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Orleans real estate showed improvement in 2013

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2014 at 12:00 am

County has 2nd biggest percentage increase in region

The median price for Orleans County houses jumped 8.8 percent last year, and real estate agents also sold more homes than in 2012.

There were 306 sales in 2013 at a median price of $84,900, according to the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors. That median was up from the $78,000 in 2012. The 306 sales increased by 4.4 percent from the 293 in 2012.

“People are still cautious, but we definitely had a good year,” said Jeanne Whipple, owner and broker at Whipple Realty in Lyndonville.

In the 11-county Greater Rochester region, only Livingston saw a greater percentage increase in median sale prices than in Orleans. Livingston’s went up 10.4 percent from $115,000 to $127,000.

The data doesn’t break down the sales in Orleans County by municipality. Whipple said her experience shows the sales seem to be strongest in the countryside where the taxes are cheaper and there is more open land.

“The villages are tough with the taxes,” Whipple said. “People also want space.”

The Orleans market is recovering after some difficult years. The median of $84,900 in 2013, follows $78,000 in 2012. It was $79,000 in 2011 for 268 sales, and $80,500 in 2010 for 276 sales, according to the GRAR.

While the real estate market plunged in many parts of the country in recent years, Whipple said Orleans has mostly been immune to the wild price increases and decreases.

“We don’t see the huge swings like they do in other areas,” she said.

Although Orleans showed some added value last year, the county still pales to neighboring counties for value and volume. Only Allegany, with a median value at $82,900, was less than Orleans. The Allegany data only includes 24 reported sales.

Not all of the sales are accounted by the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors. Some of the real estate agents may be aligned with the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, and some sales are handled without real estate companies.

Here is a list of other counties, their median values, number of sales and percentage of increase or decrease in value, according to the Rochester Association of Realtors:

Monroe County, $130,000 for 7,682 sales, value up 1.6 percent;

Genesee County, $91,500 for 169 sales, value up 1.7 percent;

Wyoming County, $88,500 for 46 sales, value up 2.4 percent;

Ontario County, $149,000 for 1,106 sales, value up 2.8 percent;

Livingston County, $127,000 for 411 sales, value up 10.4 percent;

Wayne County, $115,500 for 756 sales, value down 3.8 percent;

Yates County, $133,000 for 224 sales, value up 4.7 percent;

Allegany County, $82,900 for 24 sales, value up 6.3 percent;

Steuben County, $97,000 for 182 sales, value down 8.5 percent;

Seneca County, $98,000 for 201 sales, value up 1.0 percent.

The Rochester region as a whole showed a 1.8 percent increase in median value at $127,200.

Andy Burke, GRAR president, said historic low interest rates and the surprising lack of inventory of homes for sale helped push up the median price.

“Homeowners continue to delay any moves to downsize or upsize their lifestyles,” he said. “This hesitation to sell created low inventory and helped to drive up home prices, with multiple offers very common in 2013.”

Sales slowed the final three months of the year, partly due to the impact of the government shutdown in October and early periods of severe winter weather, he said.

Real estate professionals say several issues may have an impact on 2014.

“Factors such as higher mortgage interest rates, new lending rules and major federal housing legislation in the pipeline will affect the real estate industry, but how remains to be seen,” said Jim Yockel, GRAR CEO.