By Sharon Turano email@example.com
POSTED: March 17, 2009
Area realtors are holding on to hope for the spring and summer home-buying seasons, despite drops in figures for the number of area home sales compared to last year.
Rick McMahon, president of the local board of realtors, said the New York State Association of Realtors' figures sent to him recently report that in January 2008, the median sales price for a Chautauqua County home was $68,700 when 48 homes were sold in the county.
In January 2009, he said, the median sales price was $63,650, when 35 homes were sold.
McMahon said ''a little weight'' could be placed on the economy for the decreases, but, he attributed sales drops more to ''the seasonal situation.''
''It's been an ungodly brutal winter,'' McMahon said, adding people don't want to go out and look at homes when it's 17 degrees outside. Despite that, he said, there has been ''an uptic in phone calls'' recently for both residences and those wanting to look at purchasing homes along the lake.
It is a good time to buy, he said.
''It's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,'' said McMahon about a federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers that has been made available by the federal government. McMahon said interest rates are hovering at about 5 percent and programs are available to subsidize closing costs.
''There's never been that kind of convergence before,'' he said about all of the factors coming together at once to make it a good time to buy a home.
''It's definitely gone down,'' said Chautauqua County Clerk Sandra Sopak about the number of deeds recorded in her office. She said there is usually a downturn during winter months when people don't want to move or pull children out of one district midway through the school year to start in another school when they could wait to buy a home in a new location during the summer months.
''People classically ... sit tight through the winter here,'' said Mrs. Sopak, adding that ''stands to reason.''
Despite that, however, she said, there has been a 20 percent decrease in deeds filed, in addition to what is usually seen in winter. She attributes that to different factors, including the economy, people losing jobs, a new U.S. president leading to people's uncertainty about the future.
She said in January and February 2008, her office recorded 563 deeds for property transfers. Although there was an increase for the same time period in 2009, when 593 deeds were recorded, she attributed 146 deed transfers to the county tax sale held in September for the first time in four years. She said that although the sale was held in September, paperwork was not fully completed until the January, February time frame. Therefore, she said, if one subtracts the146 tax sale deeds, the 20 percent decline of 447 properties sold for January, February 2009 would be accurate.
''We're not at a down right now,'' said Tony Parinella, office manager at Coldwell Banker Phil Mathyer Real Estate. He said the local real estate market never made huge amounts of money, so it has not seen declines evidenced in other areas, where homes sold for huge amounts and recently took a nose-dive due to people not being able to afford purchasing the higher-priced homes.
''We've been fairly busy,'' he said, adding other states are feeling the hardship more. Parinella said the area real estate market is steady and stable in Chautauqua County.
Existing single-family home sales in 2008 across New York State fell by 16.2 percent compared to 2007 due to tighter mortgage availability, a shrinking economy and a decline in consumer confidence, according to preliminary single-family sales data accumulated by the New York State Association of Realtors', their Web site states. The statewide median sales price also finished the year down 8.5 percent compared to 2007, reports the Web site.
For more information on Chautauqua Lake Real Estate & Living visit: www.chautauqualakehomes.com