By CHRIS CHURCHILL, Business writer
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First published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The city had the Capital Region's highest housing prices last year, with a median single-family home cost of $275,000. That price is more than double the median in
The numbers come from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors Inc., which has long tracked the region's home prices but only recently began releasing data for the 17 Capital Region cities and towns with the most active housing markets.
The numbers illustrate that the Capital Region housing market is really a compilation of many smaller markets, each with different conditions.
Realtors have long considered the city the most expensive in the Capital Region, and it's not hard to understand its appeal. The city of 29,000 has major attractions, such as the race course and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. It's close to natural beauty. And it has good schools, low crime and a thriving shopping district.
"Of all the places in the Capital Region, it's the one that has a downtown that's alive and vibrant," said Scott Varley, a Saratoga Springs-based Realtor. "You can walk anywhere in the day or night and there's something going on."
There's an oft-heard adage that a family can afford a home if it's within three times its annual income. And by that measure, relatively few in the Capital Region -- where the 2008 median household income was $58,765 -- can afford to buy in
That's putting a squeeze on some in the
"This is a city that depends on those people being there," said Adam Kirkman, a member of the Saratoga Housing Work Group, which is preparing a report on how to address affordable housing issues in the city. "And those people are having trouble affording housing even close to
Yet Realtors in the city insist the downtown condos, often purchased by downstate buyers seeking a second home, inflate the statistics and make the city seem less affordable than it really is.
They say that careful buyers can still find a moderately priced home in
Indeed, the 2009 median, or mid-point of all homes sold, in Saratoga Springs is actually down by about $9,000 from the 2008 price, reflecting a region-wide slide that's affecting nearly every Capital Region city and town, according to the GCAR statistics..
In some towns, the declines were substantial.
Actually, Halfmoon bested
Chris Churchill can be reached at 454-5442 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Places & Spaces blog and comment on this story at http://blog.timesunion.com/realestate..
High and low
Municipality 2008 median 2009 median* % change
Troy $147,000 $150,000 + 2%