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All figures courtesy of the New York Association of Realtors
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Orleans County Values
Economic Values
Family Values




Economics of Orleans County Land Valuation

There are still plenty of intelligent people in Orleans County who remember scoffing at land prices as high as $50 an acre. The idea of a house in the village of Holley selling for as much as $10,000 seemed ludicrous. They never thought it would happen.

But it did, back in the mid 1950's. A post-war back-to-the-land movement drove the price of a small farm of 200 acres up to the $10,000 mark by about 1955, and the old-timers were proved wrong. By the mid-1970's that same amount of money would buy you a three-acre lot on one of the side roads. Today, it's not unusual to pay about that much for an improved building lot of less than an acre.

Land values in Orleans county show the conflict between the historical use of the land and the new wave of rural gentrification. Historically, most of the cleared land in Orleans County has been been devoted to agriculture, and farming remains an important land use (12% of the land in Orleans County is tilled).

Nonetheless, the completion of Route 531 and other factors has brought us thousands of families-- one sees new residential construction everywhere in what used to be thought of as "remote farm communities". This has brought the median price of housing up quite a bit more sharply in Orleans County than either Monroe or Niagara Counties:

County 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 Change
Orleans 54,580 55,000 56,200 58,570 66,820 +14.1%
Monroe 90,300 89,920 91,260 92,520 94,440 +2.1%
Niagara 82,870 77,410 83,830 83,030 89,510 +.3%

It's worth noting that, of 38 New York State Real Estate Boards reporting, only 5 had increases greater than those in Orleans County. What these figures mean is that the average Orleans County home-buyer would have seen the value of his home go up faster and further than those investing in either of the more urban areas. For example, a house purchased in Orleans County in 1994 for $100,000 would be worth about $12,000 more than a similar house purchased in Monroe County, and worth almost $14,000 than one in Niagara County. How these trends will continue into the new century remains to be seen, but today's dollars are working harder in Orleans County than almost anywhere else in the state.

Family Values in Orleans County

Just as our history has been dominated by farming, so has our local culture. Those traditional family values one associates with Norman Rockwell and the phrase "rugged individualism" work hard here, and so do most of the people (especially those who keep on farming). Where people are industrious, you can expect the crime rate to be lower and the performance of students to be higher. Thousands of families have migrated to Orleans County in the past few decades hoping to find exactly these ideals. They stay here because, for the most part, they've found them.

Supporting these values is a structure of churches with strong ecumenical appeal, a great system of libraries and, most important, an excellent system of public and parochial schools. Orleans County graduated its first National Merit Scholarship winner in 1965-- a young man who went on to become one of the insightful minds of his generation-- and others have followed. The figures change from year to year, but a higher percentage of rural high school graduates generally make it to college than their urban cousins. We like to think this may be because the lifestyle here attracts (and keeps) a higher quality of teacher, and because of the presence of a great university in nearby Brockport.

But not everybody in the western Frontier fits exactly the same little box. These friendly communities welcome an eclectic mix of artists, writers, students and just-plain eccentrics. There's room enough for all of us, and if privacy is your priority, you've certainly found your spot. There's room to grow out here-- and that's what Early Sunrise Realty LLC is all about.

Inside some of these old-fashioned houses are some new-fashioned people.