Home buyers in Capital Region on the uptick

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. — Residential real estate buyers are beginning to return in full force this spring, a recent update from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors reported.

“The competition is fierce for well-priced homes in desirable locations,” the report said. “As prices continue to gain traction the median sales price in the Capital Region increased five percent to $214,946 with the percent of original list price received landing at about 95 percent.”

In Rensselaer County, the median residential home sale price for April was lower than the region $187,600, down by six percent when compared to April 2018.

Across the river in Albany County, $225,000 was the median sales price.

The Capital Region’s median sale price for new construction increased three percent to $389,347, which puts purchasing new construction just out of reach for many in the area, the report said.

The time on the market remains at less than three months for existing and new construction homes.

Inventory is still a concern throughout the Capital Region as it strains to keep pace in the most competitive price ranges. New listings in the Capital Region decreased three percent to 1,973 as compared to last April.

Hampered by the inclement weather, new construction listings was down 18 percent compared to April 2018. Pending sales followed with a 12 percent decrease to 1,151 for the month. The number of closed sales came in at 898 for the month; a dip of five percent over April 2018.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said he is not overly concerned about the dip in sales and expects moderate growth very soon. “We are still seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with a pent-up demand to buy, so buyers and sellers will look to take advantage of these conditions,” he said in the report.

In April the national unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent, the lowest level since 1969. A historically low unemployment rate can provide reassurance to consumers, the GCAR report said, noting that wage growth is expected to follow suit.

Rising consumer confidence and reduced borrowing costs will bring new buyers seeking start-up or move-up homes into the Capital Region housing market, the report predicted, but it’s uncertain if their needs will be met with a median price of new construction at nearly $400,000.

Published in the Troy Record.

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