John Connolly Although the local real estate market has cooled significantly, some colleagues say they are getting good activity on recent listings. This is unusual based on what history tells us about holidays seasons past.

I have always maintained that the holiday season brings out the true buyers; people who want to house shop despite all the holiday distractions. After all, the tire-kickers have other things to occupy their time at this time of year.

According to one Realtor friend, her listing receiving a good number of showings despite being listed near the Christmas holiday and was located on Opal Court in Amherst. The agent said there were a good number of showings and within a month her sellers accepted a contract.

Another agent from the same firm mentioned a high-end listing in the city that has received a decent amount of showings but no offers by mid-January.

This speaks well of our local market, which just keeps humming along regardless of what is happening on the national scene.

Interest rates continue to hover at record lows, with the latest figures from HSBC showing 4.75% for a 30-year fixed conventional. The government-backed products are slightly lower, at 4.62%, as of Friday, January 14.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors showed that home sales declined again in November (the most recent data available) but prices continued to climb.

Sales of homes, condos and townhouses fell 26% from the same month in 2009, the lowest monthly level since 2005, according to BNAR statistics. However, for pending sales, where a contract has been signed but the deal hasn’t closed, the Realtors’ group showed a 29% increase. That, to me, shows that buyers are still active.

The average sale price, meanwhile, rose 9% from $125,427 to $136,866, a record for November, but down 4% from the $142,296 average price a month earlier.

The number of homes on the market was up 6% to 5,163.

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