By Albert J. Picchi
Vice President & General Manager for the Capital Region offices of RealtyUSA
The Capital Region real estate market has continued to rebound nicely from the somewhat challenging years that we faced from 2007-2010. While we didn’t see the boom market that other areas of the country saw in the early 2000’s, that has also allowed us to avoid the deep reduction in prices that some markets realized in 2007-2010. In fact, if we look at 2013 and compare it to 2007 we see that the median price of a home has recovered nicely from the rollback we saw when the housing market nationally started its slide. In 2007, the year which experienced the highest median sales price until 2013, that barometer measured $192,500. In 2013 the median price has rebounded to a new, slightly higher point of $195,000. Certainly our market didn’t suffer losses in equity like many parts of the country, but what we did lose has been adequately recovered.
The market has also switched from a buyer’s market to a more balanced market. We have continued to see shortages in listing inventory at moderate price ranges, from $150,000- $350,000. Well-priced homes in this price range seem to be selling quickly, often with multiple offers on the same property.
Economically, we have been fortunate to attract employers to the market in the nanotechnology field both in Saratoga and Albany counties. The growth of Global Foundries and the nano-sciences at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering continue to help create a world-class technology hub right here in the Capital Region. This will also help to fuel the growth in the housing market as these entities bring more employees to the area. On the negative side, we continue to see some erosion of the workforce at the state level, and while the private sector has continued to expand, we can expect to see that governmental workforce reduction continue to some degree.
As we move into 2014 I expect the housing market to be very stable. While many economists predict that the national housing market will remain flat, the Capital Region is poised to see continued growth in both pricing and number of homes sold. It is realistic that in 2014 we will see price appreciation in the range of 4-6%, which would put the median price of a home in this market over $200,000.
New construction will also continue to rebound nicely as it has in 2013. Projects in desirable locations and at good price points are selling well and this trend should continue. The higher end of the market is also showing some nice signs of improving and as we continue to attract new employees in the technology sector this segment of the market should hopefully continue to improve.
Our overall supply of inventory (homes available for sale) currently stands at around a 10-month supply. However, as mentioned earlier, those homes in the more moderate price range are at a much lower supply level and we will continue to see this segment of the market remain strong as we move into 2014.
The market should continue to remain a balanced market, which means that there is ample inventory available and enough buyers looking to purchase so that one side of the market isn’t dominating the other. The average days that a home remains on the market is around 80 days and this will likely continue to decrease as we move into next year. Those houses that are priced at market value and that have been updated to what consumers are looking for today are moving the quickest, often with multiple offers When looking for a home, new construction and resale homes should both be considered depending on the needs of the homeowner and the timing of getting into the home.