Tax Breaks You Can Only Claim as a Homeowner

Lance Evans

There are many benefits associated with homeownership. The American Dream offers financial gain, stability, and many social benefits.   One of the biggest benefits associated with homeownership can be found when filing your taxes and, depending on your situation, there may be thousands of dollars coming back your way.

    “Homeownership is an investment in your future,” said Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors President Vickie Staie. “It is where we make memories and feel comfortable and secure, it strengthens communities, and it offers homeowners financial security. Tax breaks are just one of many benefits of being a homeowner, and even those who have owned a home for years may be unaware of all of the opportunities for savings.”

    As the deadline to file taxes approaches, the Jefferson-Lewis and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors want to remind homeowners of the many tax benefits, savings and deductions they can take advantage of simply by owning a home.

The mortgage interest deduction (MID)

    This may be the most notable and advantageous tax benefit that homeowners enjoy. The MID allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage debt of up to $1 million on a primary residence and one additional residence. It is especially helpful in the early years of a mortgage when the monthly payment goes largely toward interest.

Property taxes

    It is widely known that being a homeowner means paying taxes on your property to local government, whether it is the city, county or state. What you might not know is that these taxes are entirely deductible from your federal income tax, which is more great tax news for homeowners.

Mortgage insurance premium deduction

    Homeowners with incomes of no more than $100,000 can deduct their mortgage insurance premiums if they were required to obtain insurance as a condition of receiving financing for the home. With the current obstacles that prospective homebuyers face, such as student loan debt, the deduction is a benefit that can save homeowners a great deal of money.

    “If you are on the fence about buying a home, taking advantage of these tax benefits can help put your dream home within reach,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “By working with a Realtor, a member of the National Association of Realtors, you can better understand the home-buying process and the many benefits that come with owning a home.”

    Congress is considering eliminating or curtailing some or all of these tax benefits.  Members of Congress from both Houses and both parties have expressed a high level of interest in reforming the tax system. Many Washington observers point to Republican-control of the House, Senate, and White House as the primary reason a version of tax reform may finally be enacted. Much work remains before any tax reform plan comes up for any votes. This ongoing debate places a variety of tax laws, including those affecting commercial and residential real estate, under increased scrutiny.

    Realtors are working to preserve these benefits.  American homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of all federal income taxes. Without the MID, for instance, that figure could rise to 95 percent. It’s particularly troubling considering the fact that more than half of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year.

    The state and local property tax deduction is essential to homeowners as well. While paying property taxes is a part of owning a home, knowing that those payments to state and local governments can be deducted from their federal income tax brings some peace of mind.  Without that deduction, homeowners would get taxed on the income used to pay their property taxes. This is a form of “double taxation” that hits home for lower- and middle-income households.

    The value of these tax incentives is already figured into home prices, meaning there’s a very real likelihood that eliminating those benefits could cause home values to plummet.  Please contact Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and let them know that these deductions are important and need to be preserved.

What is the Women’s Council of Realtors?

Lance Evans

On Oct. 13, 2008, the Tri-County (NY) Network of the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) was chartered.  It introduced our area to this organization and opened up a new way for Realtors to hone leadership skills, connect with other Realtors and give back to the local area.  So what is WCR and how does it connect to the larger Realtor community?

     In the 1930s, the National Association of Realtors witnessed the growth of women working in real estate and increased participation of women by national conventions, as women were becoming aware of their potential in, and importance to, the industry.

     A Women’s Division had already been created in 1924 by the California Real Estate Association. In 1938, National President Joseph Catherine encouraged the formation of a national Women’s Council after being impressed by the California group. At the Annual Convention in Milwaukee in November 1938, the Board of Directors voted to form a Women’s Division. Thirty-seven women, representing nine states, were at that meeting for the Women’s Council’s inception.

     Through the decades, Women’s Council’s membership growth has reflected the vast number of women choosing to work in real estate as they recognized the immense career benefits combined with a Women’s Council membership, including:

  • Earnings equitable to men’s because “commission is commission.”
  • Flexible work schedules allowing Realtors the ability to raise a family and have a career instead of choosing one or the other.
  • A support system of women in the same field garnering many friendships, networking capabilities and referrals.
  • Confidence through connection with other professional women Realtors.
  • Recognition for their own achievements and success, as well as inspiration and courage to strive for greater successes.

     Despite the name, WCR is open to Realtors of both sexes.  About 10 percent of the more than 12,000 real estate members are male.

     The local network is one of 250 local and state networks nationwide that provide the backbone of WCR.  Most of the work is done by volunteer managers trained to position their groups as a business resource in their Realtor communities.

     Since 1998, incoming network presidents have been trained at the annual Leadership Academy. With its in-depth network management training, the Academy was recognized with the prestigious Leadership Development Trophy in Network Relations from the American Society of Association Executives in its first year. Local networks regularly have networking and educational programs, which are designed to keep members on top of an evolving market. Nationwide, Women’s Council members collectively generate more than $100 million in commissions annually.

     Our local network is made up of 35 Realtors from the Jefferson-Lewis and St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors and 14 sponsors.  In its short existence, it has established several annual events and made its mark on the area. Every March, it holds a “Got Leadership?” luncheon and panel discussion featuring four or five local female leaders.  This year’s edition will be held at noon on Tuesday March 21 at the Italian-American Civic Association on Bellew Avenue in Watertown. It is open to the public.

     In the fall, the network sponsors a “Meet the Candidates” event and Top Producer award galas held for Realtor members of the St. Lawrence County and Jefferson-Lewis Boards of Realtors.  These honor the top 20 percent of members in terms of units sold and units rented.

     In the summer, the network holds a golf tournament. A portion of the proceeds assist a local nonprofit. Past recipients have included the Victim’s Assistance Center, Family Counseling Service, the Sci-Tech Center, the Watertown Urban Mission, the USO at Fort Drum, and the River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital. In 2017, the seventh annual tournament will be at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Friday, July 28. 

     The Tri-County Network has had a number of successes in addition to its events, including having one of its members, Lisa L’Huillier, serve as state network president.  In addition, it has raised over $7,500 for local charities and raised awareness of the role women play in positions of leadership in the north country.

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

Housing Then and Now: Trends in buying and selling across 35 years

Lance Evans

In December, I gave you some of the highlights of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 35th Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. When NAR released its first profile in 1981, mortgage rates were over four times higher than they are today, and first-time buyers made up a much larger share of overall sales.  While many home buyer and seller behaviors and preferences have changed, some have remained constant over the last 35 years.

                “When the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers made its debut in 1981, consumers and Realtors navigated a much different real estate landscape. The internet hadn’t been invented and the average monthly mortgage rate was 15.12 percent,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “One important constant during this time has been the Realtor’s role as the leading advocate for homeownership and a trusted expert in helping buyers and sellers close the deal.”

                With the recent release of the 2016 survey, it’s a great time to look at some of the data and trends in this year’s edition and how they stack up to the last three-and-a-half decades.

                The quickening pace of home sales over the past year included a small rebound from two key segments of buyers who have been missing in action in recent years: first-time buyers and single women.

                After slipping for three straight years, the share of sales to first-time home buyers in the 2016 survey ticked up to 35 percent, which is the highest since 2013 – when it was 38 percent – and a revival from the near 30-year low of 32 percent in 2015. In the 35-year history of NAR’s survey, the long-term average of first-time buyer transactions is 40 percent. 

                Married couples once again made up the largest share of buyers (at 66 percent) and had the highest income of $99,200. However, the survey revealed that single women made up more of the buyer share than in recent years, based on household composition. “After falling to 15 percent of buyers a year ago, which tied the lowest share since 2002, single females represented 17 percent of total purchases, the highest since 2011 at 18 percent,” noted Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors President Vickie Staie. “Thirty-five years ago, single females represented 11 percent of purchases.”

                Despite the internet’s growing popularity over the past 20 years, buyers and sellers continue to seek a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. “In NAR’s 2016 survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. This has brought for-sale-by-owner transactions down to 8 percent, their lowest share ever for the second year in a row,” said Ms. Staie.

                Since NAR’s inaugural survey, consumer preferences have evolved and housing costs have gotten more expensive. In 1981, the typical buyer purchased a 1,700-square-foot home costing $70,000 ($201,376 in inflation-adjusted dollars). In the 2016 survey, purchased homes were typically 1,650 square feet and cost $182,500.

                In 1989, when NAR started collecting buyer data on down payments, first-time homebuyers financed their purchase with a 10 percent down payment and repeat buyers financed a loan with a 23 percent down payment. As low-down-payment mortgage programs entered the marketplace and credit standards eased, the typical amount of money put down fell to as low as 2 percent for first-time buyers both in 2005 and 2006. “For repeat buyers, the smallest median down payment was 13 percent both in 2012 and 2014, which is likely due to reduced equity in the home that was sold,” observed Ms. Gilson.

                In recent years, down payment amounts have remained mostly unchanged, coming in at 6 percent for first-time buyers the last two surveys and either 13 percent or 14 percent for repeat buyers in the past four surveys. 

                Contact a member of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors (jlbor.com) or the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors (slcmls.com) to connect with a Realtor to learn more about buying or selling a property.

 

Home sales and median price rise in north country last quarter

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY BUSINESS
36114 County Route 46,Theresa, NY 13691 is a cabin on the Indian River.

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National Radon Action Month, Realtors Give Back in Their Communities

  

Lance Evans

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month.   The EPA notes that “Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.”

   Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into your home from the ground.   It is the second most common cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  Basements or any area with protrusions into the ground offer entry points for radon.  Radon tests can determine if high levels are present.

   The EPA suggests testing your home for radon during January.   You can purchase a kit and do it yourself or hire a professional.   In New York state, the Department of Health (www.health.ny.gov) has a list of certified radon testers on their site.  In addition, state residents can fill out a form and mail it with $11, to the department and receive a test kit in the mail.   There is other radon related information on the site also.


   During December, both the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors and the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors raised money and awareness for local charities.

    In the early part of the month, both held their annual holiday parties that included fundraisers for their respective community service funds.

    On December 8, the St. Lawrence County Board distributed $2100 to the Neighborhood Centers in Canton, Gouverneur, Massena, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Waddington.   The Centers are overseen by the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.   Each center has a food pantry and assists with food and other emergencies such as utilities, fuel, and shelter.   They work with families in the area of family development, budgeting, education, and job search. Similarly, the funds raised from the Jefferson-Lewis Board’s event went to support the Salvation Army, the Watertown Urban Mission, and other area charities.   In addition, offices served as collection points for toiletries, food, and clothing that were distributed to the Jefferson County Children’s Home, Salvation Army, and Urban Mission.

   On the 13th and 14th of December, Realtor members from both associations assisted at several area events.   The St. Lawrence County membership volunteered their time at the seventh annual “Lights on the River” in Lisbon on December 13th.   While there, they collected donations of canned goods and cash and helped direct the visitors viewing the displays.   Contributions from the visitors go to about a dozen food pantries throughout the county.   In its first six years, the event raised more than $100,000 and contributed approximately 28,000 pounds of food to area pantries.

   December 14th saw Jefferson-Lewis Realtors brave the winds and snows to man some of the Salvation Army kettles in Watertown and LeRay.   Members were helping the Salvation Army reach its goal of $115,000.

   As you can see, Realtors do more than just work with buyers and sellers.   They live in the communities and give back to the communities too.   In addition to these charitable efforts, Realtors work all year volunteering their time and energy with various charities and community organizations.      


   During the respective holiday parties, the 2017 Board of Directors of each Association was installed.   The role of the Board of Directors is to oversee the Association and set overall policy and direction.

   The St. Lawrence County Board will be led by Debbie Gilson. Other officers will include Cheryl Yelle (Vice President), Doug Hawkins (Secretary), and Amanda Kingsbury (Treasurer).   Directors will be Gail Abplanalp, Joel Howie, and Richard J. Wood.  Rounding out the Board are Brittany Matott, State Director and Korleen Spilman, Immediate Past President.      

     Leading the Jefferson-Lewis Board will be Vickie Staie.   The rest of the officers will be Alfred Netto (President-Elect), Britt Abbey (Vice President), Mary Adair (Treasurer), Nancy Rome (Recording Secretary), and Lisa Lowe (Corresponding Secretary).  Directors include Tyler Lago, Elizabeth Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cindy Moyer, and Randy Raso.

 

NAR releases 2016 buyers profile

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the 35th edition of its survey of buyers and sellers. This yearly sampling was based on homes sold between July 2015 and June 2016 and had 5,465 responses.

The median age of all buyers was forty-four and had a gross household income of $88,500. Two-thirds were married, seventeen percent were single females, seven percent were single males, and eight percent were unmarried couples. About a third of all buyers had children at home and fourteen percent owned a second home.

This year’s survey convincingly proved once again that the two most popular resources for buyers remain the internet — 95 percent — and real estate agents — 92 percent. Despite a record high 51 percent of buyers saying they found the home they purchased online, most buyers who used the internet still ended up purchasing their home through an agent — 90 percent.

Of interest to residents in our area, nationally 2 percent of all buyers or their spouses were active duty military and 18 percent were veterans. The active duty buyer is 35 years old, most likely to buy a previously owned home, and half were first-time buyers. Fifty-seven percent rented a house or apartment immediately prior to their home purchase.

Buyers who were military veterans had an average age of 59 and 82 percent had owned previously. However, only 36 percent owned a home immediately prior to purchasing. Eighty-two percent bought a detached single-family home.

In terms of sellers, 89 percent of respondents used a real estate agent. Additionally, 85 percent indicated that they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend him or her to others. The typical seller is 54 years old, with a household income of $100,700, and has owned their home for 10 years.


Members of the Jefferson-Lewis and the St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors joined nearly 20,000 colleagues, industry leaders, and real estate experts from the U.S. and abroad at the 2016 Realtors Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida from Nov. 3 to 7.

This year’s conference theme, “Educate, Innovate, Celebrate,” encouraged Realtors to educate themselves on market trends and key real estate issues, learn about the latest technologies and innovations affecting the industry, and celebrate another year of positive growth. Realtors had the opportunity to make professional contacts from across the globe, as well as attend educational and informational sessions featuring nationally recognized presenters, trainers, and industry experts.

Among the panelists and speakers were Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, who shared the latest outlook for residential and commercial real estate markets; Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Jim Parrott, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama and senior fellow at the Urban Institute; Brian Montgomery, former Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and vice chairman of the Collingwood Group; Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com; Howard Fineman, global editorial director at the Huffington Post; Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group; and senior staff from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Flood Insurance Program. One of the highlights was the keynote given by retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell.

Throughout the week, Realtors participated in 100-plus conference sessions, workshops, forums, and classes on a broad range of real estate issues to help prepare themselves and their businesses for 2017. This is one of the many ways Realtors raise their professionalism and skills through specialized knowledge and expertise. Tri-County attendees were Sue Brashaw, Carolyn Gaebel, Debbie Gilson, Lisa L’Huillier, Brittany Matott, Randy Raso, Sue Raso, Jennifer Stevenson, and me.

During the conference, Bill Brown, a second-generation Realtor from Oakland, Calif., was installed as the 2017 NAR President. “In 2017, Realtors will work to keep the issues affecting homeownership  —  whether it be defending the mortgage interest deduction or fighting for more affordable financing  —  a priority on our nation’s public policy agenda,” said Brown. “Realtors are here to encourage our leaders to put forward policies that put the American dream of homeownership within reach for every American whose goal is to own their own home.”

 

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

November Real Estate Roundup: A century of the Realtor trademark

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the term “Realtor” by the National Association of Realtors. It was trademarked in 1916 to identify members of the association, a revolutionary group of individuals deeply committed to integrity, community and protecting the American dream of home ownership.

The terms “Realtor” and “Realtors” are trademarks that, along with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013, set members apart from other real estate licensees. Realtors subscribe to NAR’s strict ethics code as a condition of membership.

The term Realtor is not a generic term. It is not synonymous with “real estate agent.” There are more than 1.84 million active licensed real estate professionals in the U.S. with 1.1 million of them as members of NAR. Realtors work in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Realtors have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in residential and commercial real estate specialties. Members are industry innovators. They’re on the cutting edge of technology to better serve consumers, and they have helped bring real estate technologies into the home-buying and selling process to facilitate and streamline today’s real estate transactions.

The more than 500 brokers, appraisers and salespeople who are members of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors are members of NAR as part of their membership. Remember, not everyone who sells or appraises real estate is a Realtor, only those who are members of NAR can claim that distinction.


The Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter held its sixth annual Jefferson-Lewis “Top Producer” event sponsored by Carthage Federal Savings and Loan, Community Bank, N.A., Gouverneur Savings and Loan, Homestead Funding, Key Bank, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and Northern Credit Union on Oct. 20. Members were honored in sales and rental categories based on the number of units sold or rented between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.

The chapter honored Rob Moyer as the Realtor who sold the most units and Rhonda Rogers as the Realtor who was the top rental agent.

The rest of the Realtors in terms of units sold, alphabetically, were: Britton Abbey, Roger Abbey, Mary Adair, Lois Aubin, Joy Baker, Marcia Brooks, Sara Bulger, Vicki Bulger, Patricia Calhoun, Walter Christensen, Libby Churchill, Kathy Cook, Katherine Couch, Melanie Curley, Linda Donaldson, Carole Dunbar, Randy Durham, William Elliott, Kenneth Erb, Cathy Fiacco-Garlock, Jennifer Flynn, Matthew Garlock, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Lori Gervera, Marsha Gibbons, Janet Handschuh, Les Henry, Jeffery Jones, Amy Kenney, Suzanne Krouse, Barry Kukowski, Jacqueline Ladue, Lisa L’Huillier, Donna Loucks, Lisa Lowe, Brenda Malone, Amanda Mattimore, Erin Meyer, Amanda Miller, Elizabeth Miller, Gail Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cynthia Moyer, Bambi Norman, Timothy Nortz, Lorie O’Brien, Doris Olin, Deborah Peebles, Karen Peebles, Lori Porter, Jeff Powell, Tammy Queior, Maxine Quigg, Desiree Roberts, GaylaRoggie, Nancy Rome, Jill Rosette, Jason Smith, Vickie Staie, Nicholas Sterling, John Stevens, Barry Stewart, Nancy Storino-Farney, Bernard Sturr, and Jennifer Waite.

In addition to Ms. Rogers, the top Realtors for rentals, alphabetically, were: Clifford Bennett III, Daniel Conlin, James Conlin, Sonia Conlin, Carolyn Gaebel, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Daniel Gibeau, Michael Hall, Nicole Lajoie, Micah Matteson, Sandra Rowland, and Lisa Spear Woodward.

 


Nina Amadon, New York State Women’s Council of Realtors governor, and Lisa L’Huillier, state president, installed the 2017 Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter officers during the Top Producer event. Leadership includes Carolyn Gaebel, Bridgeview Real Estate, president; Alfred Netto, Weichert Realtors Thousand Islands Realty, president-elect; Wendy-Jane Smith, Cross Keys Real Estate, vice president of membership; Jumana McManus, Hunt Real Estate ERA, secretary; Lance Evans, Board of Realtors, treasurer.

Costlier home sales fuel Q3 prices

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES The house at 207 Elm Street sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
The house at 207 Elm Street sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

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Jefferson, St. Lawrence median home prices up last quarter, but sales figures down in Lewis County

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES The house at 215 Butterfield Avenue sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
The house at 215 Butterfield Avenue sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

By MARCUS WOLF
MWOLF@WDT.NET

Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties in the third quarter of the year, but a loss of employment opportunities in Lewis County decreased the median price and kept the number of houses sold relatively flat.

The number of houses sold in Jefferson County increased last quarter by 80 units, or 33 percent, from 246 to 326, according to the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors. The median home price in Jefferson County also increased by $2,875, or 1.9 percent, from $148,625 to $151,500, and the median number of days on the market for a house increased by 30 days, or 49.2 percent, from 61 to 91.

Randy T. Raso, president of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, said the proposed missile defense site at Fort Drum encouraged more prospective home buyers to purchase homes in the area, driving up home sales last quarter.

“A lot of folks hear things like that and their first thought is, ‘Should I invest in this area?’” Mr. Raso said. “I have worked with people overseas … who are interested in investing in the area.”

Foreclosed properties that investors purchased earlier this year were put back on the market and sold at higher prices, Mr. Raso said, raising both the number of units sold and the median price. For instance, a developer would renovate a house valued at $100,000 at the time of purchase and resell it for $30,000 to $40,000 more.

“They are buying them up as a deal and are fixing them to make more of a profit,” he said. “So that raised the median price. Not only does that help the city and the area, but it also increases the value of the home.”

Lance M. Evans, executive officer of both the Jefferson-Lewis and St. Lawrence boards, said that brokers sold more single-family, year-around homes at higher prices and waterfront summer cottages last quarter. For example, one Realtor, Mr. Evans said, sold a $999,999 cottage in Henderson.

“The bottom line is that in the north country real estate market … homes are still priced nicely and interest rates are still low,” he said.

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES The house at 1028 Holcomb Street sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
The house at 1028 Holcomb Street sold above median price for the area. Incentives driven by economic development and home buyers purchasing more expensive homes increased the number of homes sold in Jefferson County and the median price in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence County last quarter.(Wolf story)

Compared with 2015, home sales from January to September this year increased in Jefferson County by 96 units, or 15.7 percent, from 611 to 707. The median price for homes for the nine-month period in Jefferson County, however, decreased by $27,700, or 18 percent, from $154,000 to $126,300. The median number of days on the market is also up from 2015 by 16 days, or 21 percent, from 77 to 93.

Mr. Raso said investors were less likely to purchase properties in the city of Watertown while the City Council discussed Councilman Stephen A. Jennings’s proposed rental registration and inspection law. Under its initial version proposed in August, the law would have required landlords, including ones who operated outside of Jefferson County, to register all of their properties with the city and have them inspected once every three years.

“Investors felt like they were being penalized for a few people who did not take care of their properties in the area,” Mr. Raso said. “It put a lot of folks on hold.”

In St. Lawrence County, the number of units sold last quarter decreased from the same time in 2015 by 25 units, or 11.7 percent, from 214 to 189, according to the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. The median price, however, increased by $12,880, or 14.2 percent, from $91,000 to $103,880, and the median number of days on the market was down last quarter by six days, or 7 percent, from 88 to 82.

Debra J. Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence Board of Realtors and a broker for County Seat Realty, said that having a low inventory in areas such as Canton and Potsdam could have caused a decrease in sales, although some areas such as Massena still have an overabundance of units on the market. While the number of units sold was slightly down, Mrs. Gilson said, waterfront property purchases drove up the median price last quarter.

“And of course, interest rates are at an all-time low,” she said.

The number of units sold from January to September this year increased from 2015 in St. Lawrence County by 15 units, or 3.2 percent, from 466 to 481. The median price increased from the same period in 2015 by $1,750, or 2 percent, from $87,250 to $89,000, and the median number of days was up by five days, or 5 percent, from 99 to 104.

Lewis County home sales remained relatively flat last quarter compared with the third quarter in 2015, decreasing by only four units, or 6.3 percent, from 64 to 60, according to the Jefferson-Lewis County Board of Realtors. The median price also decreased in Lewis County by $22,750, or 16.5 percent, from $137,750 to $115,000, and the median number of days on the market dropped by 35 days, or 31.3 percent, from 112 to 77.

The number of units sold from January to September this year increased from 2015 in Lewis County by two units, or 1.3 percent, 143 to 145. The median price for 2016, however, decreased from 2015 by $14,500, or 12.2 percent, from $119,000 to $104,500, and the median number of days on the market dropped by 34 days, or 27 percent, from 128 to 94.

When Climax Packaging, Lowville, closed in April and laid off 157 workers, Mr. Raso said that slowed the economy and caused a drop in both sales and the median price last quarter. For this year, Mr. Raso said, an overall lack of employment opportunities in the county affected the median price and number of units sold.

September 2016: Top Transactions

The following property sales were recorded in the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office in August:

$665,000: Aug. 30, Town of Watertown: Four parcels, 0.5548 acres, 231-233 Goodale St., Franklin St., 26-44 Public Square and 124-132 Franklin St., Myron Kehoe, Watertown, Kehick Development LLC, East Syracuse, and Kehoe Development LLC, East Syracuse, sold to Watertown Holdings LLC, Watertown.

$460,000: Aug. 19, Town of Orleans: Two parcels, 1.581 acres, Lake of the Isles, Fred H. Shafer and Primrose M. Shafer, Wellesley Island, sold to Todd W. Cowman and Cindy Bowman, Camden.

$450,000: Aug. 19, Village of Alexandria Bay: 0.545 acres, 5 Fuller St., 5 Fuller St., LLC, Alexandria Bay, sold to CF Coffeen LLC, Alexandria Bay.

$325,000: Aug. 18, town of Clayton: No acreage listed, Lot. No. 4, Block No. 1, Roosevelt Highway Tract, Darcy J Joncas, Taveres, Fla., sold to Potter Boulevard LLC, Clayton.

$303,000: Aug. 8, Town of Orleans: 0.5 acres, Clayton-Alexandria Bay Road, Martin W. Ham, Roanoke, Va., as trustee of the Philip W. Ham and Janice P. Ham Revocable Living Trust Agreement, sold to Mark G. Nowak, Syracuse.

$300,000: Aug. 5, Town of Clayton: 0.13 acres, 538 Riverside Drive, 538 Water Street Corp., Clayton, sold to Village of Clayton, Clayton.

$279,000: Aug. 2, Town of LeRay: 11.49 acres, County Route 16, Nicholas O. Sherwood by his attorney, Karen Ernest, Watertown, and Stephanie L. Sherwood, Evans Mills, sold to Jeffrey D. Foster and Amebr R. Foster, Middletown, R.I.

$275,000: Aug. 2, Town of Watertown: 3.7 acres, town road from Burrville to Middle Road, J. Patrick Campbell and Debra Campbell, Watertown, sold to David C. Meade and Joelle R. Meade, Watertown.

$275,000: Aug. 17, Town of LeRay: 0.504 acres, Lot No. 19, Riverbend Estates, state Route 3, Christopher Sean Cannon and Amanda M. Cannon, Watertown, sold to Peter M. Ward and Lauren A. Ward, Columbia, S.C.

$268,500: Aug. 11, Town of LeRay: 0.573 acres, Cullen Drive, Jason E. Walters and Heather Walters, Watertown, sold to Kevin G. Bischof and Erica L. Bischof, Watertown.

The following property sales were recorded in the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s Office in August:

$450,000: Aug. 9, Village of Potsdam: Parcel 1) 0.64 of an acre more or less, Parcel 2) Unknown acres, bounded by Market and Garden streets, Parcel 3) Unknown acres, bounded by Pierrepont Ave., Parcel 4) 2.97 acres more or less, bounded by Elm St., B.H. Properties Inc., Potsdam, sold to Clark R. Porter, Gouverneur.

$400,000: Aug. 2, Town of Canton: 4 acres more or less, Lot 1, bounded by Ames Road, Neil J. St. Andrews Jr., Colton, sold to The Bicknell Corporation, Potsdam.

$365,000: Aug. 12, Town of Waddington: 0.353 of an acre more or less, bounded by St. Lawrence River Road, Westbrook Bates and Olga Margaret Roman Bates, Waddington, sold to David W. and Julie F. McBath, Waddington.

$350,000: Aug. 11, Village of Norwood: Parcel 1) 0.415 of an acre more or less, bounded by River Street, Parcel 2) 0.54 of an acre more or less, bounded by Spring Street, Parcel 3) 0.292 of an acre more or less, bounded by Spring Street, also in Town of Potsdam: Parcel 1) 0.126 of an acre more or less, Mile Square 10, bounded by Spring Street, Marisa G Perry (executor), Jennifer L Kain, Standish, sold to Gilchrist IV Enterprises LLC, Norwood.
$337,500: Aug. 8, Town of Waddington: 0.345 of an acre more or less, bounded by River Road, Terry K. and Esther M. Alsup, Waddington, sold to Troy F. and Erin E. Groebler, Brasher Falls.

$249,000: Aug. 1, Town of Potsdam: 1.5 acres more or less, Miel Square 68, bounded by Outer Main Street, Christopher and Teresa Stone, Potsdam, sold to Anthony K. And Kristen S. Betrus, Potsdam.

$245,000: Aug. 8, Town of Morristown: 0.75 of an acre more or less, Lot 35, bounded by Blackstone Bay Road East, Marjorie Hamann, Rochester, sold to Dennis and luAnne Murphy, Morristown.

$227,000: Aug. 1, Town of Canton: 16.298 acres more or less, bounded by Hale’s Lot, Joseph L. and Normadine D. Kennedy, Daytona Beach, Fla., sold to Steven G. and Cara Dodge Coffin, Lisbon.

$225,000: Aug. 1, Town of Hammond: 3 acres more or less, bounded ny Little Chippewa Point, Richard and Linda Johnson, Rochester, sold to Little Chippewa Point, LLC, N.Y.

$183,350: Aug. 1, Town of Pierrepont: 0.6678 of an acre more or less, bound by the Underhill Drive, Kelly P. Bush, Hannawa Falls, sold to Richard N. Raymondville.