With momentum created by a mild winter, Chautauqua County second quarter housing sales increased.
During the second quarter of 2012, 233 houses closed for sale in the county. This was a 15.9 percent increase compared to the 201 houses sold in the second quarter of 2011.
Donna Breen, county Board of Realtors president, said the increase in second quarter sales could be related to the unseasonable winter weather this year.
''During the winter, we maintained this year. Usually, we back slip during the winter because of the snow and cold, but with this year's mild winter we maintained,'' she said. ''So we were able to come into the spring running. We were able to take off strong because we were able to move steadily ahead during the winter.''
The average median sales price of a house in the second quarter in the county increased, as well. A house sold on average for $82,200, which was a 9.6 percent increase compared to the 2011 second quarter median sale of $75,000.
''It didn't increase enough to get excited about. We're holding firm in this market. We don't have big ups and big downs,'' she said. ''There is a level of confidence in sellers that they know they don't have to give their home away.''
Ms. Breen said realtors are happy with the summer housing market, so far.
''No one is feeling that there is a big back slide. Realtors are staying constantly busy,'' she said.
The County Legislature is debating a new proposal to pass a law giving tax exemptions to first-time homebuyers of newly constructed or rehabbed properties. A public hearing will take place during September's voting session, at which time the legislature can vote to approve the exemption. Ms. Breen said the proposal should help encourage people to buy their first home.
''I think every break given to a new homebuyer is great,'' she said.
The state housing market continues to build on a solid first half of the year, as well. July sales increased by 4.7 percent statewide compared to last July.
''New Yorkers continue to regain their confidence in housing as we move through the typically active summer months,'' said Duncan R. MacKenzie, state Association of Realtors chief executive officer. ''Despite a dip in closed and pending sales between June and July, the year-to-date figures show an overall market improvement through the first seven months of the year.''
The July market posted 8,745 closed sales, up 4.7 percent from the July 2011 total of 8,352. Year-to-date closed sales reached 50,412 at the end of July, an increase of 6.3 percent from last year.
The statewide median sales price reached $233,000, an increase of 5.9 percent compared to the July 2011 median of $220,000. The year-to-date median of $212,000 was 1.8-percent behind the $215,900 median in 2011.