Orleans County real estate is hot

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 July 2020 at 9:27 am

‘I’ve never seen prices zoom the way they have.’

ALBION – Orleans County real estate is in demand, with homes selling at a brisk pace often well above the asking price.

“I’ve never seen prices zoom the way they have,” said Rita Zambito, owner of Zambito Realtors in Medina.

Normally, it takes about six months to sell a house in Orleans County.

“Now they are selling in days and weeks,” she said.

One house sold for $40,000 above the asking price. It’s not uncommon for them to sell for $20,000 over the listed price, she said.

The houses are in demand in both the village and out in the countryside. People are also buying vacant land with plans to build new homes, Zambito said.

There is a shortage of houses on the market, which is a factor in the demand. There are also very low interest rates, and people seem to be drawn to the small towns and rural living during the pandemic, said David Snell, owner of Snell Realtors in Albion.

The hot real estate was raised during an Orleans County Legislature meeting on Wednesday. Barry Flansburg, chairman of the Orleans County Farmland Protection Board, spoke at a public hearing about adding two parcels of land to the county’s agricultural district.

Flansburg is also the town assessor in Barre, Byron, Elba and Oakfield. He said the rural areas are in demand for residents.

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed some of that demand, especially with people working from home and not having to commute into Rochester or Buffalo. The rural areas tend to have a lower Covid-19 caseload than more populated areas.

“You wouldn’t think so but the current pandemic we’re going through is an absolute draw to be in Western New York,” Flansburg told county legislators on Wednesday. “The real estate sales are going out of sight. They are selling out of sight within days of coming on the market.”

Flansburg urged the legislators to keep pushing for broadband internet in the rural areas, and also to extend waterlines and improve water infrastructure in the county.

“Orleans County and what we have in Western New York is actually a draw right now,” Flansburg said the taxes are actually lower in Orleans County for most property owners, compared to what people are paying in more populated counties.

He urged the county to keep investing in the community and not pull back on services and projects.

“The Covid pandemic will be a benefit to the county in the long run because the people will come,” Flansburg said.

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