January showed a couple cracks in the gloss as far as UNM area home sales went and the normally powerhouse market looked a little weak. Let’s poke around at the stats and see what happened.
First, we saw a 44.44% drop in unit sales, from 27 in January 2014 to 15 the January 2015. We also saw a decline in the average (mean) sale price of a home from $263,118 a year ago to $228,800 this January, suggesting weakness at the top of the UNM home market skewed the number. If we ignore that high end slump we see the median home price rose 1.90%, a stable but unremarkable amount.
Better, the median price per square foot of a home in the UNM area rose to $158 this January. That’s a 3.27% bump over the prior January and in fact exceeds both December and the 2014 median price per square foot of $147 by a healthy 7.48%. The average (mean) price per square took a 13.04% hit this January over last, dropping to $148 from $155, however that number also exceeded the December price of $144 by 2.78% and matched the 2014 yearly average exactly. The weak top end also would be a factor in dragging the mean price per square down, and the stronger median is fairly good news, even though it’s based on few sales.
Looking at the summary chart above as well as the sale price range chart below, you can see the top end loss pretty clearly, with a high sale this January of only $319,500. In January 2014 we sold four homes above the $400k threshold and none this year.
A small part of the downward trend is the one REO (foreclosure) and Short Sale we see for this January. With only 6 REOs and 5 Shorts in all of 2014, a couple lucky buyers beat the odds and picked up bargains in January. REOs and Shorts tend to hover in the low end of the market, which was the case here. The REO was on Academic Place SE and sold for $160,000 and the Short was on Cedar St NE and sold for $210,000.
The faster market, with both average (65) and median (56) days to sell reduced from January 2104 plays in here as well. Usually the bargains go faster and a faster market indicates buyers snapping them up quickly.
Still, we may not see the UNM area home market get much stronger in the short term. By mid-January we had 169 homes actively for sale in Lobo Country. That’s a significant 30% increase over what was available in mid-January of 2014 and quite a few new listings hit the market as well. With a reduction of pending sales to 22, down 21.43% over the prior January we may be starting to see a glut of inventory around UNM. In fact, take another look at the 2014 Year End Summary of the area and you can see both December 2014 and the entire year saw increased listings on decreased sales.
That’s also pushing listing prices down. A look at the price ranges for active listings below bears that out. You can see the bulk of the listings coming on the market are doing so toward the lower end. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out over the first half of the year.
If you are planning on selling a home in the UNM area this year, careful attention to timing, pricing and staging will be crucial if you want to maximize your return. If you have been thinking about buying a home around UNM, your window looks to be about as good as it’s been in a while.
Does this mean the UNM market is crashing? Doubt it – more likely we’re seeing a late correction that will last a few months. UNM real estate has always been a powerhouse in the ABQ market and we don’t expect that will change over the long term regardless of what’s happening now.
If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home and would like a more specific analysis of a particular neighborhood or home, drop us a line and we’ll put one together for you.
– Joe LaMastra, February 26, 2015