December 6, 2021

County housing market flourishes

Cortland County Seal

For the last several months, the typical house for sale in Cortland County was on the market for one to three days before selling, a shift that’s left salespeople working harder than ever and buyers scrambling, a real estate agent said Tuesday.

Real estate agents across the county are experiencing a lack of inventory, making it difficult for buyers to find homes, said Jason Hage, associate broker for Hage Real Estate in Cortland.

“With the lack of inventory, it seems like we have more buyers than normal, but I don’t know if that’s the case — we usually have enough houses to sell,” Hage said. “In the first day or two, we’re doing six to 13 showings, getting a few offers and most of the time, the offers that are being accepted are above ask.”

An April housing report shows a 2.8% drop in new listings to 35 and a 36.9% decrease in days on the market to 41, reports the Cortland County Board of Realtors. The median sales price for a home in Cortland County increased 25.5% to $134,250.

Cortland County started to see a surge in sales around May 2020, said Jamie Yaman, associate broker for Yaman Real Estate. The market, which was already low on inventory from previous years, took off.

“This time last year, it started to really turn around and became what we started to see in 2020, which turned out to be a record-breaking year,” Yaman said. “I don’t see that really slowing down any time in the near future.”

Data since 2018 show a steady decrease of both active and available listings and a steady increase of median sales prices, reports Tracy Koenig, president of the Cortland County Board of Realtors and real estate agent with Yaman Real Estate.

Between April 2018 and now, active listings dropped from 106 to 61 while new listings dropped from 48 to 42, the data show.

“There’s not enough houses on the market compared to usual,” Hage said. “There are a couple of factors — more people are more apt to stay put throughout the pandemic rather than sell their house and the baby boomer generation would rather stay put as well.”

But Yaman thinks buyers from other markets — like Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton — are being pushed out of their markets because of lack of housing, he said. They’re looking at surrounding markets, like Cortland County.

“They’re under the impression that here might be easier to find a house, which is often not the case,” Yaman said. “This started before the pandemic but it’s more so now.”

“For sellers, if you’re wearing the seller’s agent hat, it’s wonderful,” Hage said. “But it’s very stressful for buyers and seems like we are working three to four times as hard — we have empathy for our buyers and when you see them in tears, it gets kind of stressful because this is the fourth house they’ve lost.”