By Janet Besheer
Last year was quite the year for the United States economy. We have seen unemployment go to record lows, businesses reestablishing themselves here at home and the stock markets have hit record highs.
Although economists are predicting we are moving toward the end of the record-breaking, 9.6-year, bull market, we are not there yet. The economy in 2019 should continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate than 2018, but the good news is the next recession will probably not arrive in 2019.
Home prices around the country rose throughout 2018 with limited inventory and low mortgage rates. According to the National Association of Realtors, “The imbalance between supply and demand is squeezing entry-level housing the hardest.”
Pundits suggest the housing market will slow down well into the year. 2019 looks to bring a stabilization of supply of homes for sale and vacancy rates for rentals, both of which are inching up again. Mortgage interest rates will rise in 2019 which will impact buyers and lower sales prices of existing homes.
First-time home buyers will be most affected. The good news here is that mortgage interest rates should remain below 6 percent, which is still an historically low rate. So what does mean this for real estate in our area?
According to the recently released Saratoga County Real Estate Index, Saratoga County led the entire Capital Region in single-family home sales and was the only local county to see an increase in single family home inventory over the past year along with the most single-unit building permits issued.
It was a year of growth for the county and the local real estate professionals surveyed for the Index, predict sustained economic growth in residential and commercial real estate in 2019.
Glens Falls continued to evolve in 2018. With grant money awarded by the state, the new SUNY Adirondack Culinary School was completed along with a five-story office/apartment building across from Glens Falls Hospital. Other projects were approved for funding, including plans for a farmers market and parking garage on South Street and a mile-long public arts trail.
As the infrastructure of the city improves, it brings with it more opportunity for businesses to set up shop in downtown.
Locally, residential real estate sales in our area have been stable and it appears that will continue into 2019. Why?
The Capital Region continues to attract businesses and talent. Our location is uniquely appealing for both business and tourism being centered at the hub of major cities in the Northeast—New York, Boston and Montreal—and easy access to western New York state. We offer unique and varied outdoor attractions, such as the Adirondack Park, Lake George, Saratoga Race Course and access to skiing, boating, hiking, world-class golf, fine dining and more.
It is a great place to work and play and everything is conveniently connected by the Northway.
Real estate may move slower in 2019, but there is no sign that it will stagnate. Sellers will face more challenges than over the past few years and homes will stay on the market longer. Buyers will have slightly less buying power with the uptick interest rates and may contend with less home for the money.
Overall, however, our region is still growing and people continue to move here from all over the world. Even with the challenges ahead, 2019 should prove to be another great year for real estate growth in the Capital region.