The Business Review by Michael DeMasi, Reporter
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 2:47pm EDT
The improvement in the Albany, New York, regional housing market will continue, judging by the comments today from the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.
Lawrence Yun told Realtors gathered at a forum in Washington, D.C., for the trade group’s mid-year legislative meeting that positive underlying factors in the national economy are helping drive demand in new and existing homes.
“Historically high housing affordability conditions, ongoing job creation, a solid stock market recovery, rising rents, a larger pool of qualified renters, a pent-up demand and improving confidence are drawing buyers to the market,” Yun said, according to a statement released by the NAR.
“We just finished the strongest first quarter for home sales in five years, pending contracts are pointing to a strong second quarter, and the favorable conditions are helping the economy recover from an unusual slowdown in household formation in recent years with more young people now leaving their parents’ homes,” Yun added.
In New York, the state Labor Department reported today 335,100 private-sector jobs have been added since the recession ended in November 2009.
The state’s private-sector job count now stands at 7,319,600—an all-time high.
Locally, closed sales of homes through the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service were up 11 percent through the first three months of the year, and the median sale price was up 4 percent, to $181,500.
Pending sales, a sign of future contracts, were up 30 percent compared to the first three months of 2011.
Results for April will be released next week.
Yun forecasts 4.6 to 4.7 million existing-home sales in the U.S. in 2012, up from 4.26 million last year, and additional improvement in 2013 with sales rising to the range of 4.7 million to 4.8 million.
Despite the positive signs, Yun said the recovery has been slowed, in part, by more stringent mortgage lending standards.
“Banks are hoarding cash, possibly from regulatory uncertainties and lawsuits,” he said.
DeMasi covers real estate, construction, retail and hospitality.