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Area home sales down in Q1, but median price up

Rochester Business Journal
April 12, 2013

Area home sales dropped more than 7 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago, the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Inc. reported Friday. But the median sale price rose 3.4 percent to $120,000 from $116,000.
Compared with three months ago, home sales declined 36 percent to 1,715 versus 2,263 in the fourth quarter, reports Genesee Regional Real Estate Information Services Inc., the information subsidiary of GRAR.

New home listings in the region decreased 5.7 percent in the first quarter to 4,821, and pending sales were down 8.6 percent to 2,416.

There were 4,859 homes on the market, down 17 percent from 5,855 in the first quarter last year.

Other indicators improved. Percent of original list price received increased 1.4 percent to 92.8, and absorption rates improved as “months supply of inventory” was down 20.6
percent to 5.4 months.
Transactions in the city of Rochester remained steady year-over-year, and prices rose by 9 percent to $69,450.

The organization now includes condominium and townhouse sales numbers as single-family residences in its quarterly housing reports. The figures for historical comparisons reflect the change as well, officials said.

East Rochester experienced 133 percent increase in transactions in the first quarter compared with last year. Mendon and Chili also both saw sales boost; Mendon more than 23 percent, and Chili nearly 15 percent.

Sales fell 4 percent in Monroe County, 15.1 percent in Livingston County, 9.4 percent in Ontario County, 12.7 percent in Orleans County and 22 percent in Wayne County. Sales rose 37.5 percent in Genesee County.

“We are looking forward to a busy spring season, based on the solid start to the year,“ stated Steve Babbitt, president of the GRAR board of directors. “This past quarter marks the seventh straight period of increase in home prices and buyers are eager to take advantage of market favorability while it continues.”

Babbitt said that although closings and pending sales were down from last year, “if you take into account the unseasonably warm winter of 2012 encouraging more activity, the numbers  are what we would normally expect.”

New home permits in Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties combined in the first quarter jumped 21 percent year-over-year to a five-year high, the Rochester Home Builders’ Association reported.

Monroe County led the area with 127 building permits issued, with the towns of Gates, Greece and Penfield issuing the most permits. Permits were down 2 percent compared with 129 a year ago.

Ontario County saw growth—up 118 percent—as it reported 83 permits, with Farmington and  Victor being the most active towns. Last year at this time, just 38 permits had been filed in Ontario County.

Wayne County was down 55 percent, with 5 permits filed in the first quarter, compared with 11 at this time last year.

“Builders are pleased with new home sales activity,” said Charlie Graves, president of Graves Bros. Home Improvement and 2013 RHBA Chairman. “We have also seen increased activity in the home improvement and remodeling side of our industry.”

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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