When COVID-19 first hit the U.S. back in March, the stock market dropped, and people panicked. That meant sellers taking their houses off the market, while buyers swooped in to take advantage of low interest rates.
This panic caused a severe drop in Western New York’s housing market. At their worst, new listings dropped by 63.5% from April 2019 to April 2020, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. That was accompanied by a 27.8% decrease in closing sales, and a 62% decrease in pending sales.
“Obviously, people put their foot on the brakes,” said Donna Littlefield, president of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. “It left us with a very skeletal market.”
With so few new listings in the area, the median sales price of homes has increased by 8.5% since May of last year — indicating that it is a seller’s market.
While the statistics for June are not yet available, the numbers for May showed a slight increase in some categories. New listings were only down by 40.3% from the year before, and pending sales were down by 33.9%. This increase is suggesting that the Western New York housing market is making a comeback, and it’s keeping Littlefield busy.
“I am now extremely busy,” she said. “We’re all working probably harder than we’ve ever been.”
The market may be bouncing back, but Littlefield said it will remain a seller’s market until there is an increase in new listings.
“We need listings, there's no doubt about it,” she said. “We have a lot of buyers and so multiple offers are back in full force, and people are now starting to put their houses back up on the market.”
Littlefield said that she recently had 48 offers on one listing. So, her advice to buyers who took advantage of low interest rates but are now struggling to find homes, is to make themselves as attractive to sellers as possible by putting as much as they can down and making sure they have nothing to sell.
“Strong buyers are the best buyers,” she said.