Press-Republican

July 4, 2013

New York real-estate market on solid ground

By DAN HEATH Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — The real-estate market in New York State is on solid ground, according to the leader of the New York State Association of Realtors.

President Margaret Hartman made that point as she delivered the keynote address at the Clinton County Board of Realtors annual President’s Lunch, held recently at the Butcher Block. 

“I think we have good news ahead in real estate,” she said.

GOOD INTEREST RATES

With interest rates currently about 4 percent, it is a great time to buy a home, Hartman said.

Even if interest rates were to increase to 6 or 7 percent, she said, the market would remain positive.

Real estate is a proven investment, Hartman noted, especially in a state like New York, which doesn’t have the wildly fluctuating prices seen in places such as Florida and Arizona.

SALE PRICES

Clinton County Board of Realtors President Roger Wright said they have posted positive numbers for three consecutive months. That includes increases in sales that have closed and a subsequent reductionin the supply of available inventory.

Median sales prices are up about $10,000 compared to the same time last year, he said.

In a press release, the state association reported that in May, median home prices rose for the seventh consecutive month. Those prices were up 12 percent compared to May 2012.

RECESSIONS

While it’s generally known that housing has been a tough market during the recession that started in 2007-08, Hartman said it is the fourth downturn she’s been through during her years in the business. The others were in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

The 1980s saw 10 straight years of double-digit interest rates.

“Guess what? We sold houses,” Hartman said.

The association has more than 47,000 members, which shows the industry is alive and kicking, she said.

Hartman said selling real estate can be a rewarding field.

When you are help someone buy a house, “it’s the closest you’ll ever get to anyone,” Hartman said.

ESTABLISHED STANDARDS

Realtors are held to an even higher standard than real-estate agents, she said.

The registered trademark identifies professionals who are members of the National Association of Realtors, which includes adherence to a strict code of ethics first adopted in 1913.

Strict compliance with guidelines such as the Fair Housing Act is required. Realtors, for example, would not be allowed to handle any transaction where the seller called for restrictions based on race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

The national, state and county associations monitor compliance within the organization, Hartman said, as do outside agencies, such as the New York State Division of Human Rights.

“We are proud of the fact that we monitor our own members,” she said.

‘BEST ASSETS’

In preliminary remarks, Clinton County Legislature Chairman Jimmie Langley said he has great respect for the work they do on a daily basis.

“For a purchaser, a home is one of the best assets in their life,” he said. “Thank you for all you do to help Americans realize their dream.” 

Langley said it is one of the big economic drivers for Clinton County.

“You don’t need me to tell you what a great place Clinton County is to live in. You sell that on a daily basis,” he said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com