February 3, 2012
Cortland home sales steady last year
Single-family home sales dropped 0.3 percent in 2011
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Real estate signs show homes for sale Wednesday along Floral Avenue. Sales of single-family homes in the county stayed flat in 2011, from 487 in 2010 to 486, according to data from the New York State Association of Realtors.
The housing market in Cortland County remained essentially flat over the past year, bypassing some of the ups and downs that have hit other areas in New York.
Sales of single-family homes in the county fell marginally by 0.3 percent in 2011, from 487 in 2010 to 486, according to data from the New York State Association of Realtors.
The average price of a single-family home in Cortland County dipped $2,000, from $112,000 to $110,000 in the past year.
A fourth-quarter increase in home sales helped bump up the 2011 figures.
In Cortland County, fourth quarter home sales were up 37.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, and up 17.9 percent over the past two years.
Local real estate agents say they expect that growth to continue in the first quarter of 2012, due to a recovering economy, mild winter weather and low interest rates.
Neb Hage, owner of Hage Real Estate, said his office saw more activity in January than usual.
“The market in Central New York has been stable lately, you’ve had a lot of people not knowing if they’ll have a job tomorrow and waiting on the sidelines,” he said. “But with things starting to pick up lately, people are plunging in and based on the first month of the year, we expect things to continue to pick up.”
The minimal downturn over the past year occurred after a sharp bounce in the market in 2010, due to the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers.
That $8,000 tax credit pushed home prices up $6,265 in Cortland and increased home sales 4.3 percent over the previous year.
Across New York, home sales fell 3.9 percent in 2011, despite a late year burst in sales.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, home sales were up 4.2 percent across the state from a year earlier.
A drop in home prices likely helped propel that increase, as single-family home prices fell 5.1 percent, from $216,000 to $205,000 in the last three months of the year.
Steve Cinquanti, owner of Cinquanti Real Estate, agreed with Hage’s analysis. The mild winter weather and a slowly improving economy are bringing people out to open houses and spurring an increase in sales, Cinquanti said.
“It’s a change in the right direction,” he said. “We’re seeing more people out looking thanks to some nice weather and we have a stout supply of housing available. I like this trend.”
Low interest rates should help keep mortgages affordable as well, he added.
Another factor to look at is the fact that 2006 and 2007 were record years for the national real estate market before it crashed in 2008, Cinquanti said.
“It’s kind of unfair to make a comparison to historical highs,” he said. “If you take away that peak and put the numbers in context, last year was a pretty good year overall.”
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