Upstate New York enclave sees insane real estate boom

A house for sale sparks a bidding war. Buyers put forth all-cash offers. The property ultimately sells for more than its asking price.

These are all hallmarks of a booming real estate market — one taking place in a New York town 350 miles north of Manhattan.

Rochester, New York, is one of the hottest sellers’ markets right now. In the city of about 200,000, tucked in the northwest corner of the state less than two hours from the Canadian border, homes priced under $300,000 are receiving several offers mere hours after hitting the market, according to local news site 13 WHAM.

House hunters have to check listing websites daily to stay on top of the quick turnover.

“I’ve been doing this for 42 years,” local agent and broker Tony Ruggeri told 13 WHAM, “and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

A home Ruggeri recently represented had 23 showings in just one day. To scoop up a property, Rochester residents have to be ready to make immediate offers, possibly over ask and maybe even in cash.

“Make sure you have cash,” said Ruggeri. “If you have a home to sell, forget about it. Don’t even bother, and be ready to go.”

Newlyweds Kailey Suhr and Joseph Colway, who had been looking for a home since October, flocked to one of the 23 showings at 1123 Stonegate Drive in the Rochester suburb of Webster. The four-bedroom Colonial listed for $179,900 on Feb. 12.

“We just got back from our honeymoon, and when we got off airplane mode, this house popped up. So, we called Andy [Kachaylo, the couple’s realtor], we’re like ‘Hey!’” Suhr said. Added Colway, “There hasn’t been a lot to look at yet; stuff is going very quickly.”

(1123 Stonegate Drive has already found a buyer.)

Kachaylo, who also happens to be the president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, is also blown away by this seemingly inexplicable frenzy. The possible reason? Demand is up: There are more local buyers, combined with an influx of buyers who are relocating from out of state.

Only one more home sold in Rochester in 2019 than in 2018, according to the association’s latest data. But inventory, also known as supply, is down: The number of homes available for purchase hit its lowest point in seven years. There were 5,446 homes for sale at the end of 2013, 3,017 more than at the end of 2019. The same data shows that home prices have also increased.

“The activity is tremendous,” Kachaylo said.

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