Real Estate Information

Albany New York Real Estate Blog

Fraida Varah


Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 47

Albany NY Real Estate Market Update: May 2012

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary single family home sale numbers for Albany County indicate there were 154 home sales that closed in April, up from 129 in March. The average selling price was $217,000 (up from $209,000 in March) and the median sale price was $191,000 (down from $192,000 in March). The sale to list price ratio was 94.9% on average (March was 96.3%) and the average days on market declined from 92 in March to 81 in April.

Year to date, we are running a little ahead in closed transactions with 519 so far this year compared to 472 during the first four months of last year. Both the average sale price this year ($215,000) and the median sale price this year ($186,000) are down slightly from last year ($216,000 and $190,000 respectively). Both the average sale to list ratio, 96.3%, and the average days on market, 87, are unchanged from last year.

With 1309 active Albany County single famil listings as of May 1 and 185 pending contracts written in April, the months supply of inventory stands at 7 months. This compares to a 6 month supply of inventory on April 1.

Current 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates continue to be in the 4% range with some rates slightly below 4%.

Fraida Varah

Albany NY Real Estate Market Update: April, 2012

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary single family home sale numbers for March, 2012 show 112 home sales closed at an average sale price of $212,449 (down from $218,024 in February), a median sale price of $199,000 (up from $188,000 in February) with an average sale to list price ratio of 96.2% (compared to 98% last month) and an average of 91 days on the market (down from 93 in February).

For the first quarter of 2012, there were 347 closed home sales compared to 345 during the first quarter of 2011. The average selling price was $214,900 compared to $216,700 last year and the median selling price was $185,000 this year compared to $190,000 last year. Average days on the market are the same at 88 and the average sale to list ratio this year is 96.9% compared to 96.2% last year.

The Albany County single family home market picked up in March with 195 pending sales compared to 155 pending sales in February. With 1229 homes on the market on April 1, there is a 6 month supply of homes compared to an 8 month supply of homes on March 1.

30 year fixed mortgage rates are now in the 4-4.5% range and have moved up slightly over the past few months.

Albany NY Real Estate Market Update - March, 2012

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary Albany County single family home sale numbers for February indicate 102 closed transactions, down from 119 in January, at an average selling price of $212,862 which is up slightly from $211,619 in January.  The median price was up to $186,500 from $177,500 last month. Average days on market were up to 87 from 81 in January and the sale to list price ratio was also up from 96.7% in January to 98% in February.

Year to date the news is mixed with 221 closed units through February 29, 2012 compared to 207 during the same period last year. Both the average and median selling prices were down, though, $212,000 and $180,000 for the first two months of this year compared to $219,000 and $190,000 last year. Sale to list ratio is up slightly from 96.9% to 97.3% and the average days on the market dropped from 87 last year to 84 during the first two months of this year.

February purchase contracts numbered 155 compared to 135 in January. With an inventory of 1184 single family homes in Albany County as of March 1, there is a 7.6 month supply of homes currently on the market, a market that slightly favors buyers.

30 year fixed home mortgage rates remain in the 4% range.

Fraida Varah

How About Some Honesty in Talking About the Housing Bubble

by Fraida Varah

Recently the media have made a big deal about the five largest U.S. housing lenders reaching a $26 million deal with the U.S. Justice Department which is supposed to provide some relieve to some struggling homeowners. On January 26, the Albany Time Union published an editorial whereby they claim that the "banks brought down the housing market." A little honesty here would be important for people trying to understand what happened. I start with this simple observation...if there had not been so many sub-prime mortgage loans made, there would not have been a housing bubble or the housing market decline that followed.

This problem started with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act in the late 1990’s which mandated banks make mortgage loans to unqualified borrows in order to increase home ownership.  For the next ten years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed by H.U.D. and  encouraged by a complicit United States Congress, continued to lower the mortgage underwriting standards and increase the percentage of sub-prime loans that Fannie and Freddie insured to the point where there was no hope of these government sponsored entities being able to make good on their insurance guarantees without a massive infusion of borrowed money which the taxpayer is on the hook for.  When we finally ran out of both qualified and unqualified homebuyers, the sudden decrease in demand led to the fall in housing prices which in turn led to large losses for those banks holding subprime mortgages and mortgage securities when the value of the homes fell and those borrowers could not pay.  When these banks were in danger of failing, two Presidents and the Congress bailed them out with borrowed money, again with the taxpayer footing the bill.

Many large banks were certainly aggressive in taking advantage of the situation that our federal government’s market intervention created. The repeal of portions of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, which effectively removed the separation between investment banks and commercial banks, permitted a level of risky bank behavior that ultimately resulted in a massive tax-payer funded bail out. Without the politician’s interference in the mortgage market, however, the housing bubble would not have occurred as the market would have slowed down gradually once all the qualified buyers had purchased homes. In short, the banks would not have had the opportunity to make sub-prime loans and then seek to mitigate the risk associated with them by creating and selling ridiculous investment products secured by bad loans.

Without an acknowledgement of the causes of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and resultant housing bubble, we cannot hope to deal intelligently with the problems created as a result.

Tony Garufi and Fraida Varah


Albany NY Real Estate Market Update: January 2012

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary Albany County single family home sale numbers for January, 2012 indicate 115 homes closed, less than the 167 closed in December. The average selling price was $213,000 and the median was $177,500..both down from the December average of $223,000 and median of $184,000. Average days on market stood at 80.

Compared to January 2011, there were virtually the same number of closings but the average selling price was down from $229,000 in 2011 to $212,000 this January. The median price was also lower falling from $203,500 to $177,500. These numbers probably reflect two things. The affordable home buyers program in the City of Albany which probably accounted for 30 or so transactions in October at selling prices under $200,000 and significantly less activity in the middle and upper price ranges during the last quarter of 2011.

As of February 1, there are 1238 active single family homes on the market in Albany County. There were 135 homes that went under contract in January so the month supply of inventory in Albany County stands at 9, still a buyers market.

30 year fixed rate mortgages are still hovering at historic lows in the 4% and sub 4% range.

Fraida Varah

Saratoga and North Creek Railway

by Fraida Varah

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the Saratoga and North Creek Railway is a shortline railroad that runs between Saratoga Springs and North Creek. This historical railroad was once the Adirondack Railway built by Thomas C. Durant in 1871 and acquired by Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H) in 1889. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was at the North Creek station when he learned that William McKinley was assassinated. After the Lake Placid Olympics in 1932, North Creek built ski trails at Gore Mountain, and the first D&H ski train from Schenectady to North Creek in 1934. North Creek soon garnered fame as home to the state’s first downhill ski center, Gore Mountain.

In addition to the scenic beauty of the Hudson River and Adirondacks, the excitement of the Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Gore Mountain, the Saratoga and North Creek Railway provides access to many of the region’s farmer’s markets, antique shopping spots, and museums and galleries. Popular spots include the Hudson River Trading Company, Garnet Hill Lodge, North Creek Depot Museum, and The Rustic Homestead and Streamside Fly-Shop. The Hudson River Trading Company’s Lodge & Camp merchandise provides a window into the region’s past; Garnet Hill Lodge offers rafting, fishing, biking and hiking; North Creek Depot Museum offers educational programs and exhibits; and The Rustic Homestead and Streamside Fly-Shop encompasses the rustic charm of the region as a renowned furniture shop, art gallery, fly shop, and fishing outfitter.

The Saratoga and North Creek railways include The Hudson Explorer, The New York Express, and The Gore Mountain Snow Train. The Hudson Explorer is the railway’s classic excursion that begins in Saratoga Springs in morning with return trips to North Creek in the late afternoon. The New York Express provides morning service from North Creek to Saratoga Springs, where riders head to the Saratoga racetrack or to NYC. After a half-century hiatus, The Gore Mountain Snow Train once again brings skiers and sightseers to North Creek. Diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and beverages in the Golden Sands and Bryce Canyon Vintage Coach Cars as they take in the beauty of the Adirondacks.

Albany Chef's Food & Wine Festival

by Fraida Varah

The Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival is a three-day festival that showcases the city’s chefs and restaurants by providing the community with innovative cuisine and exceptional wines. Its mission is to educate consumers on sustainable agriculture while providing funds to support Albany’s non-profit arts community.

The Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival will be held January 12th, 13th and 14th (Thursday through Saturday) at the Crowne Plaza – Albany City Center (unless otherwise noted). Participating chefs and restaurants include AJ Jayapal from the Mallozzi Family, Brian Molino from Prime Business Dining, Dale Miller from Sperry’s, Jaime Ortiz from Angelo’s 677 Prime, Jim Rua from Café Capriccio, Jonathan Crean from Kelsey’s Crowne Plaza, Luc Pasquier from Attache Culinaire, Mark D. Graham from Mezza Notte Ristorante, Ric Orlando from New World Bistro Bar, and Yono Purnomo from Yono’s and db, An American Brasserie.

The festival kicks off with a Mayor’s VIP Reception, which will be held at City Hall from 5 pm-7pm on Thursday, January 12th. The reception is presented by Angelo’s 677 Prime and The Business Review, and wines are courtesy of Korbel & Sonama-Cutrer. Limited tickets are available for $125.

On Friday, January 13th, 4pm-8pm and Saturday, January 14th, 12pm-4pm there will be a Grand Tasting at Rising Star Chef Pavilion. There will be more than 250 wines, spirits, and beer and 40 participating chefs and restaurants over two days of tastings. The wines are courtesy of Empire Merchants North, and Beer by DeCresente. Three Rising Star Chefs will be featured in the Grand Pavilion at the ballroom entrance. Tickets are $50.

A Slider Slam will be held 8pm-11pm on Friday, January 13th, featuring 10 participating chefs and restaurants. Craft Beer pairings are presented by Brewery Ommegang, and Wine & Spirits by Empire Merchants North. There will be live music and dancing, a Judge’s Choice, and a People’s Choice for best and most creative sliders. The Slider Slam is $25.

On Saturday, January 14th, the Signature Chef Invitational will be held between 1pm-3:30pm, where chefs will compete for a spot on the 2013 Signature Chef Team in a mystery live competition during the Saturday Grand Tasting in the Pearl St. Room. The 2012 competitors are Jason Baker from Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark, Dominique Brialy from The Epicurean, Ryan Huneau from The Mallozzi Group, Rachel Mabb from the Renesselaer at The Hilton Garden Inn, and Giovanni S. Morina from the Gio Culinary Studio. Tickets are included in Saturday’s Grand Tasting.

There will be a Grand Gala Reception and 6-Course Dinner on Saturday, January 14th. The Reception will begin at 6pm and the dinner at 7pm. The 2012 Signature Chef team will present “Food as Art” at live action stations, inspired by Capital Repertory Theatre’s 31st Season. Wine is presented by Empire Merchants North, paired by Sommelier Dominick Purnomo. There will be a live and silent auction, and music and dancing. Tickets are $150.

Albany NY Real Estate Market Update: December 2011

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary single family home sale numbers for Albany County are in and show the following.

There were 152 homes that closed in December compared to 157 in November. The average price fell from $227,000 to $221,000 and the median price fell from $203,000 to $182,000. Average days on market for those homes that closed in December were 89 and the sale to list price ratio was 96.3%.

Preliminary year end numbers for 2011 show 1892 homes sold and closed compared to 1962 last year. The average price dropped slightly from $228,000 to $227,000 and the median price dropped from $201,000 to $195,000. Average days on market increased from 73 in 2010 to 80 in 2011 and the sale to list ratio remained about the same at 96.5%.

Single family inventory in Albany County stood at 1281 homes on January 3, 2012 and their were 104 homes that went under contract in December indicating a 12 month supply of homes on the market, up slightly from November when there was an 11 month supply.

30 year fixed mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows in the low to mid 4% range.

Fraida Varah

Albany NY Real Estate Market Update: November, 2011

by Fraida Varah

Preliminary single family home sale numbers for Albany County indicate 145 homes closed in November up 2 from last month with an average sale price of $230,000 and a median sale price of $210,000. Average time on the market slowed to 85 days from 73 the previous month and the sale to list price ratio declined from 96.6% in October to 95.5% in November.

Year to date, single family closed home sales in Albany County are running about 100 fewer that last year to date with 1719 so far this year compared to 1814 this time last year. The year to date average sales price is up slightly to $228,000 from $227,000. but the median is down slightly to $196,000 from $200,000. The average days on the market is up from 72 to 79 and the sale to list price ratio is virtually unchanged at 96.5%.

The months supply of inventory stands at 12 months with 1493 active listings as of December 1 and 126 pending sales written in November. 30 year fixed rate mortgage interest rates remain in the 4% range.

Fraida Varah

Maple Ski Ridge

by Fraida Varah

Maple Ski Ridge is just 30 minutes northwest of Albany, which means one of New York’s finest skiing and snowboarding resorts is easy to get to, even on a moment’s notice, when the urge for the slopes hits. Whether you spend the whole day in the snow, or take some time to relax by the fireplace, a day spent at Maple Ski Ridge will be a day well spent. There are many features that set Maple Ski Ridge apart. Consider its state-of-the-art, environmentally safe snow-making equipment, which covers 95% of the trails. Even when snow levels are less than ideal, Maple Ski Ridge can safely stay open, meaning you get more out of your season pass!

So, what can you expect from a visit to Maple Ski Ridge? For starters, you’ll find trails accommodating every snow enthusiast—from beginners to daredevils. Plus, the Terrain Park, with its hills, jumps, and rails, gives you the chance to do tricks just like the X Games pros. Private lessons and group lessons are available for people of all ages and skill levels, making it easy for everyone to hit the slopes with confidence. And no worries if you don’t have your own equipment, because Maple Ski Ridge has plenty of snowboards, skis, poles, boots, and bindings available to rent.

Season passes purchased before November 30th are only $275, so buy your pass today and save! Day passes are also available, starting with four-hour passes for $32. If you’re looking for a great deal, consider signing up with your family or friends for unbeatable group rates. For more information on rates and passes, click here.

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 47