Market squeeze

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - SPACES - By Diego Men­doza-moy­ers

As hous­ing prices have con­tin­ued ris­ing na­tion­ally to the most un­af­ford­able point in a decade, the Cap­i­tal Re­gion has seen its in­ven­tory of af­ford­able, “starter homes” de­crease as well, ac­cord­ing to Jes­sica Lautz, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of sur­vey and re­search for the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors.

In­creased costs for la­bor, ma­te­ri­als and land have made build­ing homes more ex­pen­sive, re­sult­ing in fewer homes for first-time buy­ers, Lautz said.

“There is a re­duced sup­ply for your en­try-level buyer or for some­one who may want to down­size,” Lautz said.

With a low in­ven­tory of rel­a­tively af­ford­able homes, Lautz said buy­ers can get into bid­ding wars, driv­ing prices up.

Statewide, the me­dian home sale price in Oc­to­ber was $260,000, up from $245,260 last Oc­to­ber - a 6 per­cent in­crease.

Laura Burns, CEO of the Greater Cap­i­tal As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors, said while it’s true fewer new homes are listed at tra­di­tional en­try-level prices, con­trac­tors are still build­ing homes - just larger ones, for around $300,000 and $400,000.

“If you were a builder and you have a 1-acre par­cel, are you go­ing to build a 1,500-square-foot starter home, or a 2,500 square foot home where you have a much wider profit mar­gin?” Burns said.

That means that while first­time buy­ers of­ten can’t af­ford new

Getty Images

A view of a home on Cen­ter View Drive in Troy.

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