ABQ home sales strengthen - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ home sales strengthen

Biz_jd_28oct_Housing-Snapshot_3rd-qtrMonthly sales of detached, single-family homes topped the 1,000 mark in July for the first time in eight years, contributing to a housing market in the Albuquerque metro area that was beginning to look like its old self in the third quarter.

The Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors reported 2,886 homes sold in July-September, up about 4 percent from 2,774 sales in the second quarter and 21 percent from 2,387 in the third quarter of 2014. The third quarter is usually the housing market’s most active quarter of the year.

From a historical perspective, the 2,886 sales are roughly where home sales were in the third quarter of 2003, just as the market was heating up into what would become the housing bubble.

The 1,013 detached, single-family homes sold in July were the most for any month since 1,011 homes were sold in June 2007, according to association data.

The ratio of home sales to home listings pointed to a seller’s advantage in the third quarter, with a 4.2-month supply of homes on the market. Six months is considered a balanced market between buyer and seller. Higher is a buyer’s market, while lower is a seller’s market.

The apparent seller’s advantage didn’t translate to home prices, which tend to increase in a seller’s market and decrease in a buyer’s market.

The median price of $185,000 in the third quarter barely nudged from $184,000 in both the second quarter and the third quarter of 2014. Median means half of the homes sold during the quarter sold for more and half sold for less.

The static median price likely reflects a greater share of buyer interest in low to moderately priced homes, which has been characteristic of the metro’s gradual housing recovery. According to GAAR’s monthly reports, 55 percent of the homes sold for $199,000 or less in the third quarter.

The relative weakness in sales in the upper half of the market has been attributed to reduced demand from so-called “move-up buyers,” or homeowners who sell, then turn around and buy a more expensive house.

On a quarterly basis, the median price in the metro peaked at $200,000 in the second quarter of 2007, according to GAAR data.

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