The median home price across Santa Fe County surged to another record in the second quarter of 2021, rising nearly 35 percent from the same period last year to $600,000, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors announced Friday.
The combined city and county median price didn’t top $500,000 until the third quarter of 2020.
Outside Santa Fe city limits, the median price rose over 26 percent from last year to $647,000, while the median inside the city increased to $495,000, a 29.6 percent jump from a year ago.
And homes are flying off the market, keeping real estate agents busy.
“I have to get going again,” Keller Williams associate broker Craig Huitfeldt said during an interview. “My next person just drove into the driveway.”
Record prices and fewer homes on the market is a trend that has continued in the city and county for several years. Santa Fe has had less than a two-month supply of homes for nine months
“The model of equilibrium is six months,” said Roger Carson, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. “Above is a buyer’s market, below is a seller’s market. We are so far below that I don’t even put it in a seller’s market. I put it in an auction market.”
What might be most notable for Santa Fe’s working class is the $391,750 median price for homes sold in neighborhoods west of St. Francis Drive, between Alameda Street and Interstate 25, and across the city’s entire south side in the second quarter of the year. That number is up more than 18 percent from spring 2020 and nearly 36 percent from spring 2018, when the median price was $288,272.
“We look at the MLS [multiple listing service], and they come in at $450,000 and $500,000 on Airport Road,” Carson said. “That is the heartbeat of Santa Fe, right there.”
Single-family homes were on the market for an average of only only 35 days, the shortest span since the Realtors association started keeping records in 2005. The last four quarters had homes on the market for around 50 days — the fewest until now.
Homes often get numerous offers, even in the double digits. Still, some potential buyers hesitate, Keller Williams associate broker Beth Berry said.
“I’m trying to get buyers to realize interest rates are not going to stay this low forever,” Berry said. “Now is the right time to do it.”
The number of homes on the market at the end of the second quarter was 227 — a few more than the record low of 203 in the first quarter of the year but less than half the number available in the same period last year and a third of the homes on the market in spring 2019, according to the association’s statistics.
Santa Fe recorded 470 closed home sales in the second quarter, just below the 499 sold in the second quarter of 2019.
The city has become hugely appealing amid the pandemic, with many people continuing to work remotely, and as Californians flee wildfires and seek more affordable housing elsewhere.
“It’s a change of work lifestyle,” Berry said.
Not that long ago, Californians sold homes and upgraded to larger homes in neighboring states.
“Now they are buying the same home here that they sold for three times as much and they pocket the rest,” Huitfeldt said. “I have multiple deals with Californians right now. They started coming when the pandemic started, and they have been coming ever since.”
The Santa Fe Association of Realtors has not yet done an analysis of how large the California market has grown, but Huitfeldt estimates Californians are 30 percent of the buyers he’s involved with, compared to 10 percent two years ago.
He said half his buyers will work remotely from Santa Fe.
How can nearly as many homes sell now as in 2019 with only one-third the inventory?
“Back in 2019, not every home sold,” Carson said.
The market is so tight that anything can sell. Many buyers don’t care about the condition of a home because they plan to remodel or rebuild the dwelling. They just want into the market.
“People are buying houses that normally would not be sold,” Huitfeldt said. “They would sit on the market for a long time. There’s obvious flaws. This home should be fixed.”
And it likely will sell for more than the buyer is asking.