Q: How has the residential market been in Albany, NY, over the last year or two? I have an investment property there (3 unit) and I am trying to get an idea how badly I will get hit if I try to sell, or if I will escape the worst of the housing slump. Do you know of any reports or studies that would be helpful as well?
A: It’s difficult to know how any particular real estate market is doing. You can look at the Freddie Mac home price index, which indicates that housing in New York fell just over 4 percent in value in the past year. Or, you can look at the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which are based on twenty top housing markets (not including Albany), and which indicate that home prices are down roughly 15 to 16 percent from their high.
None of these tell you what’s going on in your neighborhood, however. And, when it comes to real estate, the old mantra of “local, local, local” remains valid. It’s all about what’s going on down the block and in your backyard.
If you’re thinking about selling your investment property, you should invite three top neighborhood agents in to do a comparative marketing analysis of the property. A CMA (as they are often called) is an agent’s calling card. He or she will walk through your property, go back to the office and pull up the comparable sales of similar properties in the neighborhood. Then, the agent will come back with a marketing plan and a suggested list price. You’ll be able to see the research: what has sold in your neighborhood, when it sold, and for how much.
After reviewing the data, you can make a decision to sell or keep your rental property.