House sales in Albany area up for first time in 12 months
The Business Review - by Michael DeMasi
Date: Thursday, August 18, 2011, 9:39am EDT
The housing market in the Albany, New York, area broke a year-long streak of negative results in July as sales increased 9 percent, based on preliminary figures released today.
There were 653 closed sales in July through the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service, compared to 600 in July 2010, according to a report by the Greater Capital Association of Realtors Greater Capital Association of Realtors Latest from The Business Journals Saratoga condo sales down in first half of 2011Mortgage rates hit new lowsKeller Williams Realty opening new Saratoga Springs office Follow this company .
The increase is the first time year-over-year monthly sales results went up since June 2010. The housing market lost momentum after a federal tax credit for home buyers expired last year.
It appears the turnaround will continue. The number of pending contracts signed in July increased 29 percent, the third month in a row pending sales have gone up. Contracts are an indication of future results since it generally takes about two months for a pending sale to proceed to a closed sale.
GCAR officials pointed to the increase in pending contracts, and the stability of prices, as signs the real estate market is improving.
July’s median price, $195,000, was 1 percent lower than a year ago.
“Buyers seem to be accepting the fact that housing values will not decrease beyond where they are right now and that interest rates are unlikely to become much more attractive,” GCAR President Paul Semanek said. “While still a buyer’s market, there aren’t distressed sellers willing to sell at far below market value. It’s still not a balanced market, but it’s moving in the right direction.”
The national average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage today is 4.32 percent, according to Freddie Mac Freddie Mac Latest from The Business Journals 30-year mortgage falls to lowest rate everFeds eye data tool to detect pay discriminationCommunities offer M to finance improvements Follow this company . The national average for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 3.5 percent.
The CRMLS includes sales in 11 counties, but most occur in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties. The July results in those counties were:
Albany: closed sales up 18 percent; median price down 2 percent, $210,000
Rensselaer: closed sales up 9 percent; median price up 9 percent, $182,500
Saratoga: closed sales up 9 percent; median price down 13 percent, $256,000
Schenectady: closed sales down 1 percent; median price up 5 percent, $171,000