As housing prices in Buffalo increase, there's no need to worry about a bubble

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 19:21:57-04

Housing prices are as high as they've ever been in Western New York, with the average home going for $152,000.

That's about $5,000 more than it was in June 2016, and that number has been on a steady increase for years, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.

Also, there are fewer homes on the market than in years past. This year, the number of houses for sale is down 31% in WNY according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, creating an environment of high demand with low supply.

However, Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors CEO John Leonardi said this isn't a sign of a bubble forming in WNY. In fact, it's a sign of good things to come.

"Housing is starting to catch up with where the rest of the country is," Leonardi said. "The median and the average price continue to rise, but in our market it's a moderate increase."

That moderate increase is opposed to the rapid increase that inflated the U.S. housing market bubble. Because the WNY housing market is rising moderately, it's a controlled growth, and will continue until Buffalo catches up with the rest of the nation.

Mary Certo, a real estate agent with MJ Peterson Real Estate, agreed with this assessment. She said she sees homes going at or above list price fairly regularly, and she has frequently sold homes just days after listing them.

This means families selling homes are taking a lot longer to find a new place to live than they are to sell their old home.

"It's just a conversation we've been having for over a year with our folks," Certo said. "And I think it's probably another two to three years of this market."

In Depew, one family felt that exact effect. Their house was on the market a total of 48 hours before they sold it to one of multiple potential buyers. Within two days the family had multiple offers, but they didn't have a home to move in to.

The family eventually found a place to live and will move in to their new home in September, but it took them three months to buy a new house. That's two days to sell their house, but three months to purchase a new one.

The Webers, the family that bought the house two days after it was listed, took nearly five months to find their new home. And with a two-year-old son and a baby due in August, they were on a time crunch.

"It was kind of difficult because the market is really quick," Stacy Weber, soon-to-be mother of two said. "As soon as you see something, it's gone the next day."

Situations like this are becoming the norm, creating an environment that's ideal for sellers but tough for buyers.

"If you're going to sell your house please put it on the market," Certo said. "You're going to get a record dollar amount for your home... now is the time to sell your house."

Certo reiterated this isn't due to a growing bubble in the WNY housing market; rather, it's an effect of the market catching up with the rest of the nation.