Updated: May 17, 2021 06:25 PM
Created: May 17, 2021 05:01 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you’re looking to buy or sell a home right now, you know the real estate market is crazy. In some cases, sellers are getting $40,000, $50,000 even $60,000 over their asking price. Buyers are waiving home inspections and other contingencies, in some cases, not even touring a house in-person before making an offer.
Kellyn Wahl and Derrick Velazquez are trying to buy their first home together but it’s been no small task.
“It has to be a little bit of a willingness to maybe overpay or take on a fixer-upper and also compromise on both of our needs and wants. Location, size of house, condition of the house... so it's a give-and-take thing and also not getting emotionally invested,” Velazquez said.
But Wahl admits, that’s not always easy.
“It's hard because when you go through the house you start picturing yourself in it and the kind of changes you'd like to do to the house,” she said.
They’ve made a number of offers but haven’t been able to score a new home yet.
“We were looking at a house that was really nice in Penfield and it turns out we were up against 27 other families... We went in with non-inspection, non-contingent but we were told that our bid, which we thought was competitive, wasn't really that close to the winning bid,” Wahl said.
The couple’s bid was $30,000 over the asking price.
“It's a bit of a frenzy right now, it's very much a seller's market out there,” said Lanie Bittner, a ReMax agent and President of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors.
That may be a bit of an understatement, Bittner has been in the business for 16 years and the current market, “this, I don't believe it was anything like this,” she said.
So, what and who is driving the market in the Finger Lakes right now?
“The low interest rates, we have a great first-time homebuyer market in Rochester, we've got people moving in from out of town looking to make the Rochester market their new home or they've got family connections here,” Bittner explained.
And in many cases, the buyers moving into town are used to higher real estate prices so they come with cash.
In Monroe County, the median price for a new home in March of 2021 was $176,000, up 14% from the same time last year and there were just 365 homes for sale county-wide, compared to 775 in March of 2020.
Locally, the towns of Clarkson and Pittsford have seen the average median price of a home go up by $65,000 compared to the same time last year. In East Rochester, the median price has gone up by $43,000, in Parma, it rose by $36,000 and in the City of Rochester, buyers are paying on average $29,000 more for a home this year compared to last.
Chris Thomas has been a real estate broker for 28 years, he specializes in first-generation home-buyers in the City of Rochester. He works with most of his clients for more than a year to help them get their credit scores up, to save for down payments and to find just the right first investment.
“I think everybody should have a chance to experience homeownership, especially when the rental rates in Rochester are so close to what they would be paying for a purchase, well it used to be,” he said
But this market is changing things.
Thomas says he used to take clients out a few times to look at houses before they’d make an offer.
“Now they're going out 20-30 times putting in 15-20 offers and still not winning so, it is... it's demoralizing for folks,” he explained, but cautioned against getting caught up in the emotion of it all, “I always let my clients know that they need to pay what feels right to them forget about what everybody else is doing just pay what feels right to you.”
Because supply in Monroe County is so low and prices are skyrocketing, many buyers have expanded their search into other areas.
While the number of closed sales was down in Monroe, Ontario and Livingston counties because of limited supply, the number of closings increased in Wayne, Yates, Orleans and Genesee counties compared to the same time last year.
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