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Friday, February 04, 2011

Chautauqua County Housing Sales Up In December

February 4, 2011 - By Dennis Phillips,

The numbers of houses sold in December 2010 in the county increased when compared to November and December 2009.

The state Association of Realtors monthly housing survey indicated that 83 single-family homes were sold in December, which was an increase of seven from November when 76 houses were sold. Also, December saw a yearly increase of eight more homes being purchased in the county when compared to December 2009, when only 75 units were sold.

The increase in houses being purchased in December 2010 followed a productive November when 75 properties were purchased, which was 12 more than in October.

Even with the increases in houses being sold at a ''historically'' affordable time to buy a house with low mortgage rates, numbers usually tend to be down during the winter months, said Jan Murray, county board of realtors executive officer, in December.

''It is a seasonal slow down,'' she said. ''We do expect it to be slow at the beginning of the year, but that is normal.''

Ms. Murray said the county's housing market does have some tourist buyers from people who like winter activities. However, not the same activity realtors see with summer homes.

''We have some buyers, but not as many as in the summer,'' she said. ''We do have winter buyers that like both the winter and summer season.''

Ms. Murray said numbers will probably continue to be down until other economic factors pick up as well, like employment. Even when housing sales are down, Chautauqua County doesn't see drastic changes in the housing market like some other areas of the state, like New York City.

''I've seen that through the 30 years I've been in real estate,'' Ms. Murray said. ''We don't have the highs and we don't have the lows. We just keep plugging along.''

For the year 2010, the federal homebuyer tax credit and low mortgage rates did help bring consumers to the housing market, particularly in the first half of 2010. As a result, 74,718 existing single-family homes were sold in New York state in 2010, a decrease of 4.6 percent from 2009.

''Without the federal homebuyer tax credit, we would undoubtedly be telling a much different story about the Empire State's 2010 housing market,'' said Duncan R. MacKenzie, state Association of Realtors chief executive officer. ''The tax credit, low mortgage rates and large inventory combined to help New York State homebuyers overcome larger concerns about the economy.''

MacKenzie said with little chance of another federal housing credit incentive, the future of the housing market in the state rests with the decisions made by state lawmakers who are addressing a state budget deficit, struggling economy and high property taxes.

''New York's realtors are hopeful and supportive of Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's efforts to cap property tax growth, and efforts to revitalize the state's economy and create jobs will be a significant factor in the future of the housing market,'' he said. ''(State Association of Realtors) joint consumer research project with the Siena Research Institute shows the majority of New Yorkers value homeownership as part of the American dream and that they are optimistic about the housing market going forward in 2011. We believe that for this optimism to be fully realized our leaders in Albany must enact a property tax cap, provide mandate relief and create homebuyer savings programs.''

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