With the mild winter, low interest rates and a boost in consumer confidence, housing sales this spring increased in the county.
According to information from the state Association of Realtors, the number of houses that closed during the month of April increased 20 percent from March sales. Also, when 60 houses were sold in April it also represented a 20 percent increase over the number of properties sold in April 2011.
''I think people are feeling more comfortable. There is a feeling that there is stability in the market,'' said Donna Breen, Chautauqua County Board of Realtors president. ''Interest rates are still low. It is hard not to buy.''
Breen said the mild weather this winter factored into more houses being sold compared to typical years when Western New York experiences icy temperatures and an abundance of snow.
''I think we maintained a constant stream through the winter this year, and we picked up the spring market sooner,'' she said. ''When you see April closing numbers increasing by 20 percent, it reflects on January and February sales.''
Breen said realtors are hoping the positive sales will continue into the summer months, with good weather for local people looking at new homes and for visitors, who reside outside of the area, looking to purchase summer housing.
''We feel the tourism industry appears to be on the rebound. (Sales on) vacation homes in Chautauqua and on the lake are increasing,'' she said. ''The local economy, the manufacturing sector, seems to be doing better. They are all hiring people. There is a level of comfort. People are feeling more secure.''
The state April housing market also showed growth in sales compared to a year ago. New York realtors sold 5,233 existing single-family homes during April, an increase of 2.3 percent from April 2011.
''The news continues to be positive for the state's housing market,'' said Duncan R. MacKenzie, state Association of Realtors chief executive officer. ''After speaking with realtors from across the state, there is a strong sense that the market has turned the corner.''