Schuyler housing market sees growth in 2019
SCHUYLER COUNTY--Real estate increased 10.18 percent in 2019 compared to 2018 despite a smaller inventory of available homes. The median price for the homes sold last year increased 4.3 percent over the past year.
"We are very happy with last year, it was a small increase but it was stable. It doesn't take much to see a change in a small market and we did not see a large increase or decrease," said Lisa Lilley, president of the Corning Elmira Board Association of Realtors.
Lilley said the recent stability seen in the Schuyler County housing market is more of an indication of strength compared to stagnation.
"Stable keeps the local market strong and I think small growth will continue, mortgage rates are low and wages are increasing so home buying should remain healthy and continue to grow," Lilley said.
For 2019, Schuyler County had 264 homes for sale with 119 closed sales at a median price of $145,000 compared to 2018 when there were 287 homes for sale with 108 closed sales for a median price of $139,000.
Despite the relative stability, Vicki Schamel, licensed real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, said she sees subtle signs of the market changing.
"I think the market is shifting, there are a couple of things that are a bit unusual where we are having very low interest rates that have remained stable which you would think would result in more sellers taking advantage of the equity sales of their home and selling, but market inventories have been very low," mentioned Schamel.
Schamel said that low inventories can result in higher median sale prices which results in some potential home buyers waiting until prices go down.
Lilley said that she doesn't expect that to happen in 2020 as a strong national economy combined with a strong local tourism industry will continue to drive the market.
"Local tourism is a benefit for us bringing thousands of people to the area every year with what we have to offer. We have a lot of people who buy summer homes here, even locals who buy summer homes here because of all the wineries, breweries and so much going on in Schuyler along with the race track. It brings thousands of people here along with all the lake properties," Lilley said.
Schamel agreed that the local tourism industry is strong, going so far as to say much of her business is driven by it.
"I think I have dealt with more out of area buyers or move-back to the area buyers than local buyers," Schamel said.
Not all of the people moving into the area are doing so to retire or to buy a vacation property though.
"We have a lot of young families coming to establish themselves. Another reason to come here versus other areas is affordable housing. We have younger people who are putting student loans to bed and now they can afford houses," Schamel said.
She added that another factor bringing in young families to the area are a number of strong school districts in the county and the fact that people can live in places like Watkins Glen but still work in Ithaca or Corning without an overly difficult commute. To help generate even more growth in the market Schamel said that a good developer in Schuyler County would be incredibly valuable.
"Schuyler County definitely needs more mid-range priced homes in the area of $250,000-$450,000, mostly off lake. The difficulty is the infrastructure in the ground, which raises the costs, but people still will build due to quality of life here," Schamel said.