The median prices of single-family homes sold in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties were higher the first three quarters of this year than they were in 2009.
"I think it's indicative of the economy evening out," said Lance M. Evans, executive director of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors.
■ The median price of a home sold in Jefferson County was $142,000 from January to September, up from $140,250 — about 1 percent — from the same period last year. A total of 615 houses were sold in the county so far this year.
■ The median price of a home sold in Lewis County was $119,000 from January to September, up from $105,000 — 13 percent — from the same period in 2009. Through Sept. 30, 87 single-family houses were sold.
■ The median price of a home sold in St. Lawrence County was $79,000, up from $72,250 — 9.3 percent — from last year. In the first three quarters of the year, 426 single-family houses were sold.
So far this year, houses in St. Lawrence County are remaining on the market an average of 165 days. In Jefferson County, average days on the market is 118, while in Lewis County the average is 149.
The expiration of the federal government's first-time home-buyers tax credit meant the number of sales in each county fell. During the first nine months of 2009:
■ In Jefferson County, 791 single-family houses were sold. An additional 234 properties were sold in other categories.
■ In Lewis County, 104 single-family houses were sold. An additional 23 properties were sold in other categories.
■ In St. Lawrence County, 591 single-family houses were sold. An additional 144 sales were a combination of commercial, vacant land, seasonal and multi-family properties.
Last year, the federal government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers helped spur some north county home sales, Mr. Evans said. Buyers who had not owned a home during the previous three years could qualify for the tax credit. A $6,500 tax credit was available for repeat home buyers.
With three months still remaining in the year, Mr. Evans said, the market is heating up.
"We've still got a bunch of the year to go," he said. "There will be a good number of properties that close in the fourth quarter."
Using St. Lawrence County as an example, Mr. Evans said real estate prices and volume of sales can vary significantly from year to year between communities.
"Because it's such a vast county, different population areas can be experiencing different things," he said. "You could talk to an agent in Massena who says the market is terrible and talk to another agent in Potsdam who says it's been great."
In St. Lawrence County, the median single-family home prices through Sept. 30 were $135,000 for Canton; $90,000 in Potsdam; $70,00 for both Gouverneur and Massena, and $53,000 for Ogdensburg, according to figures provided by Mr. Evans.