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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations ( CANA )

Proposed December panel discussion/presentation

December 3, 2008 – 6:30 pm – Albany Public Library Auditorium

Allotted time:  45 Minutes



Topic:  Is there a housing crisis in Albany ?


Proposed participants:

bulletRepresentative from Greater Capital Association of Realtors (GCAR)
bulletMortgage banker active in all levels of local residential lending
bulletNot for profit representative as expert in grant and assistance programs



With less than encouraging news reports touting a national crisis in housing and mortgage lending, do these same stories apply to the greater Capital District and in particular, the City of Albany?  What are the realities of our market and where might we be heading?


This roundtable presentation with three perspectives will afford the audience an insight to the realities we face locally.   The program would begin with a five minute synopsis from each presenter followed by questions directed to the panel by a moderator. 


(It has not been determined whether there will be need for presentation projection)


Each synopsis would address specific concerns the public would have, such as:



James Ader, CEO, Greater Capital Association of Realtors


  1. Statistically, what is happening in the region relative to number of properties being sold in 2008 versus a similar period in (for example) 2002 & 2006?
  2. What has happened to the average sale price using the same criteria? 
  3. How does the City of Albany compare to the region? 
  4. Are there other factors affecting reported prices, such as seller’s concessions and are these still popular or permissible? 
  5. Can the stats presented be divided as to reflect the different parts of the city such as Arbor Hill , Delaware , Pine Hills , Center Square , etc?


Mortgage Banker

Paul Hurley, HSBC


  1. What has happened to the availability of mortgages?
  2. Has credit tightened up?
  3. What are the new qualification criteria?
  4. What are the options for resolving problems with mortgages?
  5. What are “work-outs” and how many institutions are making them available?
  6. What is the first-time homeowner tax credit and how does it work?


Not for profit representative

Susan Cotner, Executive Director, Affordable Housing Partnership


  1. What is the current availability of assistance programs, both income-based and open?
  2. Statistically, how do these compare with what was available in 2002 & 2006?
  3. How does the Capital District compare to Rochester , NY , Columbus , Ohio and Sacramento , CA in foreclosures?
  4. How many foreclosures have occurred in (for example) Albany County versus Saratoga and Schenectady Counties this year versus 2002 & 2006?
  5. What percentage of participants experienced difficulty in meeting commitments in 2006 and 2008?
  6. How does the city rate of foreclosures compare to that in the county?
  7. What is projected for 2009 in program assistance?
  8. What other initiatives are expected to foster ownership?



In the roundtable discussion, the possible questions addressed to the group might include:


  1. How does each of you see our local economy and where do you expect the housing market to be heading?
  2. If our market is benefitting by an influx of companies and their employees associated with R&D, where are these people moving to and are they renting or buying?
  3. The term “affordable housing” has attained a different meaning with the median value becoming less affordable to many people including the traditional lower income and more frequently, lower middle income families.  What responsible measures can be taken to enable people to attain home ownership?
  4. What steps can a prospective buyer take to improve their ability to succeed in buying a property in the near-term market?



If time permits, questions could be taken from the audience.