April’s home sales bested in May

The greater Capital Region’s housing market last month recovered slightly from a tumultuous April, w

The greater Capital Region’s housing market last month recovered slightly from a tumultuous April, with its home values gaining ground and its sales slump being less deep.

Closed single-family home sales regionwide fell 10 percent to 741, compared to 824 a year earlier, During the same period, the region’s median sale price rose 1 percent to S195,000, according to statistics released Thursday by the Greater Capital Association of Realtors.

May’s results lacked the widespread pricing corrections that rocked Saratoga and Albany counties a month earlier, though the smaller markets in Schenectady and Montgomery counties did see home value declines. Schenectady County’s median sale price fell 14 percent to $150,500, while it plunged 42 percent in Montgomery County to $76,500.

Saratoga County recorded a 3 percent increase in home values last month, a significant improvement from April’s 15 percent decline. Albany County’s median sale price jumped 4 percent to $205,500, almost covering April’s 6 percent decline.

For the first five months of 2008, sales regionwide were down 16 percent at 2,976, compared to a year earlier. During the same period, home values were up 1 percent at $189,900.

May’s modest gains has Realtors hoping homebuyers “are starting to get off the fence and into the market.” They are being drawn in by lower home prices and better access to affordable mortgages,” said National Association of Realtors President Richard Gaylord.

“Closed sales this year still lag behind 2007, but through May that ‘lag’ is less than it was early in 2008. So while it is difficult to express, 2008’s activity level does appear to [be] on the rise,” said GCAR Chief Executive Officer James Ader.

The region’s housing market last month fared bettered than the nation’s, which saw single-family home sales fall 14.5 percent to 4.41 million, compared to a year earlier. The single-family home median sale price also fell 6.8 percent during that period to $206,700, the National Association of Realtors also announced Thursday.

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