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Area home sales fall in first quarter as listings shrink

Area home sales dropped 8.3 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago, the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Inc. reported Thursday. The median sale price was unchanged at $120,000 and the number homes on the market fell sharply.

A total of 1,716 home sales closed in the quarter, down from 1,872 a year ago, reports Genesee Regional Real Estate Information Services Inc., the information subsidiary of GRAR.

New home listings in the region were down 5.8 percent to 4,538, from 4,817, and number of homes for sale fell 9 percent to 4,737 from 5,208 a year ago.

With fewer homes on the market, it is reasonable to expect fewer sales, said GRAR president Andy Burke.

“You can’t sell what isn’t available to begin with,” he said in a statement. “This winter’s Polar Vortex was also a major factor in the decline in our first-quarter numbers. People just did not want to be out looking—or getting their property ready to sell.”

Sales were down in the first quarter in the following counties in the Rochester region:

  • 11.8 percent in Monroe County;
  • 14.3 percent in Genesee County;
  • 13 percent in Livingston County; and
  •  4.3 percent in Ontario County.

Sales climbed in two area counties: rising 3.2 percent in Wayne County and 9.6 percent in Orleans County.

The city of Rochester saw 187 closings during the quarter, down 16.1 percent. The median sales price in the city fell 9.4 percent to $61,500.

Monroe County posted a modest increase in property values so far this year as the median sales price rose 2.4 percent to $124,950, up from $122,000 during the same 2013 period.

The Rochester Home Builders’ Association also released its first-quarter building permit report on Thursday. It showed slower than expected results in new home building permits.

The association reported 130 new home building permits in Monroe County, down from 143 for the quarter in 2013. Seventeen permits were issued in Ontario County, down from 87—there were two townhome projects in that county in the first quarter 2013. Wayne County saw six permits, roughly flat with five a year ago.

“We had an unusually long, cold and harsh winter," said Joseph Sortino of Sortino Properties Inc. and past chairman of the RHBA. "When you have the extreme weather conditions like we had this past year, for safety and economic reasons it just does not make sense to start a new home.”

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.


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