Posted at: 12/11/2012 6:22 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
November was another good month for home sales in Albuquerque, but it's not necessarily a sign that New Mexico's economy is actually recovering from the recession.
The state's economy is still not creating many jobs, and the work force has shrunk, but more people are buying and selling houses, and that is a positive sign that a recovery might be on the way.
Five hundred and fifty two houses sold in Albuquerque in November, 12.2 percent higher than November of last year, and the 17th consecutive month of year-to-year increases. We're still not back to pre-recession numbers, but this is a lot busier than the grim days of 2010 and 2011. Historically low interest rates and low prices appear to be driving the trend.
"Inventory is down but the home prices that are selling are first time homebuyer prices and investor prices," said Marc Guggino, President of the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors. "Our upper end prices, the move-up prices, are still not moving the way we'd like to see them, but we're getting a lot of those lower end houses selling."
"This month the median price is $165,000, so half of what we sold last month was $165,000 or less," said Association Director Janice McCrary. "That's highly affordable in this market, so we're seeing people make decisions to move into houses that they can afford and that they can afford in this economy."
The increased appetite for houses may mean an eventual comeback for New Mexico home construction. Thousands of construction jobs just shriveled up and blew away in the recession, and very few have come back so far.
Real estate people can think back to happier times. In November, 2005 more than 1,000 houses were sold in Albuquerque, almost twice as many as this November.