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Local home sales activity picking up


The latest numbers on the local housing market show increased activity in the Rochester area.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on local housing sales, as it has on just about every other part of the economy. While local home sales are down 12.9% year-to-date compared to last year, Andy Kachaylo, president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, said that activity has been picking up in recent months. September home sales were up 2.6% compared to a year ago.

“We’ve really picked up a lot of speed, June, July, August and September; those numbers are creeping back and we’re gaining back the 30% decline we had in March, we’re making that back incrementally over these next few months.” Kachaylo said, adding that one reason for the brisk activity is that interest rates have remained low.

The number of available homes is still low, and that continues to push housing prices up. The median sales price of a home is up nearly 6.8% year-to-date, compared to the same period last year.

Another impact from the pandemic - realtors could only show homes for sale virtually until late May. Kachaylo said that while using virtual technology was useful when there was no other way to show a house, a lot of realtors, like himself, are glad that they are able to show prospective buyers through a house for sale now, although with some restrictions.

“A lot of agents have embraced that since then, and have continued on the virtual path, but, to be honest with you, at the street level, when I see buyers, there’s no substitute for putting your eyeballs on it directly," Kachaylo said. "I think that’s what we’re seeing with the buyers is that if there’s an opportunity to see a house, they want to see it in person."

Kachaylo said that throughout the third quarter, the housing market did not see signs of the typical seasonal slowdown and he expects that momentum to continue into the winter.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.