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Home-buying up 28 percent in NM

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Pulte’s La Orilla townhome community is now rising on the West Side. (ADOLPHE PIERRE-LOUIS/JOURNAL)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Home buying remained strong statewide last month, showing a 28 percent increase from May 2017, according to a market report by the Realtors Association of New Mexico.

The association estimated that residential real estate activity in May brought more than $763 million to the New Mexico economy.

Year-to-date, New Mexico recorded 12,148 transactions, a 32 percent spike from the January-May period in 2017. The May median home price of $201,000 represented the highest level since the association began tracking this data in 2008, and properties averaged 73 days on the market. In Bernalillo County, homes were going under contract on average 38 days after the for sale signs went up.

The May report is based on information from New Mexico member boards and multiple listing services. Reports represent single-family residential data only.

Statewide, the number of active listings also has continued to increase each month during 2018. “Part of this increase is seasonal,” said Connie Hettinga, association president. “But it also represents the number of sellers who have decided now is the time to sell their homes and look for new ones.”

The combination of low inventory plus higher prices and mortgage rates continued to pinch the budgets of some prospective buyers, she said.

“Many New Mexico counties are seeing banner years in their real estate markets,” said Steven Anaya, association CEO, in a statement. “However, as expected, in those counties where the job market is weak and/or inventory is low, the housing market also often shows a decrease in sales compared to previous years.”

In the state’s largest metro area, real estate industry observers say the high demand/higher prices trend is expected to continue this month, when homes traditionally come off the market the fastest and home sale prices tend to peak for the year. According to Realtor.com, 50 percent of homes are sold in summer.

Even as home buying activity for existing homes in the Albuquerque metro area accelerated in 2018, new homes are in the construction pipeline. Homebuilders took out nearly 400 permits for new construction in April and May, according to the Albuquerque New Housing Market Letter, a monthly publication of DataTraq. The Albuquerque area comprises the city, unincorporated Bernalillo County, Rio Rancho and Los Lunas.

Permits have hovered in the 1,700 range annually over the course of the past three years, according to DataTraq.

During the past 12 months, Pulte Group, DR Horton and LGI Homes were the top three builders in terms of permit volume. Development activity includes an upscale West Side 44-townhome community now under construction by Pulte along La Orilla Road, with prices starting at $300,000.

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