Surge of home sales near the deadline

Updated: We've noticed a few discrepancies between these numbers and those being reported elsewhere. We're checking to figure out what's up. The general trends still hold true, though.

So, it looks like the federal first-time homebuyer credit prompted a bunch of people to buy a house in the Capital Region.

The Greater Capital Association of Realtors reported today in its monthly stats release that pending sales in April were up almost 46 percent compared the same month the year before (and 24 percent from two years ago). And the number of closed sales was up 14.5 percent. (Buyers just needed to have a contract to qualify for the credit.)

Somewhat oddly, Albany County didn't see a surge in closed sales -- it's figure was down compared to April 2009. There may have been a bounty of pending sales, though -- GCAR doesn't break out those numbers for individual counties. Also, the surge of sales doesn't seem to have pushed prices up -- the average sale price was up 2.5 percent compared to last year. (Of course, the credit could have just been keeping prices from falling.)

It will be interesting to see which way the market heads now that the credit has ended. There are still a bunch of houses on the market, compared to recent history. GCAR reports that the Capital Region has 9.9 months of "inventory." That's down from 11.8 in April 2009, but still way up compared to five years ago (it was around 2 months then).

All numbers via GCAR. The numbers for the Capital Region include counties outside the four core counties. These one-month figures should be taken with some perspective. The sample size isn't that big, so there can be swings one way or the other based on small group of sales.

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