Home Buyers: Shuffling Off to Buffalo?

No offense intended by their disparate climates, but the nation's present low and high ends in resale housing--based on median prices--are in the Buffalo, N.Y.-Niagara Falls area and the Anaheim-Santa Ana area, respectively.

The price tag is at a low of $47,000 in the northwestern New York state market and a high of $135,200 in the Orange County market.

That means, of course, that half the homes cost more and the other half cost less than those two figures in the two divergent sections. It also means that the median hereabouts is nearly three times that of the nation's lowest median price.

These figures are from the second-quarter survey of 45 metropolitan areas by the National Assn. of Realtors.

Out of curiosity, our Ruth Ryon learned from Art Aston of the Los Angeles Board of Realtors that the most inexpensive single-family dwelling in the Los Angeles area--at mid-week--was listed at $39,950, and three potential buyers were bidding on it--including two brokers.

One person thinks it's the "cutest little house, but I think it's a dump," the listing agent, Don Reitzfeld of Century 21 Horizon in Culver City, said.

Then he added, "Habitability is in the eyes of the beholder."

Reitzfeld described the house, built in 1923, as a "one-bedroom plus den, no closet, three-quarter bath with no tub, just a portable shower; 440 square feet, on a 40-by-60 lot. It's west of La Brea and north of Jefferson."

We cite this case to illustrate this area's most inexpensive/cheapest house. Other low-end listings were for $45,000 and $50,000 homes in Watts and for $61,000 in Compton.

Other areas where median resale home prices are in the low range include Louisville, Ky., and Detroit, $51,000; Akron, Ohio, $52,200, and Indianapolis, $55,400.

In addition to the top-priced median in Orange County, the high end, not surprisingly, includes two other California locales--the San Francisco Bay area, at $134,500, and Santa Clara County (San Jose metropolitan area), $128,000. Boston, with $131,000, and the New York and northern New Jersey area with $130,000, are also among the most expensive listings.

Outside the northeastern United States, Orange County was the only sector experiencing a median resale-home price increase of 10% or more over the second quarter of 1984.

The national association expects that the national median price will rise about 3.6% during this year, a bit less than the overall inflation, and that increases for 1986 and 1987 will be in the respective ranges of 3.8% and 4.2%.

Meanwhile, at the end of June, the median sales price of an existing American home was pegged at $75,300--a price that would have "bargain" written all over it here.

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