The slump that dogged the Capital Region’s housing market throughout last year has followed it into 2008, leading to a 20 percent drop in sales in January, according to statistics released today by the Greater Capital Association of Realtors.
The greater Capital Region ended last month with 490 closed single-family sales, down from 610 a year earlier. The downturn was most pronounced in Albany County, where sales plunged 36 percent to 112. January’s results marked the softest sales activity local Realtors have posted in more than five years.
The sobering sales statistics had association officials pointing to one of the local market’s remaining bright spots: home values. The area’s median sale price inched up 1 percent to $191,750. But most of that increase came from a surprising price spurt in Saratoga County, which had seen home values decline or stay flat for most of 2007.
The county’s median sale price last month rose by 4 percent to $250,000. The median sale price dropped by 1 percent in Albany County and remained flat in Schenectady and Rensselaer counties.
January’s results indicate that last year’s sluggishness will persist well into 2008. Even GCAR Chief Executive Officer James Ader said “We don’t know when the housing market will start to become more active, nor do we have a crystal ball which will forecast housing values.”
Last year, area home sales fell 8 percent to 9,726 from 2006’s record high. The area’s median sale price for 2007 rose 2 percent to $192,500.
Single-family home sales took a similar dive in January on a national scale. U.S. home sales declined 22.4 percent to 4.34 million, compared to a year earlier. During the same period, the nation’s median sale price fell 5.1 percent to $198,700, according to statistics also released today by the National Association of Realtors, a Washington trade organization.