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Even in the dead of winter, housing prices in the greater Santa Fe, N.M., area remain warm to the touch.
Though the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported median home sales prices in the city dipped a bit — 2.9% — from the first quarter of 2018, prices outside the city limits rose 19.8%, to $529,000.
Ultimately, the entire Santa Fe metro area — the city and county combined — saw a first-quarter increase of 5.1%, to $412,000.
Median prices ranged all the way from $287,000 in southwest Santa Fe to $735,000 in the northwest portion of the county, according to Realtors association statistics.
Though the overall price dropped in the city, southwest Santa Fe — a bastion of new home construction with more homes sold than the rest of the city combined — saw an 8.3% increase.
Santa Fe Properties broker Chuck McKinley noted quarterly numbers are not all that telling, as no more than 27 homes were sold in any Santa Fe sector outside the 115 sold in the booming southwest.
“I think the important thing is not to dwell on the average price but that the unit counts are down,” McKinley said.
The city and county combined saw a 16.3% decline in home sale closures in the first quarter, from 404 to 334. In Santa Fe, home sales dropped 21.7% from 240 to 188 and in the county they fell 11%, from 164 to 144.
McKinley attributes that almost entirely to snowfall that blanketed the City Different this winter.
“Weather affects business,” he said.
Housing affordability remains a thorny issue, experts said. The Santa Fe Association of Realtors calculated a Housing Affordability Index number of 76, meaning the median income in the area was only 76% of the amount needed to qualify to purchase a median-priced home.
“I would say $354,000 is awful high [for the city’s median price] for all the people who want to live in Santa Fe,” said Ed Romero, executive director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority. “I’m not sure that [the 2.9% home price decrease] opened any doors for anybody to afford to live here.”
First-quarter new listings of homes for sale have drifted down from 901 in 2017 to 862 in 2018 and 745 in 2019, while the inventory of homes for sale slid from 1,400 in 2017 to 1,081 in 2018 and 898 in 2019, according to the Realtors association.
“While home and condo prices remain strong in our market, the halt on interest rate increases for 2019 should help keep both prices and sales stable as we enter Santa Fe’s spring selling season,” said Beth Stephens, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors.
Tribune Content Agency