Single-family homes in Santa Fe sold for 21 percent more in the third quarter of 2018 than during the same period last year, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
More homes of all types were listed for sale, under contract or sold during the period this year than last, according to association statistics. And they sold at a faster clip: The average home spent 72 days on market during the third quarter of this year versus 109 days during the same period in 2017.
Strong demand increased the median sales price of a home by 6 percent over the third quarter of 2017, to $355,134. The median sales price of a single-family home rose to $394,000, according to the association.
Continued interest by homebuyers retiring to Santa Fe or lured here by jobs contributed to continuing high demand for homes in the city. The new Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center, for one, opened with a staff of 250.
“Presbyterian opening is contributing to the increase, and that quality-of-life retiree has always contributed,” said Chuck Whitney, a broker with Santa Fe Properties. “The problem, if there is a problem, is the affordable price point. There is just very little inventory and that’s driving the price up.”
In the third quarter, more home sales closed, 833, than the 820 in the third quarter of 2017. Year-to-date, closings were still higher this year than last, 2,325 compared to 2,161, but the pace had slowed when compared to the previous year.
Buyers were paying better than 96 percent, on average, of the asking price, up from 94.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Multiple offers are still the norm, Whitney said.
Brokers said sales of luxury homes were skewing the statistics higher. It is a seller’s market, though, and inventory is tight overall.
“Good homes priced well are selling quickly,” said Darlene Streit, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty of Santa Fe. Buyers who want to be “in town and trying to be under a million with a view is very tight, depending on size.”
Santa Fe is still a bargain for buyers cashing out of or frustrated with real estate markets elsewhere.
Val Brier, a Santa Fe broker, said market pressure in Colorado and California is driving retirees and second-home buyers to Santa Fe. In Denver, buyers are making multiple offers over the asking prices and still coming up short, she said.
“The values are really high and it’s really crowded,” Brier said. “Santa Fe used to be a lot more expensive than Denver,” but that’s not the case any longer.
Retirees are looking at Santa Fe’s relative affordability, small-town atmosphere and cultural and environmental charms, she said. Climate change is motivating homebuyers from Texas and Oklahoma to look in Taos and Santa Fe, Brier said.
“The reason they’re leaving is that it’s just so hot in Texas,” she said.
Inventory of all types of property in the Santa Fe area was down nearly 20 percent, from 1,540 in the third quarter of 2017 to 1,241 this year.
New listings came available in the first and second quarters this year at a pace that lagged last year’s. In the third quarter, however, they were up 8.2 percent compared to last year.
Emily Medvec of Hello Realty Partners said numbers don’t tell the whole story.
“So many, in my opinion, hear that today you’ll never find a deal,” she said. “The right house is here with some planning. With a tight market, the most important thing is to plan, and have some leverage on the buyer’s side.”
Housing affordability, as calculated by the Realtors’ association, remained low due to higher median sales prices, low inventory and mortgage rates that are nearly a full percentage point higher, on average, than in September 2017.
The affordability index calculated by the association fell 11.6 percent to 80 this year from 91 in the third quarter if 2017. Housing becomes less affordable the lower the index falls. That index has fallen steadily since 2015.