December 2009

There seems to be improvement and a steady pulse, but the patient is still very much in the healing process. The November total residential sales numbers for our market area are quite encouraging, and that’s news we can smile about. After 36 (plus) months of a downward trend, it’s very nice to see several months of sales headed upward. I must caution you to remain calm; it’s just a couple months. What we can say, without hesitation, is that we are headed in the right direction. All the hard work we have done and the bitter pills we have swallowed are showing positive results, finally. But we can’t relax and take a day off just yet. There is more work to do and more pills to take. We still have to rebuild and establish some positive momentum, so your first day off might not arrive for a month or two. By then we hope the patient will be feeling much stronger and much healthier.

Once you have the gift in hand, it’s time to say ‘thank you’. Our gift is that the year is almost over. And to that I say THANK YOU. In addition, the good news is actually good; inventory is down and sales are up. The attached spreadsheet shows the figures. While the lower inventory is partially a function of the season, the higher sales numbers are best explained as proof that buyers are now getting it. More and more buyers understand that now really is the time to buy, to take advantage of great values and special deals on beautiful properties. We are thankful for so many things at this time of year and we can even add more. Let’s be glad we are dealing with a reasonably calm marketplace here. The numbers of foreclosures and short sales are comparatively small and manageable; nowhere near as many as in other cities across the Southwestern US. The data is difficult to pin down, but it seems maybe about 10% of sales are foreclosure sales or short sales. This compares to Las Vegas, NV where the best guess is that 75% of homes selling are coming out of a foreclosure or are, by definition, a short sale. But we didn’t choose Las Vegas; we chose Santa Fe. We can thank ourselves for that wisdom.

Most of you stay current, so you know that the tax credit for first time homebuyers was extended along with additional credit for existing homeowners (with minor restrictions) that close by next June. Real estate professionals are planning on this tax credit helping move some of the stagnant inventory of homes out there. It won’t apply to everyone, but if someone buys because of it, that can start a domino effect of related transactions. The second hand effect can be positive for anyone trying to get something done in real estate today. So yes, there is still plenty to be done. But possibly no one can remember a time when buyers had so much to look at and to choose from. And sellers are the targets of buyer’s aggressive offers. If you are a seller, it helps to remember not to take it personally when a buyer prospect submits a very low offer. They just want the best deal they can get. While they have a large inventory to look at, they will be highly selective and expect to prevail in negotiations.

The chart at the top of the next page shows the homes sold monthly figures and that’s where you can get excited about the increases showing up the past couple months. What if December matches November, you ask? Then we would really have something to be thankful for!

Santa Fe City/County Residential Sales of Homes Monthly
     Jan      Feb      Mar      Apr      May      Jun      Jul      Aug      Sep     Oct    Nov   Dec   Totals

2002

124

139

169

189

234

189

216

224

179

232

169

174

2238

2003

154

130

189

188

174

211

241

245

219

233

183

188

2355

2004

143

154

197

241

220

247

217

242

208

222

239

227

2557

2005

157

163

203

215

222

284

256

278

260

249

279

232

2798

2006

170

182

247

203

269

235

230

201

180

196

183

178

2474

2007

129

114

179

157

192

180

169

172

137

133

146

122

1830

2008

101

104

97

102

132

116

113

144

125

128

83

105

1350

2009

47

63

94

84

84

108

125

109

125

130

112

All numbers are from Santa Fe Assoc. of Realtors MLS database and are deemed reliable but are not guaranteed

A month from now, we can look forward to a full calendar year’s worth of statistics to analyze and report on. What 2009 has probably become is the starting point for our move into recovery. A year from today I hope to write that we surpassed 2009 with some very positive results for 2010. So for this season, let’s be thankful we may have turned the corner and found ourselves headed in a positive direction again. Now get out there and buy a house!


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