Thanks to available tax credit programs, real estate professionals had a strong finish in 2009.
Statewide sales of existing single-family homes in the state rebounded from a double-digit deficit in the first half of the year to finish only 3.2-percent behind 2008 total. According to preliminary existing single-family sales data accumulated by the New York State Association of Realtors, 77,176 homes were sold statewide during 2009.
''As 2009 progressed, the combination of the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit, historically low mortgage rates and moderating prices resulted in New Yorkers gaining confidence about it being a good time to buy a home in the Empire State,'' said Duncan R. MacKenzie, New York State Association of Realtors chief executive officer. ''In the first half of 2009, many would be buyers remained on the sidelines due to reports of the so-called 'national' housing market collapse and the overreaching economic uncertainty. Once New Yorkers came to understand that all housing markets are local and that their local market could not be painted with the same brush as severely depressed markets in other locales, there was a renewed interest in homeownership across our state.''
Lory Anderson, Chautauqua County Board of Realtors president, said as much as the federal homebuyer tax credit and the state's Tax Credit Advance Loan program, confidence was a key part in the rejuvenation of the housing market.
''Now there isn't as big of a fear as last year at this time,'' she said. ''There has been a change in attitude as far as optimism. Buyers out there waited on the economy last year at this time. Throughout the year they stopped worrying and things started to move better. The big fright factor has passed.''
In December, the housing market in the county improved by around 8 percent as 71 homes were sold compared to 66 in December 2008. Statewide, fourth quarter sales nearly increased 21 percent when compared to the last quarter of 2008. With the tax credit program being extended through April, real estate professionals expect housing numbers to stay positive in 2010.
''With the extension and expansion of the tax credit, we expect the housing market to build on the current recovery into 2010, especially during the early spring as buyers try to meet the April 30 purchase contract deadline to qualify for the federal tax credit,'' MacKenzie said.
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