Albuquerque posted the highest median house sale price on record in December, capping a year of record-setting price growth.
The median sale price for a single-family detached house in metro Albuquerque stood at $315,000 last month, according to a monthly report from the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors. That figure eclipsed the previous record – $310,000 – set in November. The mean sale price stood at $364,271, narrowly surpassing the figure from November. Both averages were up more than 16% from last December, according to the report. The new record comes during what is typically a slower part of the year for home buyers and sellers in Albuquerque. Bridget Gilbert, board president for GAAR, told the Journal the high prices are a consequence of fewer sellers listing their homes around the holidays, even as low interest rates help keep demand from buyers unseasonably high.
“As long as the inventory is down and people are competing for those homes, (prices) are just going to continue to go up,” Gilbert said.
The monthly report listed just 592 single-family homes on the market across the metro area, among the lowest figures on record for a full month, and a 46.7% drop from last December. The number of new listings also dropped to 692, down more than 15% year on year.
On the demand side, Gilbert said buyers are looking to take advantage of mortgage interest rates that remain relatively low. She said that several indicators point to interest rates ticking up by the end of the year, which could be incentivizing buyers to pull the trigger on a new home now.
“There’s only one way that these interest rates can go, and that’s going to be up,” Gilbert said. Gilbert added that some buyers may be looking to find new houses that better fit their remote work, or remote learning, needs during the pandemic.
“We have people looking to move up or change their locations,” Gilbert said. “Because of COVID, they’re working out of their homes now, so their … requirements have changed.”
As 2022 gets underway, Gilbert said she doesn’t expect the underlying market dynamics to change right away. She said she expects significant new home construction this year, but added that labor costs and supply chain challenges have driven the price of new homes up.
Gilbert advised first-time homebuyers to be patient and consider looking for homes that are slightly under what they’re pre-qualified for, which she said gives them some wiggle room in a market where homes are selling at or above their listed price.
“I think it will be a very competitive market,” she said.