Saturday, June 17, 2023

Taking Stock of Housing: Priced out

old houseThe Federal Reserve’s year-long trend on raising interest rates seemed to finally be having an effect on the national real estate market. An 11-year span of increasing home prices finally came to an end, according to data released in March by the National Association of Realtors.

But maybe not so much in the Adirondacks.

Jay Realtor Mike Straight said he hasn’t seen evidence yet that higher interest rates are taking a bite out of the market. Bidding wars are still happening every so often, and offers are still coming in above the asking price — although maybe not to the degree that this was happening at the height of the market in 2021. Further, many homebuyers from urban locations have been paying cash, which of course makes interest rates moot.

And inventory is still low.

It is possible to count the number of homes on the market in towns such as Jay and Keene on the fingers of one hand.

In Keeseville, Realtor Kira Witherwax said if there’s been a decline it’s not been pronounced.

“I think the biggest difference from 12-18 months ago until now is buyer behavior,” she said. “They are more cautious and that is a good thing. I think the rise in interest rates has made them take a step back and consider the purchase a little more before committing. This is good and normal,” she said. “A house is the largest purchase most people make. In the last few years we saw many buyers buying (and sometimes fighting over) a house just because it was available.”

There’s been little in the way of relief for the majority of aspiring homebuyers, which we examine in the second installment of “Taking Stock.” This  summer-long series investigates Adirondack housing issues. If you missed the first installment, you can find it here.

As part of this series, we’re highlighting projects currently underway around the region. Like a cooperative housing initiative taking shape in the Lake Placid area. 

Image at top: This home in the hamlet of Jay went on the market for $120,000. It has no kitchen or working furnace, and has been reduced to $110,000 as an as-is “handyman’s special.” Jay Realtor Mike Straight said local young families can generally afford a house costing $120,000 up to maybe $150,000. But the inventory of livable homes in this price range is gone. Photo by Tim Rowland

This first appeared in “Taking Stock of Housing,” a short-term newsletter investigating housing issues in the Adirondacks. Click here to sign up.


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Tim Rowland is a humor columnist for Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Md., and a New York Times bestselling author. His books include High Peaks; A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene and Strange and Unusual Stories of New York City. He has climbed the 46 high peaks, is an avid bicyclist, and trout tremble with fear when they see his approaching shadow. He and his wife Beth are residents of Jay, N.Y.

4 Responses

  1. Smitty says:

    Wow, a “tear Down” for over 100k. But what really counts of course is the selling price, not the asking price. First time home buyers may want to check out Tupper Lake. There seems to be plenty of decent properties in that 100-150k range and community with good public amenities. No, it’s not Lake Placid or waterfront but worth a look.

    • Joe Hansen says:

      It doesn’t need to be a tear down, it could be a fix up for far less money than rebuilding. A young family willing to get their hands dirty could make it work.

  2. Boreas says:

    We need to be careful when describing property values to include the amount of land or size of lot included. Technically, people are buying “properties” and not just houses. An acre lot in a hamlet is likely worth more than an acre in a different location. Regardless of how “improvements” are valued, property size and type needs to be factored into the equation. Many old, decrepit houses sit on 5 choice acres of Adirondack land.

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