SCHENECTADY — Sale prices for single-family houses have surged in Schenectady for the first nine months of 2019, climbing 23 percent above the same period in 2018.
Median sales prices also have been up most other cities, towns and counties tracked by the Greater Capital Association of Realtors, but regionwide, the increase was only 4 percent.
The numbers are derived from the Global Multiple Listing Service co-owned by GCAR, which records most single-family housing sales in the Capital Region. The regionwide trend in 2019 has been fewer houses being listed and fewer being sold, but with a higher asking and a higher selling price.
2018 showed the same trend compared with 2017.
A year ago, the city of Schenectady held the distinction of having the lowest-priced housing market of any city, town or county individually tracked by GCAR: The 404 houses sold in Schenectady in the first nine months of 2018 brought a median price of $101,532. In the first nine months of 2019, 327 houses were sold for a median price of $125,000.
Sellers received 97.2 percent of their original asking price in 2019, vs. 94.5 percent in 2018. Average time from listing to accepted offer was only 39 days in 2019, down from 60 days in 2018.
The number of houses listed for sale in the city and the number actually sold both dropped 19 percent, suggesting that the laws of supply and demand may be partly to blame for the increase in price.
But Realtor Christopher Culihan of Coldwell Banker Prime Properties said value also is driving homebuyers to Schenectady.
“I think [it’s] affordability,” he said. “You can get more house for your money, although the taxes are certainly always a challenge.”
The overall image of the city has changed somewhat, and that also helps, he added. Though revitalization hasn’t reached all corners of every neighborhood, downtown Schenectady is a different place now from what it was when today’s homebuyers were growing up, and Culihan said that has boosted interest in the city.
“I think the overall progress downtown has helped significantly,” he said. “I think they’re doing a great job. Momentum and reputation and activity breeds activity.”
Culihan is based in Latham and many of his listings are east of the city, but he does work in Schenectady, and one sale this summer on California Avenue stands out in his mind.
It was a nice house, he said, well-built in 1940 and well-maintained. It was also a bit dated and it sits on a busy street. He had some reservations about pricing it over $100,000. But he did, and it sold for more than the asking price.
“We ended up with seven offers on that property. I was shocked,” Culihan said. “My selling client was very happy.”
City of Schenectady housing prices saw another big jump — 18.5 percent — in 2017, when 461 houses sold for a median $101,000, vs. 453 sold for $85,250 in 2016. The region as a whole saw a 2.8 percent increase. But the increase through the 12 months of 2018 was only 5 percent in Schenectady, while the region as a whole saw a 6 percent increase.
The Global MLS statistics reflect sales by Realtors in Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties. Here are some other statistics the MLS provides for the first nine months of 2019:
- The least expensive housing market in the region is now Montgomery County, where 345 houses sold for a median price of $119,000.
- The city of Schenectady is now the third-lowest priced market at a median of $125,000, just above Fulton County ($123,600) and just below Schoharie County ($125,500).
- The most expensive is the town of Halfmoon, where 203 houses sold for a median of $349,270; Saratoga Springs was a close second, with 350 houses selling for a median $345,000.
- There were 15,834 residential units newly offered for sale regionwide, down 2.4% from 2018.
- There were 9,199 closed sales regionwide, down 7% from 2018.
- Median sale price was $215,000 regionwide, up 4% from 2018.
- Average time on market was 61 days regionwide, down from 64.
- Amount of original list price received was 95.4% regionwide, down from 95.7%.