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Old 04-05-2019, 02:55 PM
 
28 posts, read 14,072 times
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Hey All!

My wife, daughter (2.5 Y/O), and I are thinking about moving to the Greater Saratoga area. We are looking for a house potentially in Malta, Ballston Spa, or Stillwater. We are in our early 30s and wanted to ask a few questions.

1. What is it like living in this area? Saratoga seems to be a really nice city to have as our go-to while still living out in a more rural area.

2. How is the commute going into Albany every morning? Are Saratoga people open to entrepreneurship? What is the job market like in Albany?

3. Do any of these towns have a good/welcoming community?

4. What are some negatives about the area? Stagnant housing market, job growth, etc.?

5. I know the schools are pretty good in Saratoga, but what is the school tax like?

6. What are some other family-friendly suburban/rural areas that we should look with reasonable home prices?

7. Any crime to worry about? What is the diversity like? (my wife is Asian).

8. How are the restaurants and food?

We love that we would be close to the ADKs as I spent many summers there as a kid. We live in the greater Boston area now so we're already used to the cold.

Any other insight out be great!

Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:09 PM
 
28 posts, read 14,072 times
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Anyone?
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Old 04-08-2019, 05:32 AM
 
1,395 posts, read 875,365 times
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My wife, daughter (2.5 Y/O), and I are thinking about moving to the Greater Saratoga area. We are looking for a house potentially in Malta, Ballston Spa, or Stillwater. We are in our early 30s and wanted to ask a few questions.

Those are good areas. I'd probably consider Malta or Ballston Spa as being the better options. Ballston Spa is also a good location if you want something that feels really rural. Take a drive along 67 west and it's all farms for miles on end until you hit Amsterdam. Stillwater is a nice, smaller town but does have some more run-down looking parts. Great convenient location to more rural areas like Greenwich and Schuylerville. Malta is newer and a lot of residents there work in Saratoga or Clifton Park.

1. What is it like living in this area? Saratoga seems to be a really nice city to have as our go-to while still living out in a more rural area.

Saratoga is one of the most expensive areas in the region, if not the most expensive. Lots of wealth in that area. Lots of old money. Kind of feels like a small Westchester County stronghold in the middle of upstate NY. Lots of snobbiness which is why I'm not a huge fan of the area, but I can't deny it's very well-kept and the administration seems to be more forward thinking than other areas.

2. How is the commute going into Albany every morning? Are Saratoga people open to entrepreneurship? What is the job market like in Albany?

I worked with a few people who made this commute. Takes between 40 minutes to an hour depending on when you leave and where you're going. The only real bottleneck is the area near the Twin Bridges further south as you come into the immediate Albany area. It sorts itself out but there are days when the traffic can seem absolutely horrendous. Once you get past that, it's usually smooth sailing.

I'd say Saratoga is good for entrepreneurs. Lots of restaurant entrepreneurs in the area. Most of the shops along Broadway are privately owned boutiques that have been there for some time. However, it's a seasonal town, and a lot of the businesses depend on track season money from vacationers.

Albany job market is either decent or it blows depending on your profession. As a general rule of thumb, if you don't work in government, healthcare, or education, this area isn't going to offer you much. Sure, there's a few tech firms, but not nearly enough to where I'd suggest someone from a larger city outside the state make the move. Just have to do your research and don't be overly optimistic. Keep in mind that the entire Capital Region population is just under 1,200,000. Which encompasses a lot of counties and large/small cities. So if you're coming from somewhere like Boston/Atlanta/Chicago, the area is going to feel small to you. Jobs obviously too.

3. Do any of these towns have a good/welcoming community?

If you want welcoming neighbors, you'll have to live in a neighborhood that's dominated by single family homes. Some of the nicest communities I've been to in the area are Greenwich, New Scotland neighborhood of Albany, Johnstown (area right near Knox Middle School).

Multi-family duplexes/triplexes are common in much of the area, which tend to be rented by low income workers or students.

4. What are some negatives about the area? Stagnant housing market, job growth, etc.?

- Cold, long, miserable, seemingly endless winters. They are no joke and not for people who can't handle that sort of thing.
- If you're betting on home appreciation to take care of you, I wouldn't move here. You're not going to get the same types of gains as you could in other similarly priced markets down south or out west.
- Property taxes are outrageous in most areas, especially if you're coming from outside the northeast. If you're coming from Westchester County or New England, they probably won't even affect you all that much.
- Job growth is eh and like I said it's very concentrated in a few specific sectors. If you're in tech, I wouldn't consider the area. Sure, you may get some really great offer at a company up here, but if you lose it, it's going to be very difficult to find the same sort of position at a different company in a reasonable time.
- Overall negative attitudes of people in the area. Like much of the northeast, it's very common to be surrounded by hotheads and middle fingers in traffic, but this area also has the depressed negative outlook attitude, most likely due to the hard times the area has seen and the feeling of being left behind compared to other cities in the nation.

5. I know the schools are pretty good in Saratoga, but what is the school tax like?

Too much for what I would want to pay, but it's all relative and depends on what you are use to and willing to pay.

6. What are some other family-friendly suburban/rural areas that we should look with reasonable home prices?

Greenwich, Clifton Park, Schuylerville, Ballston Spa. Those are the ones with decent schools with reasonable commutes to Albany and Saratoga. If you want even better home prices with lower quality schools, check out Fonda/Johnstown.

7. Any crime to worry about? What is the diversity like? (my wife is Asian).

Depends on where you live. Overall, this whole region is MUCH safer than most cities I've lived in. You really only have to worry about South Troy, West Hill and Second Ave in Albany, and a few areas in Schenectady.

There aren't a lot of Asians in the area, and the ones that are here tend to keep to themselves or are students at local colleges. Your wife shouldn't have any issue as long as she doesn't mind being one of the few Asian people around. It's more common to see a black or Hispanic person up here than it is, say, an East Asian person.

8. How are the restaurants and food?

If you're coming from a larger city you'll probably be disappointed. But if you're willing to venture out and explore, there's a lot of good dining options. Favorites include:

Black and Blue Steak and Crab - Albany
Cafe Madison - two locations I think
Tanpopo Ramen - Albany
Dinosaur BBQ - Troy
Most of the restaurants along Broadway in Saratoga.
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:35 PM
 
28 posts, read 14,072 times
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This is a HUGE help. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. It sounds like the area, although beautiful over the summers, is not going to be for us year-round. The job growth in Albany without being near any other major area is a concern to me. I also know that the winters are longer and honestly, they're already long enough in New England for us. Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2019, 02:22 PM
 
1,395 posts, read 875,365 times
Reputation: 1794
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelin405 View Post
This is a HUGE help. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. It sounds like the area, although beautiful over the summers, is not going to be for us year-round. The job growth in Albany without being near any other major area is a concern to me. I also know that the winters are longer and honestly, they're already long enough in New England for us. Thanks!
Yeah that's about the only time of year I'd want to be up in Albany. Lots of people enjoy Lake George and Saratoga during the summer.

If I were you I'd look a bit further south. All depends on what you are looking for if you leave Boston.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:09 AM
 
59,322 posts, read 84,112,411 times
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Have you also considered Clifton Park/Shenedehowa SD or the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake SD in southern Saratoga County? I ask, because that would put you closer to Albany.

Also, a couple of happy medium areas could be Niskayuna in Schenectady County and the North Colonie SD in Albany County. Both border Saratoga County, are good SD’s, are reasonable drives to Albany/Schenectady or Troy and have substantial Asian populations. So, both are a couple of areas that you could consider as well.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 04-09-2019 at 07:25 AM..
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:25 AM
 
1,395 posts, read 875,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Have you also considered Clifton Park/Shenedehowa SD or the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake SD in southern Saratoga County? I ask, because that would put you closer to Albany.

Also, a couple of happy medium areas could be Niskayuna in Schenectady County and the North Colonie SD in Albany County. Both border Saratoga County, are good SD’s, are reasonable drives to Albany/Schenectady or Troy and have substantial Asian populations. So, both are a couple of areas that you could consider as well.
While these are definitely good suggestions, I think they are tired of long winters and not happy with that type of long, drawn out weather. I don't think the commute to Albany is as big of an issue as being happy with the weather is. At least for these guys.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:52 AM
 
59,322 posts, read 84,112,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJones17 View Post
While these are definitely good suggestions, I think they are tired of long winters and not happy with that type of long, drawn out weather. I don't think the commute to Albany is as big of an issue as being happy with the weather is. At least for these guys.
Was weather an initial issue? I’m asking because of the last sentence in the original post. If so, then perhaps they should look elsewhere. If not or if it isn’t a complete decision killer, then I think all of the places suggested are good. The area snowfall average is on par with that of Denver(60-64 inches), if I’m not mistaken.

OP, another thing to consider is that average annual pay in the Albany area is actually higher than a lot of bigger metro areas. You can view this here for yourself: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm

There is a biotech industry and you can find some companies here: Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Chemical Company Jobs in the State of New York (needs to be updated a bit, but is generally relevant)

There is some other tech, but they tend to be smaller firms versus bigger companies in the area that most think about like Global Foundries or General Electric. Some examples are here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.biz...rtups.amp.html

More information: Capital Region Industry Sectors | Center for Economic Growth

Also, in terms of housing, this NAHB Housing Opportunity Index can give an idea in terms of where the area stacks up in regards to median family income and median home sales price: https://www.nahb.org/-/media/Sites/N...5492316B555178
Criteria and the information above is from the 4th section: https://www.nahb.org/en/research/hou...ity-index.aspx

There is also this from the National Association of Realtors: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and...-affordability

This is to help give you, OP, some idea of how the area stacks up or what it offers in some of the aspects that you were wondering about.

Also, here is some information about the Asian percentages/demographics in the Niskayuna and North Colonie SD’s: https://statisticalatlas.com/school-...-and-Ethnicity

https://statisticalatlas.com/school-...-and-Ethnicity

As you can see, both have Asian percentages around/above the state and national percentage of 9.1%(state) and 5.8%(national), respectively.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 04-09-2019 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:35 AM
 
59,322 posts, read 84,112,411 times
Reputation: 13032
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Was weather an initial issue? I’m asking because of the last sentence in the original post. If so, then perhaps they should look elsewhere. If not or if it isn’t a complete decision killer, then I think all of the places suggested are good. The area snowfall average is on par with that of Denver(60-64 inches), if I’m not mistaken.

OP, another thing to consider is that average annual pay in the Albany area is actually higher than a lot of bigger metro areas. You can view this here for yourself: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm

There is a biotech industry and you can find some companies here: Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Chemical Company Jobs in the State of New York (needs to be updated a bit, but is generally relevant)

There is some other tech, but they tend to be smaller firms versus bigger companies in the area that most think about like Global Foundries or General Electric. Some examples are here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.biz...rtups.amp.html

More information: Capital Region Industry Sectors | Center for Economic Growth

Also, in terms of housing, this NAHB Housing Opportunity Index can give an idea in terms of where the area stacks up in regards to median family income and median home sales price: https://www.nahb.org/-/media/Sites/N...5492316B555178
Criteria and the information above is from the 4th section: https://www.nahb.org/en/research/hou...ity-index.aspx

There is also this from the National Association of Realtors: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and...-affordability

This is to help give you, OP, some idea of how the area stacks up or what it offers in some of the aspects that you were wondering about.

Also, here is some information about the Asian percentages/demographics in the Niskayuna and North Colonie SD’s: https://statisticalatlas.com/school-...-and-Ethnicity

https://statisticalatlas.com/school-...-and-Ethnicity

As you can see, both have Asian percentages around/above the state and national percentage of 9.1%(state) and 5.8%(national), respectively.
Just a correction or additional information in terms of the highlighted SD, a portion of it actually goes into southern Saratoga County, even though it is based/centralized primarily in Schenectady County. This map illustrates this: https://statisticalatlas.com/school-...trict/Overview
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:17 PM
 
2,302 posts, read 1,824,961 times
Reputation: 1525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelin405 View Post
Hey All!

My wife, daughter (2.5 Y/O), and I are thinking about moving to the Greater Saratoga area. We are looking for a house potentially in Malta, Ballston Spa, or Stillwater. We are in our early 30s and wanted to ask a few questions.

1. What is it like living in this area? Saratoga seems to be a really nice city to have as our go-to while still living out in a more rural area.

2. How is the commute going into Albany every morning? Are Saratoga people open to entrepreneurship? What is the job market like in Albany?

3. Do any of these towns have a good/welcoming community?

4. What are some negatives about the area? Stagnant housing market, job growth, etc.?

5. I know the schools are pretty good in Saratoga, but what is the school tax like?

6. What are some other family-friendly suburban/rural areas that we should look with reasonable home prices?

7. Any crime to worry about? What is the diversity like? (my wife is Asian).

8. How are the restaurants and food?

We love that we would be close to the ADKs as I spent many summers there as a kid. We live in the greater Boston area now so we're already used to the cold.

Any other insight out be great!

Thanks!
The NorthEast as a whole is at its end. Taxes are high, weather is bad, infrastructure is rotting, and welfare is a growth industry.

Try the Carolinas. Smoky Mountains around the corner. Much safer and more diversity. Weather is better.

New Mexico is generally poor but the outdoor opportunities are amazing and the cultural differences to the rest of the lower 48 are immense.
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