer confidence has also improved.
“It’s simple economics at work in the statewide housing market,” Duncan R. MacKenzie, CEO of the association, said in a news release. “As buyer demand increased and the housing supply decreased in the 2013 first quarter, the result was a nearly 4 percent growth in the statewide median sales price compared to the 2012 first quarter.”
The number of homes for sale statewide dropped 20.4 percent over the year to 77,340 in March from 97,111 in March 2012.
In the county, 11.5 percent fewer homes were for sale, declining to 246 homes in March from 278 in March 2012.
New listings were also down in Cortland County, falling 31.3 percent over the year to 44 from 64 in March 2012.
New listings also dropped statewide, falling 14.8 percent to 17,683 in March from 20,765 in March 2012.
Comparing the years’ first quarters, listings waned 11.2 percent to 47,921 in 2013 from 53,973 in 2012.
“It’s a pretty good market right now,” said Lori O’Donnell, an agent with Yaman Real Estate, when asked if the low inventory and higher prices was a sign of a housing market recovery.
“And Cortland County is in a bubble compared to the rest of the nation,” said O’Donnell, a member of the association. “We’ve been able to remain somewhat stable.”
Sellers across the state received more of their asking price in March than March 2012, according to the data.
Sellers received 94.3 percent of a homes list price on average, up 0.5 percent.
In the first quarter of 2013, 94.2 percent of a home’s list price was received through a sale on average, up 0.6 percent from 93.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
“That means that the market is good,” said Amy Cobb, an associate broker with Hage Real Estate on 4070 West Road, adding that it is a sign that buyers and sellers are willing to come to terms.
“I think instead of a sellers’ market or buyers’ market, it shows stability in our market,” Cobb said.
The number of days a home spends on the market before purchase slipped one day statewide, or 0.7 percent, since March 2012 to 134 in March 2013.
Time on the market decreased three days, or 2.2 percent, to 131 days from the first quarter in 2012 to 2013’s first quarter.
“I think that because there’s a lower inventory, they’re moving faster if they’re priced well,” said Yaman, adding that better buyer confidence also helps.
But the market won’t sustain a seller who simply floats out a high price and expects it to be paid, he warned.
The housing affordability index, which measures the buyers purchasing power based on median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate, increased 1.9 percent statewide in 2013’s first quarter to 161 from158 in 2012’s first quarter.
At an index of 100, a median-income household has exactly enough income to buy a median-priced existing single-family home, with a 20 percent down payment and 25 percent of gross income going to a mortgage payments, according to a January news release. Indexes higher than 100 indicate greater purchasing power.
From March 2012 to March 2013 the index remained at 159.


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