John Connolly According to new figures from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, the area's unseasonally warm weather pushed home sales 4.2 percent in December. Meanwhile, the number of homes listed for sale increased 13 percent. Sales rose to 774 in the final month of last year, up from 743 a year earlier, and up 10.4 percent from 701 in November. That’s the highest tally for December since the peak selling years of 2006 and 2007, the Realtors' group said.

Similarly, pending sales — in which a contract has been signed but the deal is not yet done — rose 4 percent from a year ago to 441, from 424. That’s the most since 2007 but the lowest in 2011.

Winter months are typically slower because of colder temperatures and snow that deter activity, but this year’s unseasonably warm and dry conditions are allowing more buyers to get out and look. Buyers may also be gaining more confidence in the economy and their own job situations.

For the year to date, however, closed sales are still down 6 percent to 8,757, while pending sales are down 5 percent to 8,873. But that’s a big improvement from the earlier pace. Compared with two years ago, however, sales are down 14 percent, while pending deals are down 12 percent.

The active inventory of all homes for sale is down 1 percent to 5,126, which is almost flat from November. It’s the smallest inventory since January 2010.

For the year to date, new listings are down 6 percent to 16,811. The median price rose 2 percent from a year ago and 6.2 percent from November, to $118,610 — the highest for any month since the summer and the highest for December since at least 1999.