Selling Houses: 2015 off to a good start
By Roger and Melissa Carson
For The New Mexican
The Santa Fe Association of Realtors recently published the market statistics for the fourth quarter of 2014, and the data show growth in almost all markets, which bodes well for 2015. Overall, the inventory levels have dropped, and year-to-date new listings were down almost 5 percent.
An increase in home prices lends questions to affordability, and Santa Fe experienced a decline in pending sales for the final fourth quarter of 2014, with 460 contracts in 2013 versus 317 contracts in 2014, which is the sharpest decrease we have experienced in a quarter since 2008. Overall for 2014, pending sales were down by only 3 percent from 2013. However, closed sales continue to climb, with a 4 percent increase over 2013 and continued year-over-year gains since 2009.
Speaking of increasing home prices, the northeast city quadrant experienced the strongest growth in the final quarter, with a 57 percent increase in closed sales and a slight gain in median price over the same quarter of 2013 to $724,500. The northwest city also experienced strong sales, with a 10 percent increase over the last quarter of 2013 and the median sales price rising to $352,000 from $327,500. East-side Santa Fe had a big increase in median sales price to $685,000 with sales remaining constant. However, the southwest quadrant remains soft, with a 17 percent decrease in closed sales for the final quarter and a decrease in median sales price from $230,000 in 2013 to $200,000.
Moving to the county, sales also were robust. The north section, including Tesuque, had a slight increase in closed sales but experienced an 11 percent drop in median sales price from $443,700 to $391,500. The northwest quadrant, including Aldea and Las Campanas, experienced a 15 percent increase in closed sales and a 12 percent increase in median sales price to $780,000 from $695,000. The southeast county also had strong sales to finish the year with an increase of 15 percent. The median sales price increased only slightly, from $353,750 to $365,000.
Eldorado remains strong, with a 25 percent increase in closed sales over 2013, but the median price there decreased by 6 percent to $318,000 from $339,000. Lagging sales hampered the southwest county, with a 15 percent decline from 2013 and another drop in median sales price to $255,000 from $275,000.
The median sales price for 2014 slipped slightly to $295,000 from $300,000 over the previous year. Conversely, the average sales price increased slightly to $397,155 for 2014 from $395,844 in 2013. Luxury homes sales increased in 2014, with 109 homes selling above $1 million versus 95 homes in 2013. The percent of selling price to list price received remains relatively unchanged at 91 percent, while the days on the market until a sale increased to 169 from 165 in 2013. Area housing inventory decreased slightly in the fourth quarter of 2014 from 12.3 months to 11.3. Land sales dropped substantially in 2014, with 169 lots selling versus 195 lots selling from the previous year.
So, what does all of this mean for us in 2015? Those neighborhoods with increases in selling prices may allow sellers who were previously underwater to sell in a better market, while those neighborhoods that are still down may see more distressed sales. Interest rates continue to remain at record lows, and more buyers will likely purchase this year before affordability becomes an issue. Gains in inventory will continue to create an equilibrium for our housing market, and we will see more gains in housing prices in select neighborhoods. The luxury home market continues to gain momentum, and we will probably experience an increase in sales that will fuel our average selling price further. All in all, we predict 2015 will be a fantastic year, and as we say in real estate, out with the old and in with the sold!