By Chris Quintana | The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012, this article was syndicated from The New Mexican, click here for the original article
The median sales price for homes in the Santa Fe area — including both the city and the county — dropped 6.8 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
The median sales price in the combined city and county data for the second quarter of 2011 was $359,000 compared to $334,450 for the first quarter of 2012.
Dan Wright, 2012 president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, attributed that change to the gradual drop in the market since the peak in 2007, when the median price hit about $420,000.
“We’re at the tail end of the decline in the market,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think it will continue to go down at this point.”
The total number of homes sold in the second quarter rose by 5.6 percent, from 318 units in 2011 to 336 units in 2012.
But the total value of those home sales sank from $151.9 million in 2011’s second quarter to $144.9 million in 2012’s second quarter, which Wright said creates a more advantageous market for buyers.
Second-quarter sales of condos and townhomes also rose, to 74 units from 60 units. The median price rose from $237,188 to $245,000. Wright said low interest rates may have helped boost the market.
“The Santa Fe housing market is picking up with sales modestly over last year,” he said. “The historically low interest rates are helping to get buyers motivated.”
The inventory of available homes sank by 15 percent in comparison to the second quarter of last year. Coleen Dearing, vice president of the association, said that can be attributed to people pulling their homes off the market or people who have decided to take advantage of low refinancing rates. Dearing also said the increase in home sales has affected the inventory rate.
Also notable, the number of young homeowners, in the 23 to 25 age range, has risen for the first time in five years, according to Gilbert Garcia, a mortgage professional with Century Bank. He said organizations that can help lower the down payment, such as the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority or the Santa Fe Housing Trust, coupled with low mortgage rates, have helped young people get into the housing market.
Garcia added that banks are indeed lending, though the process requires more documentation of financial information than in years past.
“It’s not harder,” he said. “It’s just more.”
Garcia also said banks in the area have seen the foreclosure rate slow down while the refinancing of mortgages and new purchases of homes have been on the rise.
“The number of foreclosures is not leveling off, but it’s slowed down a bit,” he said. “But it’s going to get tougher before it gets easier.”