Thursday, April 19, 2018

Shortage of Homes for Sale Plague Erie and Niagara County

Conditions Create Strong Sellers' Market
The shortage of homes for sale that plagued the Greater Buffalo-Niagara market in 2017 increased during the first quarter of 2018. Rising home prices and growing demand, however, according to the first quarter market report from HUNT Real Estate ERA, are setting the stage for a strong sellers’ market for the opening of the spring sales season.
Late winter storms contributed to a decline in real estate sales as well as a year-over-year drop in new listings for the start of the quarter – potential buyers stayed home and the bad weather made it difficult for many homeowners to prepare their homes for sale. Warmer weather in the next couple of months may help drive demand and put upward pressure on prices, creating ideal conditions for sellers.
Buffalo’s inventories declined steeply in the first quarter of 2018 and are still declining, but at one-third the pace of the region as a whole. In contrast, prices rose by 27 percent in the first quarter and listings in Buffalo increased 37 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.

Shortages Across the Region
Statistics show that nationwide inventories of homes in January and February fell 9.2 percent and 8.1 percent respectively compared to 2017. In the first quarter, inventories in Erie and Niagara Counties fell at a rate double that of national trends. Both regions ended the first few months of the year with fewer active listings than in nearly a decade.
In Erie County, first quarter inventories plunged 27 percent from the fourth quarter and are 18 percent below levels of a year ago. Compared to the first quarter of 2017, new listings in Erie County were seven percent lower and sales fell by 18 percent. Prices of homes rose less than two percent over the past year.
In Niagara County, inventories fell nearly 25 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and in the first quarter, homes sold in less than two months, nearly twice as fast as they did a year ago. In the first quarter, new listings were down 32 percent and active listings were down 31 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Similar to Erie County, prices in Niagara County rose only slightly during the first quarter.

Buffalo Home Prices Are Booming
Buffalo dramatically reduced its inventories last year. During the peak sales season last year, inventories were half the size of the same period compared to 2016. Prices rose 27 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 in response to tighter inventories, but demand remained strong. Sales rose 6 percent during the same period and sales volume rose from $51,744,436 in the first quarter of 2017 to $67,644,244 in 2018.  Homes in Buffalo are also selling 30 percent faster. Average sale price over the rolling 12 months was $136,443 and sales are averaging 218 per month.

Buffalo Active Listings
March 2016 to March 2018

Erie County’s Prices Set to Rise
Inventories in Erie County as a whole are falling faster than in Buffalo. Supplies of homes for sale are down 18 percent in contrast to this time last year, and new listings have declined seven percent over the same period. Tighter inventories are putting pressure on buyers as days on market have declined 18 percent over the past year. Average prices are up only 1.6 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and sales have risen only 4 percent from last year at this time.
Erie County’s sales volume by price was $326,651,294 in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $298,010,150 for the same period in 2017, an increase of less than one percent.

Erie County Active Listings
March 2016 to March 2018

Niagara County Prices are Still Flat
Average sales prices in Niagara County have increased only 1.19 percent since the first quarter of 2017 even though active listings declined 18 percent over that period. New listings are also falling behind 2017 by seven percent. Year over year sales are up 4 percent and homes in the county are selling at almost the same pace as in the first quarter of 2017.
Niagara County’s sales volume by price grew from $49,515,526 in the first quarter of 2017 to $54,630,267 in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 10.3 percent.

Niagara County Average Sales Prices
March 2015 to March 2018

“Homeowners in the Greater Buffalo-Niagara market who have been waiting for the right time to sell may never see a better market.  Over the past few years of the housing recovery, buyers have depleted inventories. As a result, prices are reaching new peaks. First-time and move-up buyers are motivated to buy before interest rates and prices climb even higher,” said Peter F. Hunt, Chairman & CEO of HUNT Real Estate Corp.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

6 Things You Think Add Value to Your Home...But Actually Don't

No matter how much we love our homes, there is always room for improvement, or more specifically, home improvement projects.

You should always consider your own needs and tastes when making the decision to do improvements, however, some homeowners take on projects solely to add value to their homes so that a return on the investment is received when it comes time for the home to be sold. Unfortunately, this line of thinking can often lead to costly home improvements - that may not end up adding value to the home in the long run.

Here are 6 items that many homeowners think adds value to their home…but actually don’t:

While the items on this list may not increase the value of your home, you can still invest in them if they’re worthwhile to you! Making changes and updates are just a couple of the many things you can do to help turn your house into your home.

Interested in finding out what your home’s value is? Check out our Home Valuation tool and get 3 free price estimates instantly: What's My Home Worth?

Monday, April 16, 2018

4/14 Radio Show: John Hurley

Your host, Peter Hunt, welcomes John Hurley to the show.

John Hurley is the President of Canisius College.

Together, Peter leads the discussion on the Excelsior Scholarship Program.

To find out more, listen to this week's show!

Monday, April 9, 2018

6 Common Homeowner Tax Deductions and How They'll Change in 2018

Owning your own home comes with responsibilities, but it also comes with many advantages, particularly ones that are to your financial benefit. When you own your own property, it allows you to establish a permanent place of residence, which provides the opportunity to build equity, and it also allows you to lock in your monthly costs for as long as you live there. Additionally, even as changes are on the horizon for 2018, homeownership also offers many opportunities for potential tax benefits.

Here are six possible tax breaks that homeownership can potentially provide. (Be sure to consult your tax professional regarding tax deductions and eligibility!)

  1. Mortgage Interest. Mortgage interest is tax deductible on loans up to $1 million (for homes bought before Dec. 17, 2017) or $750,000 (any home bought after Dec. 17, 2017). Points paid on your mortgage can be deductible on your taxes if you purchased your home within the last year.
  2. Property Taxes. Homeowners can deduct property taxes they are paying for their home. This deduction will have a $10,000 cap in 2018, though there is no cap for 2017.
  3. Private Mortgage Insurance. If you didn’t put a 20% down payment on your home, you’re likely paying Private Mortgage Insurance, known as PMI, until you reach a 20% investment in your home. You may be able to deduct these on your 2017 taxes.
  4. Medical Improvements. If you are improving your home due to medical necessity, such as adding a ramp or elevator for access, you can deduct the cost of those improvements and the maintenance on your taxes. You will need to prove these additions are necessary for medical reasons with appropriate documentation.
  5. Home Office. Home offices are a $5-per-square-foot deduction up to 300 square feet of office space, maxing out at $1,500. Your office must be a dedicated work space. For 2018, however, you cannot apply for this deduction if you work for any length of time at an office location.
  6. Home Equity Line of Credit. Many homeowners take out Home Equity Loans or lines of credit to pay for a multitude of things, from school tuition to home improvement projects. You can deduct the interest regardless of what the loan was used for in 2017, but in 2018, you’ll only be able to deduct interest if you are using the money for home improvements.

To find out more about what potential tax breaks you could qualify for, reach out to your tax professional. If you’re interested in pursuing homeownership, reach out to one of our real estate sales professionals today!

4/7 Radio Show: Matt Paul

Guest host, Susan Ballard, welcomes Matt Paul to the show.

Matt Paul is a real estate salesperson working out of our Williamsville Village office.

Together, Susan leads the discussion on the current hot market and how to price your home properly.

To find out more, listen to this week's show.