Real estate in Western New York: still hot for sellers, frustrating for buyers

A licensed real estate agent in Western New York says right now, most buyers are negotiating up, not down. The high demand is no match for the amount of inventory.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The cost of living is high these days, and with inflation hitting record high numbers, it’s no surprise that the real estate market is also sky rocketing in terms of price. 

Bottom line, it’s still a sellers market, which means the odds might be stacked against you if you’re looking to buy.

The COVID pandemic upended the market back in 2020. Real estate agents say given how much time people were spending at home, more and more people were reflecting on whether their current home was where they actually wanted to be.

The problem is, the high demand is still no match for the amount of inventory. 

Michael Culeton is a licensed real estate agent in Western New York. He says right now, most buyers are negotiating up, not down.

“We’re seeing offers anywhere from 10 to 15% above the list price at this point, depending on the market and the list price,” Culeton says. “A lot of cash offers, a lot of unique financing that’s making our buyers more competitive at this point, which can be challenging.”

The National Association of Relators estimates, based on current trends, that the average time on market for an existing home is roughly 18 days. That means houses are selling nearly as fast as they’re being put up for sale.

Jillian Duchess and Jason Petruso are prospective buyers who say the climate is certainly a challenging one and can be disappointing. 

“We already put an offer in on a house, and it went for well over probably $75,000 what we offered. It’s definitely been competitive,” Petruso says.

Ed Slowinski, another prospective buyer, agrees.

“We’ve put in four bids, all of which sounded like they were laughing at it because it was not even close,” Slowinski says. “We’re looking to do bids five and six this weekend … and hopefully not start over.”

But in many cases, Culeton says, his buyers are having to start over.

“With the limited inventory of existing homes for sale my buyers are losing five, six, seven houses until they find one that works for them or a bid that’s accepted at this point,” Culeton said. 

Some tips for buyers moving forward?

If you consider the fact that prices, here in Western New York and in other areas, will likely remain high for a while being flexible is important.

“I’m a huge proponent of buying a home that maybe needs a little bit of work, making it exactly the way you want it. It really doesn’t matter if the market goes up or down. It’s a property that will have positive equity at that point, regardless,” Culeton said. 

Being patient, he argues, is also a must.