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Outside interest propels ABQ home market

For-sale signs in NE Albuquerque pictured Sept. 10.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Driven by low interest rates and big-city buyers, metro Albuquerque saw rapid home price growth over the summer and early fall.

The median sale price of a detached single-family house in metro Albuquerque grew more than 12% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2020, according to a new report from the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.

GAAR President Sherry Fowler said the 12.3% jump in median sale price, from $227,100 in the third quarter of 2019 to $255,000 this year, is a significant jump in a market like Albuquerque, which rarely sees the sharp jumps and drops of other western cities.

“In some of the past years, we’d be happy to see a 5% increase for the entire year,” Fowler said.

Fowler said the price spike was driven by city’s continued low inventory, low interest rates and an uptick in buyers relocating from larger cities in search of better weather and more space in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With COVID and everything, I think that has impacted people’s moves,” Fowler said.

The pandemic has taken a toll on housing prices in dense, expensive cities. Realtor.com‘s September rent report showed that the average rents in the San Francisco Bay Area, Manhattan, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C declined significantly in the past 12 months, as the pandemic has given technology workers more leeway to work remotely.

Fowler said Albuquerque stands to benefit from this trend, as the city can offer abundant sunshine and space at lower costs than most larger markets. She added that some buyers are looking to retire in New Mexico as well.

“It’s a great retirement place for people,” Fowler said.

The report noted that the mean sales price for a single-family house rose 12.7% year-over-year, reaching $294,251 in the third quarter of 2020. The number of closed sales rose by 13%, even as the number of new listings declined by more than 8%, according to the report. The average time a home spent on the market before selling dropped from 33 days to 24 days, a sign of a market that’s continuing to tighten.

While many neighborhoods around the metro area reported strong growth, Fowler said she would like to see more interest in Nob Hill and Downtown, where the average sale price declined by nearly 10% year-over-year.

“I think that would be nice to have more buyers down there, to help rejuvenate the downtown area,” Fowler said.

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