June 12 2023
General,Regional/County Profiles

2020 Census Shows Strong Housing Growth in NY’s Capital Region

Householders Living Alone Emerge as Driving Force in Regional Housing Market, Especially in Saratoga County


ALBANY, NEW YORK – As New York struggles with a shortage of homes for sale and for rent, new statistics from the 2020 Decennial Census show the Capital Region led upstate in growing its inventory of housing units over the past decade. And much of the region’s housing growth was driven by householders living alone, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data.

Statewide Performance Highlights (2010-2020)

  • Capital Region
    • 2nd for housing unit growth
    • 2nd for growth in owner-occupied units with young adult householders (25-34 years old)
    • 3rd for growth in renter-occupied units with young adult householders
  • Saratoga County
    • 1st for occupied unit growth
    • 1st for growth in renter-occupied units with young adult householders
    • 1st for growth in nonfamily households with householders living alone
    • 2nd for total housing unit growth
  • Columbia County
    • 1st for growth in owner-occupied units with young adult householders
  • Greene County
    • 2nd for growth in owner-occupied units with young adult householders


Total Units

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of housing units in the Capital Region increased by 26,498 (5.2 percent) to 532,119. Only the New York City region had a faster growth rate of 7.3 percent. Saratoga County ranked second in the state for housing unit growth during that period, increasing by 11.4 percent and trailing only Tompkins County at 12.5 percent. Albany County ranked 10th at 6.1 percent.

“We continue to see massive demand in the residential market, particularly in communities that were not invested in heavily for decades. The Albany, Schenectady, and Troy marketplaces are on fire from a residential perspective and offer a very large crystal ball into where we should be investing our dollars – both public and private – for decades to come,” said Jeffrey Buell, principal of Redburn Development Partners.

“The Capital Region is succeeding with developing and attracting companies in growth industries including life sciences, advanced electronics, and cleantech, which is helping to drive employment and new housing development. However, per the 2022 Regional Workforce Inventory, many employers report there is insufficient housing to accommodate the level of jobs needed. Our region’s fortune hinges on continuing to increase comfortable, healthy, resilient housing options for all income levels,” said Rosenblum Companies Principal Jeffrey Mirel.


Occupied and Vacant Units

The number of occupied housing units in the Capital Region increased over the 10-year period by 5.4 percent to 463,666, which also was the state’s highest rate outside the New York City region. Saratoga County ranked first for occupied housing unit growth, with an increase of 10,460, or 11.8 percent. Albany County ranked 13th at 5.2 percent.

By 2020, the Capital Region had 68,453 vacant units, up 4.3 percent from 2010. The region’s 2020 vacancy rate was 12.9 percent, down 10 basis points from 10 years earlier. Within the inventory of vacant units, 13,966 (20.4 percent) of them were rentals and 29,891 (43.7 percent) were for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use, commonly referred to as second homes.


A single-family home under construction in Colonie (left), Redburn’s 93-unit Kenmore apartment building in Albany (center), and Rosenblum’s 101-unit The News Apartments in Troy.


Householder Age

Over the 10-year period, the region’s number owner-occupied units with young adult householders (25-34 years old) increased by 906 (3.9 percent) – the second fastest rate in the state. The number of renter-occupied units with householders in this age group grew faster: by 5,371 (14.8 percent) – the state’s third fastest rate.

Columbia and Greene counties ranked first and second in New York for fastest growth among owner-occupied units with young adult householders, increasing 22.1 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively. Among renter-occupied units with young adult householders, Saratoga County had the state’s fastest growth at 23.1 percent. Schenectady County ranked sixth at 18.6 percent and Rensselaer County ranked seventh at 18.4 percent.  

However, those gains were overshadowed by declines in owner-occupied units with householders aged between 35 and 44 years old (-6,543 decrease or -13.5 percent) as well as those aged between 45 and 54 years old (-16,124 or -22.8 percent). Among renter-occupied units, the region grew its ranks of those with householders between 35 and 44 years olds (2,526) but not with householders between 45 and 54 years olds (-1,521).

More than a third (34.23 percent) of Capital Region owner-occupied units had householders who were 65 years or older in 2020, up from about a quarter 26.6 percent 10 years earlier. That means there were 100,661 owner-occupied units with elderly householders in 2020, up 23,706 (30.8 percent) from 2010.


Household Type

The Capital Region saw a sizeable increase in its number of nonfamily households with householders who lived alone. Between 2010 and 2020, they rose by 17,015 (12.9 percent) to 148,791, or about a third of all households. That was the third-fastest growth rate in the state for this type of household. Saratoga County ranked first for growth in nonfamily households with householders living alone, increasing by 5,534 (24 percent). In contrast, married couple households declined regionwide by 2,835 (-1.4 percent) to 198,383. That was the third smallest decline in married couple households in the state.

These housing type trends are also apparent in regional changes in household size. For example, the Capital Region’s number of owner-occupied units with one-person households increased by 10.3 percent over the 10-year period – the third fastest growth rate in the state. The number of renter-occupied units with one person increased by 15.4 percent – the state’s second fastest growth rate.


In April 2021, CEG launched a talent attraction campaign using the CapNY brand, along with a website – GoCapNY.com – and its associated social media channels. To help attract even more young professionals to the Capital Region, CEG launched a CapNY Connectors initiative. The Connectors are local residents who love living in the Capital Region and who have volunteered to share that love to help connect prospective new residents to our community. They work in diverse industries, pursue unique interests, and come from all walks of life. The CapNY Connectors are available to answer questions and discuss first-hand experience of what it’s like to work and live in CapNY.

Young professionals can find a connector who shares their interests and ambitions by checking out the profiles on the GoCapNY website. Website visitors who are unsure of whom they should connect with, can fill out the form to provide some additional details, and the CapNY networking team will make a connection for them.

Visit CapNY Connectors at https://gocapny.com/capny-connectors.


About CEG

The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is dedicated to driving economic growth in New York’s eight-county, 1.1-million-person Capital Region. As the nonprofit regional economic development organization, we do this by attracting investment and talent; growing manufacturing and workforce capabilities, leveraging industry clusters, and developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We serve as a catalyst and work with partners and stakeholders to prepare the region to compete and move high-impact strategies and projects forward. An affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber, CEG is supported by investors in business, government, education, and the nonprofit sectors who are committed to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity. For more information on CEG, visit www.ceg.org.

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