Prices Dip, Homes Sell at Faster Clip

  Houses Sold Jumps 40% From Year Ago

  Santa Fe’s lower-priced homes were particularly hot commodities during the months of April, May and June, according to second-quarter statistics released Wednesday by the Santa Fe Association of Realtors.

   The report shows that the median price for single-family homes sold within the city and county dipped to $345,000 from $402,057 during the same quarter last year, and fell from $390,500 during the first three months of 2010.

   But houses were moving at a faster rate.   A total of 299 houses sold in the second quarter, representing a 40 percent increase over the 214 sold during the same quarter in 2009. It’s an even bigger jump over the first quarter of 2010, when 205 homes were sold.

   “It appears that the market is moving throughout all price rang   es, but those (lower-priced homes) were moving at a quicker pace,” said Santa Fe Association of Realtors President Lois Sury. “There was more volume there.”

   For example, 150 homes were sold within city limits in the second quarter. Of those, 89 (59 percent) occurred in the southwest region, where the median price was $239,950.

   The median price for all city sales was $288,000, down from $307,500 in 2009 and $464,000 during the first three months of 2010.

   The recent expiration of federal tax credits may help explain both the second-quarter spike in sales and the drop in median price, Sury said. First-time home-buyers and those re-entering the market after     an extended absence had until April 30 to execute a purchase agreement in order to qualify for up to $8,000 in tax credits.

   “I saw people looking in that part of the market, a lot of them thinking that this was their opportunity,” Sury said.

   Another trend reflected in the association’s report was a reduction in asking prices, she added. Sellers were aligning their expectations with the market and, in return, getting a higher percentage of their asking price. In June, sellers were receiving an average of 96 percent of their asking price — the highest rate of the past year.  

   “Sellers that needed to move their homes and needed to sell, reduced their prices and lined more up with the value that the buyers seemed to feel comfortable with,” Sury said. “That also brought down the median.”

   The median for county home sales decreased over last year’s second-quarter figures, dipping $411,250 from $450,000. But the median was significantly higher than the $318,224 during 2010’s first quarter.

   Sury said she expects home sales to remain brisk, even though the popular federal tax credits have expired. She said interest rates are low and should continue to lure buyers. She said interest rates have dipped into “the high 4s,” which can repre   sent a huge savings over the long term.

   “The $8,000 (tax credit) was just off the top, but if the interest rate is low, it’s over the life of the loan, and you’re really saving money there,” she said.

   Wednesday’s report also showed that condo and town home sales stayed relatively level. A total of 58 such properties were sold in the second quarter, compared to 57 during the same period in 2009. The median price fell from $250,000 to $238,500.

   As for land sales, a total of 27 properties were sold within the city and county during the second quarter, down from 32 last year. The median price increased by 11 percent, up to $168,500 per property.

 By Jessica Dyer  –   Journal Staff Writer