Median prices see little impact

ALBANY — Fewer sales in February had a mixed bag of impacts at the state and local level, according to a new report released Monday by the New York State Association of REALTORS.

The median sales price in New York State continued to rise in February, increasing 9.8 percent from this time last year. The $280,000 median sales price last month is the highest for a month since January 2007 when the median sales price stood at $290,000.

Though pending sales decreased 1.5-percent to 8,915 units compared to the same time last year, they are up 1.3 percent year-to-date to 17,460. Closed sales were down 9 percent to 7,080 from February of 2018.

Looking forward, there are encouraging signs for home owners. According to Freddie Mac, the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped for the third consecutive month to 4.37 percent. This is the lowest rate since February 2018 when it was 4.33 percent.

New listings were down 4.1 percent to 13,562 while inventory grew 0.7 percent to 60,966 units.

In Steuben County however, sales and home prices were both down, following the slow start to 2019.

A total of 51 homes sold in February, as opposed to 54 in the previous year, and median sales prices dipped from $117,000 to $99,000 — a difference of 14.6 percent.

In February, fewer new listings also hit the market. Combined with the slightly lower sales (off 5.6 percent), housing stock for Steuben County remained near historic lows, with just 4.6 months supply remaining.

In Allegany County, February welcomed a glut of new listings, rising 63.6 percent from last February, but seeing far fewer sales, which dropped 38.5 percent. However, having more houses on the market and fewer closed sales had little impact on prices paid for the homes that did sell. The median home price in Allegany County rose 2.6 percent, or $1,900.

As a result of the number of new homes on the market and those that have yet to sell, the number of homes for sale in Allegany County rose 14.5 percent, from 165 to 189, and the housing supply increased a dramatic 30 percent to 6.5 months.

Livingston County's real estate picture was also a unique one. New listings and closed sales fell off some, down 19.6 percent and 13.3 percent over last year's numbers respectively. However, it wasn't reflected in rising prices. The median home price in Livingston County reached $131,950, an increase of more than 10 percent.

The number of homes for sale decreased slightly, as did the months supply.

February's weaker sales were followed by a January report that painted the 2019 real estate market as "optimistic," with stronger numbers than January 2018. REALTORS will now look forward to the spring season, when home buying normally spikes for indications regarding the strength of the 2019 market.