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Sales, median prices for NM homes surge in May

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The median sales price for homes in New Mexico last month marked the best May in at least eight years, according to a county-by-county report released Friday by the Realtors Association of New Mexico.

Housing sales were up 4 percent statewide year-over-year, with 1,795 properties sold in May compared to 1,724 last year, the association said.

The May median price of $190,000 was the highest for the month since 2008, when the median price was $194,250. Median means half of the homes sold for a higher price and half for a lower price.

In terms of units sold in May, the busiest counties were Bernalillo, 687 homes, up nearly 4 percent; Sandoval, 236 homes, up 24.2 percent; Santa Fe, 167, up 0.6 percent; and Doña Ana, 160 homes, up 1.3 percent.

Year-to-date numbers (January through May) also show health. The organization said 7,418 sales were recorded so far this year, a 6 percent increase over last year.

Sales dollar volume statewide last month was $409.7 million, 3 percent higher than last year’s dollar volume.

“The housing market continues to do its share in making a positive contribution to New Mexico’s economy,” said Steve Anaya, association CEO.

While the numbers continue to move in positive directions, there are many areas of the state suffering from lower-than-usual inventory of homes for sale, said Patricia Fell, assocation president.

“While this is good news for sellers, it limits the options available for buyers. And even with continued low mortgage interest rates, student debt continues to be cited as hurting a potential buyer’s ability to save for a down payment,” she said.

Another industry watcher said the numbers are heading in positive directions statewide, but he wouldn’t term the residential real-estate market in the metro area as fully recovered.

“I would say we are still recovering,” said Jon Schnoor, president of the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors. “The main reason, in my opinion, is we haven’t seen the significant job growth like surrounding states.”

Job growth might stoke sales of existing homes to double digits, as recorded in 2006 and 2007, and get homebuilders to ratchet up activity.

“That’s the last leg of the (economic development) stool we are looking for,” he said. “Still, you don’t want to get too hot of a housing market and price people out of the market.”

The average house on the market in the metro area last month sold 13 days sooner than the same time last year in a continued tight market.

“If we had a run of 4 to 5 percent (year-over-year) growth for 10 years, we’d be happy,” Schnoor said.

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