New York State’s Housing Hangover
Jim Hanas Sept. 23, 2010, 12:53 p.m.
New research reveals that the state’s housing market is still suffering from a serious hangover after the first-time home buyer credit expired in April. But, cheer up, at least you’re not in Albany.
The good news is that statewide home sales were up slightly in August, by about 3 percent, according to a report released today. The bad news is that sales of existing single-family homes are still 30 percent below August 2009 levels, so recovery will take a while if we keep moving a few percentage points at a time.
The New York Association of Realtors blames the end of the first-time home buyer tax credit in April for this dismal state of affairs, but says moderately rising prices should signal to buyers it’s time to grab a bargain while they still can. “Price growth is a positive sign for sellers and also an indicator to buyers that the best purchase price opportunity may be today instead of further down the road,” said Duncan MacKenzie, the association’s chief executive officer.
Meanwhile, Albany home sales dropped a whopping 35 percent in August, according to another report. That comes on the heels of a 38 percent decline in July, bringing the housing market to a virtual standstill. Brokers in the area expected things would slow when the credit ended, but not that the market would “virtually freeze up,” Albany Business Review notes
So what’s up (or rather down) with the capital’s tanking housing market? “Buyers are not moving into the market as strongly as we would have anticipated,” said president Laurene Curtin, the president of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. “When they’ll return is an unknown factor.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us much. What we can tell you is that the median home price in the area is a mere $161,000. Bureaucrats and crazy high property taxes aside, that still sounds pretty tempting.