Boring is good when it comes to the real estate market, according to Miguel Berger.
Berger is a broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley in Loudonville, selling homes across a big chunk of the Capital Region. He said the area’s housing market didn’t expand as dramatically as places like Florida and Arizona at the height of the housing bubble and didn’t contract as badly when the bubble burst.
Since that downturn, he said, the local market has been recovering steadily, with 2012 showing some real healing and 2013 averaging a regionwide 10 percent increase in sales and 3 percent increase in value.
“We’re looking at that trend continuing through 2014,” he said. “That’s steady growth. I always joke that real estate is boring in the Capital Region, but boring is good.”
Berger spoke from experience regarding his own company, but Greater Capital Association of Realtors President Albert Picchi, a regional RealtyUSA vice president, laid out some numbers. As of November 2013, he said, home sales had grown from 2012 by 7 percent in Schenectady, 10 percent in Albany and 11 percent in Saratoga and Montgomery counties.
“It was pretty much the same in the whole area,” he said. “Between 7 and 11 percent more homes were sold.”
With similar numbers predicted for this year, he hopes sellers will soon get multiple bids on homes — leading to better prices and faster sales.
“I base a lot of this on consumer confidence,” he said. “People seem confident in the economy, and I think mortgage rates will stay under 5 percent.”
He painted a very optimistic picture of the Capital Region market, boring or not, but things aren’t going so well farther down the Mohawk Valley.
Christian Klueg runs CMK and Associates, a real estate company with offices in Burnt Hills, Amsterdam and Northville.
“I do business along that Route 50 corridor and in Fulton and Montgomery counties,” he said, “and the difference is night and day.”
In Saratoga County, 2,408 houses were sold in 2013. Even with the 11 percent jump, only 179 homes were sold in Montgomery County.
“It’s a matter of seventh-grade economics,” Klueg said, “We have so much inventory and not enough jobs to bring people in. It’s supply and demand.”
While more homes were sold, prices couldn’t recover as well as in the rest of the Capital Region because more property went on the market than left it.
Even so, Klueg said things are better now than they were a year ago, and will continue to get better.
There’s high demand for homes in the Broadalbin-Perth area because of its proximity to the technology job growth in Saratoga County. Klueg said the job and housing markets are intimately tied. Based upon local job sector growth, he said 2014 looks good for his business.
Fage Dairy in Johnstown is expanding, he noted, and economic development officials in both counties are making progress.
“I hate to sound like a politician,” he said, “but it’s about jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The situation is similar to the south, in Schoharie County, according to Picchi’s figures: It was the only place in the Capital Region to see weak sales growth. Only 1 percent more homes were sold in 2013 than in 2012.
“We’re going to lag behind the rest of the Capital Region,” said Country Boy Real Estate broker Matt Loder, “Sometimes it seems like we will forever.”
While other counties have expanded over the last few years, Loder said Schoharie County remained constant, selling roughly the same number of homes per year, for basically the same dollar amount.
“I think we’ve recovered from the flooding,” he said, blaming the slower growth on a sluggish job market.
Over 2014, he hopes better home sales numbers elsewhere will spill into his market. As places like Saratoga and Albany get more crowded and expensive, he said, people looking for value will come calling.
“You get more for your dollar here than in any other part of the Capital Region,” he said.
That value, he said, will eventually draw the county into real estate growth.
Reach Gazette Reporter John Enger at 212-6225 or email@example.com.