1st Quarter 2009 Market Report

What’s Actually Happening in the Santa Fe Real Estate Market? 1st Quarter 2009
by Bob Cardinale

I’ll try to give a straight answer with some statistics and observations focusing on the 4th Quarter of 2008 and what’s going on right now.

First, an overview of the national market.  According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, price declines accelerated in November.  No area in the US experienced year-to-year price gains – the eighth month in a row that this has happened.

Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco all had monthly drops of 3% and year-to-year drops over 30%.  In 20 major metropolitan areas, home prices dropped 18.2% from the prior year.  Denver and Dallas faired the best with only a 3-4% decline.

Forth quarter figures for the city of Santa Fe show that the median home price held steady at $350,000.  That’s good news.  Sales in the city decreased from 141 sold during 4th quarter of 2007 to 131 in 4th quarter of 2008 – a 7% decrease.  That’s not so good.
In the county, the median price declined 23% from $549,125 to $427,500.  Unit sales were down from 132 to 106 in quarter-to-quarter comparison from 2008 to 2007, or about a 20 % decline.

There are some positive notes: In the Northeast quadrant of the city, the median sale price in 4th quarter rose 21% from $697,500 to $875,000, a 21% increase.  In the Northwest quadrant, the median price was up 36% from $318,000 to $492,250 and unit sales in the same area were up from 12 to 14, a 14% increase.  That’s a small increase but definitely good news.  It that trend continues, it may indicate that we may be at or near the bottom of the cycle in that area.

The Eldorado area quarter-to-quarter figures show a 7% decline in median price from $391,00 to $364,000 and a 58% decline in units sold from 26 to 11.  Eldorado is a good measure of the market as it is a large and rather homogeneous area so the statistics are dealing with many similarly priced houses.

So overall, prices are down or holding steady as is shown by the median sales prices in the city.  The number of units sold is down in all areas of the city and county except for the northwest quadrant of the city.

I hope this analysis of the statistics from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors for 4th Quarter of 2008 is of some help.  First quarter statistics should be out early in April and hopefully the numbers will show some positive trends.  So with interest rates down around 5% and lots of inventory on the market, it is a good time to buy, especially for first time home-buyers.

If you have questions or comments, please email me or call:
Bob Cardinale
Sotheby’s International Realty