New Mexico sees nearly 14% drop in homes sold in April; SJ County slid 15.8%

Teya Vitu
The Santa Fe New Mexican

SANTA FE — Santa Fe County bore the brunt of home sale declines in New Mexico, with a 34 percent wallop in April as the novel coronavirus took a bite out of homebuyers' and sellers' appetites.

Considered an essential business during the pandemic, real estate transactions have continued briskly, if reduced, across the country.

New Mexico's largest markets tell contrasting stories that add up to a statewide 13.9 percent drop in the number of homes sold in April compared with the same month last year, according to the New Mexico Association of Realtors.

San Juan County's numbers slid 15.8 percent while booming Sandoval County's eased downward 5.5 percent. 

Doña Ana County saw three more homes sold in April 2020 than in April 2019, a 1.6 percent increase, while Bernalillo County's sales fell 18.3 percent, There were 240 homes sold in Sandoval, the second-highest number for a New Mexico county, the association's statistics show.

"Even with business closures and new guidelines for showing houses and closing real estate transactions ... April 2020 sales are off less than 14 percent from April 2019 sales numbers," New Mexico Association of Realtors President James Russ said in a news release.

Colorado saw April home sales dip 20 percent from the prior year, with the median sales price rising 5 percent to $419,000, according to data from the Colorado Association of Realtors.

Home sales dropped 31 percent in Las Vegas, Nev., and 26 percent in Atlanta, data shows.

Median home prices across New Mexico climbed 7.38 percent compared with the same period last year to $225,500 in April. The increase was 4 percent in Santa Fe, with a median price of $371,500.

"Median prices still continue to increase," said M. Steven Anaya, CEO of the New Mexico Association of Realtors, in a news release.

Median home prices in Santa Fe were a touch soft in April — lower than the $410,000 in March, when 217 homes sold, but in range with a price of $372,750 in February and $388,750 in January.

Santa Fe County property owners sold 138 homes in April, the fewest for the month since 132 homes sold in April 2016, the tail end of the Great Recession, according to the Realtors association.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicted steep declines in mid-April: "I won't be surprised if sales activity could be down 30 percent or 40 percent in the next months," he said. "... There's no indication that fewer buyers activity will lead to price declines."

Santa Fe's tight supply of homes on the market eased slightly in April. There were 527 active listings — the most since November. But that's a stark contrast with the 2,453 homes listed in April 2018.

The sneak preview for May hints at more declines in the city this month. Data from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors shows only 21 homes sold there in the first week of May, compared with 42 sales in the first week of April, which was on par for the months preceding the coronavirus shutdowns in mid-March.