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Home prices drop slightly in April

A home for sale in the Vista del Norte Subdivision. Photographed on Sunday January 12, 2020. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Home prices fell slightly across Albuquerque in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors’ president is optimistic the slowdown will be short-lived.

“I think when things start opening up, we’ll still see a strong market,” said Sherry Fowler, the association’s president.

The association’s market statistics report for the month of April, released Monday, showed the median sales price for detached single-family homes across the metropolitan area stood at $235,000, up more than 8% compared to April 2019.

However, the median price was down from $238,000 in March, during a period when home prices typically begin to rise ahead of the busier summer months.

Fowler said the spread of the virus in New Mexico slowed down what had been a fast-moving housing market over the last several years. She said the virus has left potential sellers more reluctant than normal to put their homes on the market, which caused the number of houses on the market to plummet in April.

According to the report, there were just 1,146 newly listed single-family homes in April, down 29.5% compared to April 2019. The inventory of existing homes dropped 36% from last April.

Fowler said the low supply didn’t trigger a spike in prices because potential buyers were similarly uneasy. She said fear of losing work due to virus-related shutdowns has prompted potential buyers to stay behave more conservatively than usual. Consequently, the number of sales that closed in April dropped more than 16% from last year.

“I think there might be a little trepidation out there,” Fowler said.

Still, Fowler said the underlying drivers of Albuquerque’s housing market remain strong. Even with the uncertainty, Fowler said more people are looking to buy than sell at the moment, thanks in part to lower-than-normal interest rates on mortgages. She pointed to the fact that homes stayed on the market an average of just 32 days in April, down nearly 24% from the prior April. In many other markets, home prices largely held steady or rose slightly during a difficult April.

Because of that, Fowler said she’s still optimistic that the summer will be a busy one. She added that real estate agents are working to keep themselves and their clients safe, relying on virtual showings where possible, and wearing masks and disinfecting surfaces when they show a house in person.

“We are just taking every precaution,” Fowler said.

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