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SF gets uptick in elderly residents

SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe households are getting older and smaller and, increasingly, consist of just one person, according to the city’s latest Housing Needs Assessment.

Also, housing costs are outpacing incomes, and around 46 percent of local residents put more than one-third of their earnings toward rent or mortgages.

Housing will likely need to accommodate the aging population by being closer to shopping, public transportation and other services. More Santa Feans may also opt for rental options instead of home ownership, the assessment said.

The demand for new homes will be less of an “economic driver” than in the past, the report predicted.

The 2012 Housing Needs Assessment was compiled using information from the census, including the American Community Survey, and various federal agencies, as well as surveys, interviews and other more qualitative data. It was put together by Denver-based BBC Research & Polling and Housing Strategy Partners of Santa Fe.

The information in the report will be used to, among other things, create Santa Fe’s Consolidated Plan for 2014-2019, which helps the city meet requirements set by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development on planning for, and allocating funding to, affordable housing and community development needs.

Santa Fe’s last Housing Needs Assessment was done in 2007.

The percentage of Santa Fe’s residents younger than 55 decreased from 63 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2010, according to the most recent report. The median age of the city increased from 40 to 44 during that time.

Currently, single people now comprise 40 percent of Santa Fe households, up from about 36 percent in 2000.

However, Santa Fe’s Spanish-speaking households tend to be bigger and much younger, with more children.

“Their housing needs are going to be a lot different, and they’re not earning high incomes,” Santa Fe Housing Special Projects Manager Alexandra Ladd said.

Currently, the average monthly mortgage in Santa Fe is $1,577, while the average rent is $827 a month, according to the report.

The median home value in Santa Fe rose by 65 percent from 2000 to 2011, from $183,000 to $295,000. At the same time, the report noted, “the gap between what people earn and how much homes are sold (for) continues to widen.”

Local workers, in particular, haven’t really benefited from the real estate downturn of the last several years, the assessment said. Instead, “the market downturn has more likely benefited retirees and second homeowners,” it concluded.

The document points toward the “demographic shift of the city away from younger adults and children toward residents aged 55 and older” and the high number of Santa Fe County residential real estate transactions filed by a party located outside New Mexico.

In 2011, 25 percent of residential real estate transactions in the county had an out-of-state address. Between 2008 and 2011, the out-of-state rate was closer to 20 percent.

These out-of-state sales were priced 30 percent higher than the median value of all residential real estate transactions in Santa Fe and will likely put pressure on home values, the assessment said.

Ladd emphasized that Santa Fe has a strong network of service providers and nonprofits to help people with housing needs. “I think we’re doing good work and we need to keep it up. We can’t stop,” she said.

Also in the assessment:

♦ On average, just 14 percent of renters in Santa Fe earn enough money annually, around $74,000, to purchase a home priced at the median value. In 2000, about one-third of Santa Fe renters were able to afford a median priced unit.

Rent increased about 25 percent from 2000 to 2010. The income of renters only rose by about 4 percent during that time, however, and “renters lost purchasing power during the decade,” the assessment said.

It also estimated that 3,000 Santa Fe renters making less than $25,000 a year can’t find affordable housing.

♦ Currently, just 38 percent of Santa Fe’s workers live in Santa Fe, compared to about 51 percent in 2002.

About 72 percent of people who work in Santa Fe and used to live in the city but have moved elsewhere said Santa Fe housing is too expensive. Other reasons for moving included that the available housing didn’t offer enough amenities or didn’t meet their needs, or people wanted to be closer to the workplace of another member of their household.

Half of Santa Fe workers now living outside the city said they don’t want to move to Santa Fe.