What's next for the Buffalo and Niagara Falls housing market?

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-13 08:14:24-05

The quick-moving Buffalo-Niagara housing market may start to slow down.  September 2018 projections from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors indicate sales may start declining because of rising prices and interest rates, and the fact that many people are delaying buying a home.

Slowing down, however, doesn't mean things will be slow.

"We're just getting back to normal," explained Real Estate Agent John Heffron, who works for Gurney, Becker & Bourne.  

Back to normal, Heffron says, following the past few years.  In Western New York, houses were moving quickly, and buyers often found themselves in bidding wars.

"It was pretty nuts for awhile," said Heffron.  "You're signing contracts on the hood of the car, bringing contracts with you."

Because things were so competitive, many buyers wrote letters to the sellers, telling them why they wanted the home.  Real Estate Agents refer to them as "love letters," and because some buyers were getting desperate, some were getting very detailed.

"It was getting a little out of control, there's no doubt about it," explained Heffron.  "We're looking at wedding photos.  We're looking at pictures of the couple with their dog."

These days, however, a lot of agents are discouraging their clients from writing or reading those letters.  Depending on what's written in them, they could potentially open the seller up to legal trouble.  There are several categories of protected classes in the United States, including race, religion, national origin, color, sex, disability and familial status.  If a seller chose one buyer over another for any of those reasons, they could open themselves to potential lawsuits.

To have an advantage in the Buffalo housing market, Heffron suggests being fully prepared when you start your housing hunt.  He says you should be pre-approved for a mortgage, and know what you want.  There's no point in looking at houses that don't interested you, so he suggests knowing the price point, type of home, and neighborhood you're interested in.  Another advantage is maintaining flexibility.  If you can be flexible with a closing date, or whether or not appliances come with the property, sellers might be more interested in your offer.

While the monthly indicators did suggest declining sales, the report did point out that residential real estate should continue in a mostly positive line for the rest of the year.  If you'd like to see housing statistics for the past few years, click here.

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