Third-quarter residential home sales sizzled in Jefferson and Lewis counties, boosting purchases 12 percent over last year.
In St. Lawrence County, however, single-family home sales through three quarters dropped compared with last year, according to the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. From January through September, 428 homes were sold, a 6 percent drop from last years 454. This years median price through three quarters was $82,500, up from last years $75,000.
From July through September, 388 single-family houses were sold in the two counties through members of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, up from last years 371 during the same period. A total of 911 residential home sales for the region were chalked up from January through September, a 12 percent increase from last years 803 sales.
The median home price was $135,500 through the third quarter, up from last years $132,800. Of the 911 homes sold year-to-date, 205 were in the $100,000 to $180,000 range.
That seems to be where the homes are going fast, said Lance M. Evans, executive officer for the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors.
Mr. Evans said low interest rates and the availability of houses have made this year a particularly ripe time for military families at Fort Drum to purchase homes. The return of the posts 3rd Brigade Combat Team this summer also buoyed the market. Among the 911 residential homes purchased, 292 of the buyers were military families who garnered Department of Veterans Affairs loans.
A lot of this is because of the 3rd Brigade, Mr. Evans said. More soldiers are here and there are shorter deployments in place. I can leave my family here this fall and come back in seven to eight months. Spouses want to keep their kids in the same school as much as possible.
Moreover, Mr. Evans said, purchasing houses can be a more affordable alternative for families than renting apartments if they plan to stay in the region for several years.
If youre going to be here for any length of time, it might be less expensive to buy than to rent, he said.
Multifamily homes with space for two to four families also are being scooped up more this year. Among the 207 properties sold from January through September that werent single-family homes, 56 were multifamily houses.
If I can buy a multi-family home and charge $500 rent, I can pay $6,000 more on my mortgage during the year than a neighbor who buys a single-family home for the same price, Mr. Evans said.