The median home price in the most working-class area of Santa Fe reached a record $410,000 in the third quarter, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported Monday.

The area west of St. Francis Drive between Interstate 25 and Alameda Street is the lowest-priced sector for homes in Santa Fe County but saw a price increase of 18.2 percent.

Who can afford that? Out-of-state buyers, real estate experts say.

Even with record home prices, that part of a city saw 190 home sales in the third quarter — a 22.6 percent increase from the 155 homes sold in the third quarter of 2020, the association reported.

“I would say most buyers are not from Santa Fe,” said Roger Carson, the association’s president. “If you’re trying to buy a home, it is really daunting; it’s debilitating.”

All single-family homes across

Santa Fe County saw a 10.3 percent increase in median sales price over the previous third quarter to $590,875, association statistics show.

The third-quarter median home price in the city of Santa Fe rose to $475,000. The county outside the city of Santa Fe saw the median price of homes sold soar to $714,506 — a 19.1 percent increase over $600,000 late summer last year and a $67,000 increase even from the previous quarter.

Outsiders have been driving the Santa Fe market since the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, Carson said.

“Everything in the city is deemed desirable by people coming from the outside,” Carson said. “In our housing market, it has shifted. We have a new reality. The number of people moving here are working in their homes. Their employer is in New York or Chicago or San Francisco.”

Incredibly, perhaps, Santa Fe’s home price increases are relatively mild compared to the nationwide 18 percent increase in July, calculated by CoreLogic, the global property information and analytics provider.

Home prices in Idaho rose 33.6 percent from July to July — the highest in the country — followed by Arizona at 28.4 percent and Utah at 25.7 percent. All three states are flooded with newcomers.

In Bozeman, Mont., single-family home price rocketed 49 percent from June to June, as reported by the Gallatin Association of Realtors. CoreLogic reported a 41 percent rise in

Twin Falls, Idaho, in the same period and a 35 percent jump in Bend, Ore.

That doesn’t mean Santa Fe’s home prices are any less excruciating, said Mike Loftin, CEO of Homewise, the local affordable housing builder and financier.

“I’m surprised it’s that high,” he said about the $410,000 in midtown and the south side. “This is a really, really hard market. It really tough because there’s not enough homes to buy. What we really need is more supply.”

The housing inventory in Santa Fe County has been in the 200s for four straight quarters, in contrast to the 600s in warmer months and 400s in colder months the previous two years. In 2016, inventory was more than 1,000. The current numbers translate to four quarters of less than two months’ supply, which is considered very tight in a measure where six months is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

“This is uncharted waters,” said Carson, an associate broker at Keller Williams Realty. “If you’re a buyer, you have to be super vigilant. If you want to buy something, you have to be here [in person]. Sellers are really skeptical now [of online offers]. Cash is still absolutely key. You really need a good real estate broker to navigate this.”

Santa Fe County homes were on the market for an average of only 23 days in the third quarter, the lowest number since the association started compiling statistics in 2005. That is close to selling on the spot, in contrast to the days when homes were on the market more than 100 days, or even 60 to 80 days in recent years.

Negotiating a lower price is out the window, with the last two months seeing average home sales at 100 percent of list price. List prices are a mere suggestion with chances successful bidders will offer more.

“It’s not a suggestion, it’s an invitation to bring your best offer,” Carson said.

The city saw an increase in homes sold in the third quarter from 299 to 312, while the rest of the county saw a decrease from 259 to 226. Carson attributes this entirely to a smaller number of homes for sale in the county than the city.

“The solution is you need more housing,” Carson said. “You can’t have every house be 1,400, 3-2 on a quarter acre,” Carson said in describing a 1,400-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two bathroom. “People need to get into the market at a lower price.”

(1) comment

Joe Brownrigg

And we are NOT supposed to giggle when the City talks about "affordable housing"??

Is it time for reality, yet???

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