Albany-area housing slump “slowly coming to an end,” Realtors say

Home sales in the Albany, New York, region continued to improve in July, a trend that the area’s largest Realtors group said shows “the housing slump is slowly coming to an end.”

Closed sales of new and existing single-family homes increased 4 percent in July compared to a year ago, and sales are up 12 percent for the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2011, according to the Greater Capital Association of Realtors.

A total of 716 homes sold in July, based on the preliminary report. There were 4,338 sales year-to-date.

The figures are typically revised upward as some agents report their sales after the monthly report is compiled.

The median sale price in July increased 4 percent, to $200,000, and the average price increased 3 percent, to $230,278.

The median is the point at which half the sales were more and half were less. It is considered a better gauge of the overall market than the average.

The report is based on sales through the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service. The CRMLS spans 11 counties, but most sales are in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties.

Another positive sign: pending sales in July increased 13 percent. Pending sales measures the number of contracts signed, rather than the number of closed sales. Since it typically takes about two months for a contract to proceed to a closing, it looks as if the rebound will continue.

“It appears safe to say that increased sales are now a trend,” GCAR Chief Executive OfficerJames Ader said, “a trend we expect to continue through year end.”

Increased demand, a smaller inventory of homes for sale, historically low mortgage interest rates and improved consumer confidence are factors driving the improvement in the local real estate market.

Even with the turnaround, the market is still considerably softer than during the boom years of the mid-2000s. In 2007, for instance, there were 5,549 homes sold during the first seven months of the year, or 28 percent more than this year.

Unlike other areas of the country where prices dropped by double digits during the recession, Albany-area home values did not suffer as much. The median price year-to-date in 2007 was $191,900, compared to $189,900 today.

Here are the results in July for the four largest counties:

• Albany: pending sales up 23 percent; closed sales up 7 percent; average price up 1 percent to $247,805; median price up 5 percent to $219,900

• Rensselaer: pending sales up 18 percent; closed sales down 1 percent; average price down 7 percent to $182,547; median price down 8 percent to $166,000

Saratoga: pending sales up 2 percent; closed sales up 4 percent; average price up 2 percent to $287,266; median price up 5 percent to $265,000

Schenectady: pending sales up 2 percent; closed sales up 6 percent; average price up 12 percent to $202,539; median price up 3 percent to $179,000

Written by : Michael Demasi – The Business Review

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NY bred horses top the auction results

This August, the horse sales at the Fasig Tipton pavilion produced excellent results for NY bred horse stables.  The Business review recently reported the this year was a record sale year since the worst of the recession.  The increase in exposure from Video lottery terminals at various race tracks around the state has had a positive impact in the thoroughbred industry as projected.  Perhaps these improved market conditions are a sign that investors will become enthusiastic about NY equine facilities again as well.  The pace of sales for NY horse farms has been slow over the past couple of years, but this sign may be the start of a turn


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State to Buy 69,000 Acres in Adirondacks

New York State is acquiring the biggest chunk of land in the Adirondacks in more than a century.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sunday the acquisition of 69,000 acres that he said would preserve a significant portion of the upper Hudson River watershed.

Mr. Cuomo said the $49.8 million purchase would bolster state tourism, with new destinations for those who love water sports, hiking, hunting and snowmobiling. He said it would be the first time the land had been open for public use in 150 years.

The land is being sold to the state over a five-year period by the Nature Conservancy, which bought a 161,000-acre timberland property in 2007, managing much of it with the intent to protect the land.