CAPITAL REGION — Home sales in the Capital Region ended the year of COVID with a boom, the local trade group for Realtors reported.
Across the region, 7% more single-family housing units were sold in 2020 than in 2019, despite the limitations on transactions created by pandemic restrictions last spring. And the median price paid was 7% higher in 2020 than in 2019, despite the economic shutdown that suspended or ended so many New Yorkers’ jobs.
Single-month statistics — which can be distorted by one-time events — showed an even greater jump year over year. In December 2020, there were 36% more closed sales than in December 2019, and the median price was 10% higher.
The Greater Capital Association of Realtors compiles the data from its Global Multiple Listing Service, which tracks many but not all sales in Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie counties, plus some sales in nearby parts of adjoining counties.
GCAR said in a news release that low-interest rates and an increased desire for homeownership due to the pandemic both stoked the high level of sales activity.
The continually decreasing number of houses listed for sale — down 9% in 2020 from 2019 and down 6% in 2019 from 2018 — also influenced sales trends.
“Low inventory and high demand have driven real estate sales and home values into double-digit gains,” GCAR President Jeffrey Decatur of Re/Max Capital said in a news release.
He added that both buyers and sellers were much more active in the 2020 holiday season than in years past.
The following list of counties shows the number of sales closed by GCAR-member Realtors and the median sale price in the 12 months of 2020, as well as the percentage change from 2019:
- Albany 3,019 0% $240,000 5%
- Fulton 600 20% $139,325 9%
- Montgomery 337 8% $135,000 14%
- Rensselaer 1,610 9% $213,000 11%
- Saratoga 3,215 1% $313,800 5%
- Schenectady 1,892 8% $189,900 9%
- Schoharie 330 6% $150,000 20%
Meanwhile, the New York State Association of Realtors reported that sales were down 0.9% and median sale price was up 11.6% in 2020 statewide.
NYSAR’s data do not include sales in New York City or the counties GCAR reported on.
GCAR Chief Executive Officer Laura Burns said the lack of inventory is a challenge for buyers — the average time on market decreased from 62 in December 2019 to 46 in December 2020; the average percentage of original list price received increased from 95.1% in 2019 to 96.5% in 2020.
Both are classic indicators of high demand and/or low supply — just 2.5 months worth of inventory was available for sale in December 2020, down from 4.6 months in December 2019 and 5.5 months in December 2018.
Some other GCAR statistics for individual towns and cities in 2020:
- Schenectady houses had the lowest median sale price — $140,000, an 11.8% jump from 2019.
- Saratoga Springs houses had the highest median sales price in the region — $422,500, an 11.3% jump from 2019.
- Saratoga Springs houses also languished longest on the market — 51 days, on average.
- Cohoes had the lowest supply of housing for sale in December — just one month’s inventory — while Saratoga Springs had the highest, 4.8 months of inventory.
- East Greenbush houses sold fastest — the 238 sales closed in 2020 averaged just 26 days on market.
- East Greenbush homes also saw the greatest increase in sales price — the median $247,000 was 17.6% higher than in 2019.
- Halfmoon and East Greenbush home sellers got the highest percentage of their original asking price — 99.2%.
- Clifton Park edged out Albany in closed sales, 670 vs. 651; Albany’s population is more than double Clifton Park’s but Clifton Park’s rate of owner-occupied housing units is more than double Albany’s.