Real Estate Sales are Rebounding

Paul Weideman | For The New Mexican 

Did you hear that sound? It is the resounding rebounding real-estate market in Santa Fe. A welcome sound, a calming and also an exciting sound. March 2009 proved to be a turning point for the sales and re-sales of homes in Santa Fe. Based on figures supplied by the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, for the first time in several years the sales for the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County in March of 2009 exceeded those same sales of the prior year 2008.

OK, the increase is small, but is significant in this economy. The number of sales for March 2009 increased by 2.7 percent over March of 2008. Even more significant is the fact that there has been no increase in sales at all for the first quarter of any year since 2006, when an increase occurred compared to the first quarter of 2005.

I visited with many Realtors recently, all of whom report that more prospective second-home buyers are visiting Santa Fe. One reason could be the increase in the Dow Jones and the overall upward trend for the stock market in general. Another reason for more potential home buyers this spring is the federal government’s vast infusion of capital into the banking system – certain to stimulate housing purchases.

Buyers are beginning to believe that by delaying their purchase decision even several weeks can result in two possibilities: higher prices and higher interest rates. If you have thought about a home in Santa Fe, it just doesn’t get better than NOW. Statistics are beginning to prove this logic.

Banks and national mortgage lenders are flush with money. Buyers must be qualified, with good credit, but rates are at a historically low level.

Jerry Jorgensen with Santa Fe Realty Partners believes that “There is evidence in every real-estate brokerage in Santa Fe that activity is up in contracts, showings and Web-site traffic.”

Darci Burson, qualifying broker for Sotheby’s in Santa Fe, says, “Our March 2009 transactions were almost identical to March 2008; however, we saw the momentum increase over February 2009.”

The National Association of Realtors also agrees that a possible pickup in sales activity is under way nationally. Their Pending Homes Sales Index (based on anticipated sales of existing homes) rose 2.1 percent in February 2009 compared to the January 2009 index. Again, a small but important statistic.

We know that market news changes every day and that by the time you read my comments, conditions could have changed one way or the other. But, just remember that buyers and owners of Santa Fe real estate are in one of the best market situations to be found anywhere in the country. The bottom line is that sale prices will remain stable while interest rates remain low and interest in Santa Fe remains off the scale.