Capital Region housing market continues to recoverby Community Partners Realty on 10/21/12
While the number of completed sales of new and existing single-family houses edged lower in September, pending sales and both average and median prices were up, the Greater Capital Association of Realtors reported Friday. The number of new listings on the market also dropped, suggesting the inventory of houses for sale continues to tighten.
Ten fewer houses –670 compared to 680 a year ago, a 1 percent decrease — were sold during the month in the 11-county area that includes the Capital Region, the association reported. But contracts of sale were up 24 percent, the average sale price climbed 5 percent to $228,311, and the median price at which half the houses sold for more and half for less rose 7 percent to $201,000.
The contracts of sale figure “shows that buyers are returning to the market and that it is becoming less and less a market where sellers have the upper hand in the purchase process,” said Nina Amadon, the association president.
“The other indicator that a balance is returning is the median sales price of a home,” said James Ader, the association’s CEO. “While still down slightly from the high water mark set in 2007, the median price has started to appreciate.”
In the five-county metropolitan area, median sale prices ranged from $268,800 in Saratoga County to $117,300 in Schoharie County. Saratoga County’s price was up 8 percent, while Schoharie County saw an 11 percent decline from September 2011.
Here’s the county-by-county breakdown:
- Albany County: Sales fell 1 percent, pending sales rose 35 percent, the average price fell 6 percent to $221,223, and the median price was up 2 percent to $197,300.
- Rensselaer County: Sales were up 8 percent, pending sales rose 5 percent, average price rose 6 percent to $200,844, and the median price was up 5 percent to $180,200.
- Saratoga County: Sales were up 2 percent, pending sales climbed 26 percent, the average price rose 15 percent to $305,893, and the median price rose 8 percent to $268,800.
- Schenectady County: Sales fell 20 percent, pending sales rose 21 percent, the average sale price was nearly flat at $188,904, and the median price rose 10 percent to $180,000.
- Schoharie County: Sales fell 5 percent, pending sales were unchanged, average price fell 16 percent to $115,694, and the median price fell 11 percent to $117,300.
Buyers have seen some of the lowest mortgage rates on record. The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage stood at 3.37 percent this week, down from 3.39 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. That’s just slightly above the 3.36 percent record low rate reached two weeks ago.
Shorter-term mortgages were even less expensive. The rate on a 15-year mortgage fell to a record low of 2.66 percent, down from 2.7 percent last week.
“(I)f you are waiting for interest rates to drop lower you may well miss the wonderful opportunity which exists today,” said Amadon. “Prices are appreciating and interest rates just cannot get any lower.”