Please read our column in last Sunday’s Santa Fe New Mexican, Bon Appetit!
Here are some fun homes to look at.
On April 15th, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors released the first quarter statistics of Santa Fe’s improving housing market. Along with the rest of the country, Santa Fe finally seems to be enjoying strong buyer interest and consistent appreciation in most neighborhoods. While the median price point overall in Santa Fe had a minute increase, the average sales price shifted upwards to $382,064 which indicates the gains made by Santa Fe’s luxury market. Pending sales were down over 18% from the same time last year, perhaps as choosy buyers wait for more selection sure to come with our spring and summer season. Inventory levels remain steady at 10 months but the average days on market has fallen by 10% to 171 days.
Location, location, location. The neighborhood with the biggest gains is the city limits Southeast including South Capital and the Eastside. With a 30% increase in units sold and a 22% increase in median sales price to $549,786, buyers shopping in this area know the frustration of finding a good deal. Northeast city limits experienced a surge in sales for the first quarter of 2014 with 30 homes sold versus 19 from this same time last year. The median sales price, however, is only up 2% to $645,000. Southwest city limits appears flat with 83 units sold down 2% from first quarter last year. The median sales price, too, dropped from $200,000 to $197,000.
The areas around Tesuque enjoyed some good gains this past quarter over last year. Units sold increased from 8 to 11 and the median sales price is up from $456,000 to $486,000. The Northwest County also had a surge in sales for the first quarter, up almost 65% with 38 homes sold. The median sales price here also climbed to $743,399 from $710,000 in 2013. The Southeast County including Old Las Vegas Highway sold 12 more homes than first quarter 2013 however the median sales price slipped from $372,500 to $326,000. Southwest County experienced an 11% decline in sales and an 11% decline in median sales price now $282,089 from last year’s $318,000. The decline is due to the increase in new construction being offered by Rancho Viejo and La Pradera advertising new homes starting in the low $200’s. Eldorado was dead even in sales for this first quarter as compared to last year at 27 homes sold but the median price is down 19% from $358,000 in 2013 to $290,000.
Other residential sales enjoyed small gains including condominiums. Units within the city limits were up with 67 solds in the first quarter of 2014 from 58 last year and the median sales price is up 1% to $215,000. Some ease in financing for condos will aid this market segment. Land sales in the county were down slightly but not surprising when it’s cold outside. Look for land sales to increase next quarter while the overall median sales price for a lot in Santa Fe is up 10% to $107,500.
While there were dips in certain neighborhoods, all indicators point to a strong summer selling season ahead. Interest rates are still historically low and consumer confidence has improved greatly. Santa Fe’s affordability index was up only slightly and there are still some good deals to be had. Some sellers will certainly try to test the market with higher list prices and only time will tell if buyers will take the bait. All in all, 2014 appears to be on track to be a wonderfully good year in the Santa Fe real estate market.
Twenty years of trout fishing can teach you a lot about selling real estate. That may sound odd but you learn that fish are always hungry and homes are always selling. And there’s a big difference between fishing and catching fish and listing your house and selling your house. Here are some field notes from the front lines of trout fishing and selling real estate in Santa Fe.
Regardless of whether you’re fishing or selling, you must first ask yourself if you are really serious. For sellers, do you want to sell your home or are you okay letting it sit on the market? If your home is just sitting on the market and not getting any showings it’s not that there are no buyers, you are simply not in the market where the buyers are. Like fishing, you can go crazy trying things you saw on a T.V. show, reading how-to-do-it books or using the latest technology, but in order to succeed you must know the tools of the trade and understand the fundamental equation.
In real estate the goal is to create demand by positioning your property at the top of a buyer’s desirability list with the right marketing. Success in marketing comes from the right story, told effectively, in the right media, to the best prospects. For the trout fisherman, you must be equally well positioned by knowing the river, the parts of the river, and where in the river is best. You see, trout may be in the pool of water just in front of you but you need to know where they are feeding; at the surface, in the column, or near the bottom. The right fly presented in the wrong place won’t catch a thing. Landing a buyer for your home is no different.
So now you’re standing in a stream full of hungry trout and you watch as your fly drifts by, cast after cast, without any response from the fish, and you begin to wonder what’s wrong. Home sellers get a similar feeling when they prepare time and time again for showings that come and go without hardly any feedback. At this stage of the game you need to adjust the variables of the equation. The skilled angler will adjust three variables, size of the fly, the pattern of the fly, then the color. The more knowledge they have, the better choices they make with theses variables. They keep changing them until, boom, they catch a fish. Home sellers need to do the same thing. For the seller, they have two variables: the price and the condition. If you are getting showings and no offers, it comes down to adjusting the price and improving the condition. These are the two variables that add up to value for buyers.
There is a ready pool of hungry buyers out there and as they watch the daily e-mails of properties that have come on the market they will very quickly decide which properties interest them most. You know that your marketing is working when you’re getting showings. You know that your sales equation is working when you’re getting offers. If you are getting showings and no offers work on your pricing and make certain your property shows the absolute best it can. Optimism will keep you on the river, but knowing the equation will catch fish. If you are not getting the results you hoped for, don’t let optimism turn to despair, you must simply adjust your equation until you get your house sold. Until then, happy fishing everyone.
There have been many articles written about the state of our Santa Fe real estate market. Rather than comment on these articles, we thought it would be best to publish the data recently released by the Santa Fe Association of Realtors on January 16th. The quarterly statistics are the best indicators of our unique market. While the real estate market around the nation continued to improve by leaps and bounds, let’s see how Santa Fe fared.
In broader aspects the city’s total closed sale were up marginally from 187 sales in 2012 to 189 sales in the final 4th quarter of 2013. The median sales price for the city was almost even from $279,990 in the final months of 2012 to $280,100 in the 4th quarter of 2013. The county saw a slight dip in closed sales in the 4th quarter from 162 in 2012 to 158 in 2013. The median price in the county, however, slipped in the 4th quarter from $440,000 in 2012 to $379,000 in 2013. Overall inventory increased in 2013 from 3408 homes for sale at the end of 2012 to 3882 at the end of 2013.
By neighborhood, the northeast city limits had big gains in median sales price for the final 4th quarter. From $569,500 to $717,500, this 26% increase reflects more sales of million dollars homes than in the previous year but closed sales dipped year to date by 9%. Northwest city limits had a modest increase in the median sales price for the quarter from $322,400 in 2012 to $327,500 but closed sales increased by over 18%. The southeast city limits had an overall decline in sales from the previous year of 7% and a decline in median sales price from $545,000 to $475,000. The southwest city limits had a 20% increase in closed sales over the previous year and the median sales price here jumped to $229,250 from $195,000 in 2012.
The north county of Santa Fe had a busy 4th quarter with a 16% increase in sales. Overall, however, sales in this area declined almost 40% from the previous year and it is no wonder that the median sales price also declined by 30% from $635,000 to $443,750. The northwest county was also down overall for the year in closed sales by 7% but the median sales price did increase modestly from $675,000 in the 4th quarter of 2012 to $695,000 in 2013. The southeast county was also down for the year in closed sales by 8% and the median sales price dropped from $383,250 in 4th quarter 2012 to $353,750 in 2013. The southwest county saw a huge increase with closed sales almost doubling from the previous year. The median sales price, however, did decline from $320,000 in the 4th quarter of 2012 to $274,000. Eldorado, which is typically a more consistent market, had a rocky 2013 with a 30% decline of overall sales. Median sales price, however, stayed relatively even at $339,000 from $338,425 the previous year.
So, in a nutshell what does all of this mean? We believe that the positive factors outweigh the declines and that 2014 should continue to be an improving market. We do not believe huge appreciation overall is likely this year nor next year but if we continue to gain 3% every year, the market will recover its equilibrium.
Arguably, Los Santeros has the greatest variety of architecture in all of Las Campanas and none more diverse than the enclave of Las Melodias. Along these quaint streets that circle the northern tip of the neighborhood you will see a bustle of activity and lots of new homes under construction. The Pueblo style home is the most popular choice for new home buyers as it fits with the traditional Santa Fe aesthetic. Territorial and Modern home styles are also common but unique to Las Melodais is a re-birth of interest in the “two-story” home and the introduction of the Andalusian style. The best expression of these two influences can be seen in the distinctive house at 3 Camino de Colores.
Frank Lyold Wright often suggested that nature should be the primary inspiration of architecture and structures should exist in harmony with humanity and its environment. Therefore, when asked about the influences that inspired the design of this home, often mistaken as Tuscon, the answer is the inspiration comes the furthest tip of the Iberian penensula of Spain known as Andalusia. The architecture of Andalusia has Roman and Arab roots which are uniquely conditioned by the climate. Andalusia is a region of considerable climatic variety much like our own. Dry, hot summers with occasional torrential rains and in the winter cold arctic systems penetrate the region leaving snow in the high peaks and cold winds in the valleys below.
To cool homes in summer there must be enough internal loft in the design to create air circulation (now we have refrigerated a/c) allowing the warm air to rise and the cooler air to draw through the house. Two story homes are common here. Roof terraces are an extension of the living space and used for enjoying the cool evening air and entertaining. To brace the house from the cold winter winds the exterior walls need enough mass to prevent bone chilling drafts. Stone is a plentiful resource in the region and often used to create the hearth and to thicken the side of the home that faces the prevailing wind. This gives the home that distinctive look. Very much like Santa Fe, Andalusia is a region rich in culture, varied in population, and diverse in landscape. This is the land that brought us the Malagueña , Pablo Picasso, Antonio Banderas, and the Spaghetti Western.
Similar to Santa Fe, the Andalusian climate is harsh and only plants native to the region survive on their own and as a result home landscaping is fairly minimal. This translates nicely to Las Melodias since new homebuyers moving into the neighborhood are ‘done with the ‘backyard’ and ready to spend their time exploring new activities. True to the Andalusian character, the home at 3 Camino de Colores embraces these features and even has the classic element of flower pots built into the terrace walls. This allows the homeowner to easily enjoy the natural flora and fauna of Las Melodias and then lavish seasonal botanical displays in pots, planters, and baskets along the terraces, interior courtyards, and portals.
Santa Fe is primarily a ‘single-level’ home kind of town. This is in part because of how beautiful these homes fit into the hill sides around town and partly because many of the homebuyers are at an age where they begin to think their aging knees and backs. So why are so many homebuyers choosing to build two-story homes in Las Melodias? Two reasons are heard most often; views and design. Views drive value and Las Campanas has some of the best Northern New Mexico has to offer. Back when Lyle Anderson was platting Las Campanas he knew that there would be demand for smaller homes on smaller lots and that the demand for views would still be the same. High net worth individuals have a variety of housing needs and second homes may actually be a third or fourth home or just a vacation home getaway. On a smaller lot you can elevate yourself up to capture the incredible views in Las Campanas that are unavailable in a single-level home.
The second level at 3 Camino de Colores is designed for livability and elegance. To begin with, there is a light-filled sitting room off the master suite with roof terrace and a hot tub (who needs robes?). From here you look west to the open plateau that rises up to the Jemez Mountains. Just off the sitting room is a beautiful wet bar with granite countertop, wine storage, and plenty of room for a Miele espresso maker. California is the key word in closets and this one is to die for. Large, organized, with plenty of natural light. A two-sided fireplace opens to master bedroom on one side and to the jetted tub on the other.
What is particularly magical about this house is through the back of the master bathroom you will find a yoga studio with mirrored walls on one side and large windows facing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the other, and another outdoor terrace. Anytime of year you can workout surrounded by breathtaking mountain views and then step outside and breath in the wonderful air. But if you are not up for a workout, you can simply step into your own private sauna for a few minutes to revive yourself. It’s not as big as the sauna at the Clubhouse, but perfectly roomy for two. With so many amenities upstairs to greet you every morning, you may find that its well past noon before you think about what’s waiting for you downstairs.
The ground level is equally exciting and has a junior master suite that may be a little too comfortable for guests. We all want our guests to enjoy their visit, but we do want it to be just a visit. The great room is where you’ll spend most of your time. High beamed ceilings, stone fireplace and lots of natural light western wall of windows. Entertaining is easy in the fabulous kitchen with Brookhaven cabinets, beautiful granite countertops, Wolf range, and large Subzero refrigerator. But for a least half of the year you’ll want to cook on the outdoor range and serve your quests alfresco under the covered portal. Its pretty simple really, the distinctive house at 3 Camino de Colores is about taking pleasure from your natural surroundings, dining alfresco, and living in comfort and elegance. After all, isn’t it essential that the design of a home exist in harmony with humanity and its environment?