ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the start of a new year, buying a home might be on the minds of many, but all over the Greater Rochester Area, the housing market remains competitive.

Interest rates when buying a home remain consistent where they’ve been over the last 25 years, but in the post-pandemic era, those in real estate believe a lot of new factors have contributed to lower inventories, forcing prices to rise further out of reach from the middle class. 

Kelsey Clark of Rochester is entering her third year now of looking to buy a home. But everywhere she went, she was always outbid and forced to stay in the rental market longer than she hoped.

“I was bidding up to $30,000 over the asking price,” Clark explained. “What I found out was that was the bottom of a pile of 18 offers and the final sale price went for $70,000 over and it was an increase of $100,000 home value in four years.”

Data from Redfin shows in the past year the number of homes sold in Monroe County has dropped 20%. Lasting only eight days on the market. Real Estate Agent Angie Flack Brown explained that with nursing homes unable to accept more residents, fewer elderly homeowners are willing to sell.  

“People are bringing staff into their homes now to take care of them as an older person,” Flack Brown said. “Versus moving into a nursing home right away or senior living right away, so we’re seeing a lot of that.” 

Another new practice is more investors buying up homes, but only renting them out, or using them as an Airbnb. Keeping inventory for homebuyers low, but still driving up rent costs.  

“They are buying those properties and holding onto them and renting them,” Flack Brown continued. “But there’s also been an influx of Airbnb properties that have been purchased. I think that has a lot of to do with people moving into town and wanting to buy a house and can’t find that right away.” 

Since Kelsey’s decided to stay a renter for a couple more years, she’s noticed more demand for apartments by young people.  

“The vast majority are just kind of giving up like I am and renting for now,” Clark told us. “With that goes apartment prices going up as well.”

Despite all these new hoops to jump through, Angie Flack Brown explains there are still ways to adjust how you search for a home to land an offer.  

“Try to be flexible about different things in the home,” Flack Brown said. “Sometimes people say I don’t like the flooring, or I don’t like the wallpaper, and you might be able to get into something a little less expensive and with a little less competition if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease and make it your own.”  

At the start of this new year, Redfin calculates the median price for a single-family home in Monroe County is $197,500. The town with the most expensive options listed was Pittsford.  

Geographically the most competition and demand for homebuyers are in the suburbs. Last year, in total about 550 single-family homes were sold.