National & Local Home Sales Ended Strong in 2013

  I  just read a news report that said nationally, home sales rose by 11% last year — the highest increase in sales since the peak of the housing market in 2005. Woo Hoo! That seems like a strong indicator that the national economy is continuing to grow. Locally, home sale in Los Alamos County were up a similar percentage. Hopefully, the approved LANL budget instead of more months of continuing resolution will solidify that trend further as we begin 2014!

And, one plus of the stock market correction we’ve been experiencing the last few days also has a silver lining — it has pushed mortgage interest rates down to their lowest since last November. The 30-year fixed conforming mortgage hit 4.34 percent Friday. Buyers: it’s a great time to start shopping for homes in Los Alamos. We are seeing new listings coming on the market as sellers try to get a jump on the typically strong spring selling season.

Top Housing Markets for the Next Five Years

   
Business Insider recently ranked 15 cities by their projected annualize change in home prices between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2017. Many of these cities have seen large declines in home prices over the last few years, but are expected to post major gains and strong rebounds in the coming years.

According to Business Insider, these housing markets will likely reign for the next five years:

1. Medford, Ore.  – Annualized expected price growth (from Q4 2012 to Q4 2017): 9.5% 

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico – Annualized expected price growth: 9%

3. Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach, Fla. – Annualized expected price growth: 8.9%

4. Gulfort-Biloxi, Miss. – Annualized expected price growth: 8%

5. Glens Falls, N.Y. – Annualized expected price growth: 7.9%

6. Reno-Sparks, Nev. – Annualized expected price growth: 7.7%

7. Yuma, Ariz. (tied with Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y.) – Both have an annualized expected price growth of 7.4%

 

Source: “The 14 Best Housing Markets For The Next Five Years,” Business Insider (May 20, 2013)  

Smithsonian names Los Alamos one of twenty best small towns

The Smithsonian just released its list of the twenty best small towns to visit in 2013. Los Alamos is number 8.  The article states:

“The spectacular setting that inspired Oppenheimer is perhaps the crowning glory. Cached on the 7,500-foot Pajarito Plateau amid ranch lands and pine forests—lately threatened by two major wildfires—Los Alamos is in easy reach of skiing and hiking, ancient Pueblo dwellings at Bandolier National Monument and Georgia O’Keeffe’s house in Abiquiu”

I couldn’t agree more.

 

First two months stronger than 2012

I just wrote an article for the LA Daily Post about the current market. More houses sold in first two months of 2013 than they did in the first two of 2012. That’s good news after a rather slow finish to 2012. The flip side to that coin was that the average price of the houses that sold were down rather strongly. You can read more here. http://www.ladailypost.com/content/real-estate-round-table-2013-home-sales-rise

Housing market in Los Alamos starts year strong

First, the good news.  After ending 2012 in a marked downward trend,  the first month of 2013 has started strong!  In addition to two weeks of solid market activity, when we compare sales from January 1 – February 16, we’re currently ahead of last year’s pace (21 sales in 2013 vs. 12 sales in 2012).  It’s too early to declare this a trend for the new year, but it’s an encouraging start!  Believe me, I’m doing all I can to keep up this momentum.

 ””Next, some cause for concern.  The federal budget negotiation deadline concerning sequestration measures is fast approaching.  LANL has said that layoffs are not an option, but other cost-savings measures may be necessary.  It’s all dependent on how the federal-level negotiations go.  Here’s a link to LANL Director Charles McMillan’s thoughts:

http://www.lamonitor.com/content/mcmillan-workforce-reduction-not-viable

We all know that when LANL catches a cold, the local real estate market can suffer from the flu.  We’re hoping to stay healthy, but only time will tell.

Housing market remains steady in Los Alamos

As the end of the year approaches, I can report two interesting trends in the Los Alamos County housing market. First, the average home sale prices have been steady for nearly three full years ranging from $282,000 to $289,000.  The second interesting trend is that the overall home sales volume is declining.  In 2012 we will sell less than 200 homes for the first time since 2008. Slow hiring at LANL and election year uncertainty are possible explanations.

Home sales prices have remained steady for the past three years.

I’ll report more here at the end of the year.

It’s time to start those pre-winter chores

As I write this it’s raining with showers of intermittent hail. Ahhhh, fall. Last weekend, my zucchini plants were nipped by frost. According to the National Weather Service, Los Alamos has a 50% chance of frost by October 8th and a 90% chance by October 23rd. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, winter is on its way. Some of the things I intend to do this weekend around my own house are check the seals around my windows, clean the pine needles from my gutters, drain my drip irrigation system and dismantle the watering system at my community garden plot. My husband and I were on our roof earlier this week checking to make sure everything looked in good shape. While tedious, these little chores have a big payoff. For those of you who have houses for sale that are not occupied, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to go by, make sure the thermostat will allow the heat to come and occasionally check in on those vacant properties. As always, if there’s ever anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me!

Los Alamos County the Healthiest in the Nation

A report released earlier this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said Los Alamos County was the healthiest place in the country to live. The study used education, economic development, clinical care, physical environment, health behaviors, premature death rates (death before 75 years of age) and poverty rates in each U.S. county as its criteria. Only 15 percent of residents 20 years and older are physically sedentary, compared to the national average of 21 percent physical inactivity, the study said. Economic health seems to also play a key factor — Los Alamos County also received recognition recently as the wealthiest county in the US by the Census Bureau. Another factor in the area’s being named the healthiest is attributed to the fact that residents have access to skiing, hiking, swimming, rock climbing and mountain biking, and it’s a popular destination for adventure seekers. The Sioux Nation in North Dakota, economically depressed, is named as the unhealthiest. 

A lot of people have been asking me about what the latest LANL news has done to the housing market in Los Alamos. The voluntary separation was successful in obtaining the numbers it needed at the lab and Director McMillan has announced there will be no involuntary separation. Our office has been busy over the past two weeks. It seems that spring has sprung. Some new listings, some new buyers, some new sellers. As always, well cared for homes that are prepared properly and priced right are selling. I look forward to a perfectly normal spring and summer selling season.  In the meantime, we had a welcome spring snowstorm last night that dropped 5-8 inches of very wet snow. I love New Mexico springs!

New Tax on Home Sales?

A friend recently asked me about a supposed “new tax on home sales” that is part of the health care reform act. There’s a bunch of crazy inaccurate email about this tax that is being passed around that some of you may have seen. In reality, it’s almost a non-issue. You can read more about it here.