Love Santa Fe: Angels Night Out – April 24th

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Your Local Source for Santa Fe Real Estate

On Thursday April 24th you can combine a good meal with a good deed.

If you are in the Santa Fe area, you can participate in Angels Night Out, the annual restaurant event to support Kitchen Angels.*


When you dine out at one of the 29 participating restaurants onThursday, April 24th, 25% of your bill will be donated to Kitchen Angels.

Not familiar with Kitchen Angels?  Their mission is to provide free, home-delivered meals to people facing life-challenging conditions.  They are community-based and volunteer-driven.

This is a great way to have fun and support a truly valuable community service group.  Bring your friends and make it a party!

In Santa Fe, dining out never felt so good!


* Click here to learn more and see a list of participating restaurants.

Love Santa Fe: A Quarter Mile Plus

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

What happens when you take an entire college campus and turn it into an art gallery?  A Quarter Mile Plus.  Santa Fe Community College has been transformed by this ambitious, creative show of student, faculty and staff work.*


Conceived by Printmaking department head Patricia Pierce, the show celebrates 30 years of Santa Fe Community College and showcases the amazing work produced by the Art + Design and Liberal Arts programs. Work on display includes photography, prints, paintings, drawings, fashion design, woodworking, collage, mixed media, book arts and poetry.


The opening will be Thursday, April 10th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm and the show runs through July 31st.  SFCC is located at 6401 Richards Avenue.

In Santa Fe, the Community College offers an incredible array of classes, programs and events. 


*Click here to visit the SFCC website

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The readers at Conde Nast Traveler are at it again, this time choosing their favorite destination spas.  Santa Fe’s Ten Thousand Waves is #4.*

  unnamed (1)

As one reader said:  “There is no way you can leave Ten Thousand Waves without feeling a sense of peace and relaxation.”

In Santa Fe, after work or play, a special place to relax. 

*Click here to see the full list

I’m sending a special alert! Interest rates at their all-time low this year!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014


I’m sending a special alert.  The stock market has dropped on concerns about China’s economy and the situation in Ukraine, resulting in interest rates at their all-time low this year!

Take advantage for refis and purchases with the following – these Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) are good for Jumbos too:

  • 30 Year Loan (This is a 10 Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage [ARM] – rate fixed first ten years, adjustable last 20 years.)
    3.75% 1pt APR 3.79
    4.00% 0pt APR 4.03
    (Years 11-30 can adjust no more than +2% a year with a max of +5% for the life of the loan)
  • 30 Year Fixed Rate Loan
    APRs low 4′s WOW!
  • 20 Year Fixed Rate Loan
    APRs low 4′s WOW!
  • 15 Year Fixed Rate Loan
    APRs low to mid 3′s WOW!
  • 7/1 ARM (Rate fixed for 7 years, adjustable last 23 years.)
    APRs low to mid 3′s WOW!

Even if your current loan is in the mid 4′s a refinance can work in the equation above, and it’s a great time to move to 20 year and 15 year fixed rate loans too!

Perfect Ski Day – Love Santa Fe

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

It’s felt like spring recently, but the storm last weekend brought welcome snow to the mountains.  Ski season is still going strong, and the addition of natural snow makes it that much better. website posted their plans for a perfect ski day – and we think it’s worth sharing*


You can fill in your favorites, but this is a fun list to explore.  Even if the ski hill is not your natural habitat, there’s plenty to do in Santa Fe in the winter. 

Skier, snowboarder, shopper or lounger – Santa Fe’s the place for winter fun! 

*Click here for the full description of the day.

Housing Gains Predicted for 2014

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

home_values_appreciatingMore modest gains are likely this year, according to the most recent Kiplinger Letter forecast. The national average of appreciation in home values is up 4 percent-4.5 percent, compared with a gain over 11 percent in 2013.

The top stated reason for this increase is rising mortgage rates, will increase by 5 percent or so for 30-year fixed rate loans by the end of the year. Another possible is that fewer investors are offering all-cash deals, with bargain prices and interest rates fading away.

“Building will get a bump this year with just over 1 million new houses started in 2014, the first time starts have passed the 1 million mark since 2007,” says Kiplinger Letter’s Associate Editor Gillian White. “Sales of new homes will also be a bright spot, with 16 percent growth this year, just shy of 2013’s substantial performance.”

Another prediction: More existing homes will go up for sale, as price hikes pull homeowners out from mortgages that are underwater, making them more willing to sell. Sales will climb by 4 percent, but inventory won’t be as tight.

The Kiplinger letter forecasts that new-home building will accelerate again, helping to offset the construction drought of 2008-2012. Keep an eye out for housing starts this year to climb by 15 percent and top 1 million for the first time since 2007.

Affordability, though declining, is still better than the historical norm: A median-price home costing 20 percent of household income. In 2013, it took just 15 percent of income to buy an equivalent home. When mortgage rates rise to 5 percent, it will cost 17 percent of income.

“More moderate growth this year is not necessarily bad news, it signals a more sustainable, long-term growth trajectory that will help quell fears that another bubble is arising,” says White. “Rising rates will also be helpful in some cases, cooling overly hot markets, where cheap rates and high demand sparked outsized price spikes.”

The Santa Fe Residential Market: Climbing slowly back to prosperity

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Santa Fe Growth

The hikes and falls and spasms that describe various moments in the real-estate industry during the last five years make market analyses and predictions in “the old days” seem like child’s play. It’s no wonder that experienced professionals like Cate Adams (in the Santa Fe office of Sotheby’s International Realty) find themselves relying on one simple statement when asked why Santa Fe is taking so long to recover from the crash: “I don’t know.”

The fourth-quarter report from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors says both sales volume and home prices “were broadly higher across the nation, while foreclosure loads, the number of homes for sale and the number of days it took to sell a home were all much lower. Multiple-offer situations became commonplace again and prices in many areas rallied to multi-year hghs.”

Rising home prices based on stronger demand would signal recovery in this market, but that’s not yet happening in Santa Fe. “I see an improvement in the attitude of buyers and their confidence in the market, but there’s really very little improvement in pricing,” Adams said. “Prices are staying flat.”

A year or two ago, many brokers said their clients were waiting for the market to hit the bottom, not wanting to buy if prices were going to sink more. That refrain is much less common today. “That’s right. Nobody’s talking about it anymore; everybody’s talking about the improvement in numbers,” Adams said. “Sales are up, prices are not. Everybody’s saying that across the board. Why is Santa Fe so slow to recover? I don’t know. We were obviously very much affected by the real-estate bubble, if there was such a thing.”

As home sales began to fall off in many U.S. markets — after the subprime mortgage crisis and the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, AIG, and other investment firms — some began to worry that Santa Fe’s “bubble” was about to burst as most obviously happened in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Nev., and other municipalities that had seen dramatic housing-industry spikes.

“Our market is not nearly as large as Phoenix and Las Vegas,” Adams responded. “We have a much smaller buyer pool, and we have a very specific appeal, which is why we all live here. And I’m not sure we would want to get back to 2005/2006. The market was artificially inflated by the bad-mortgage issues. There was a bit of a frenzy, too, as prices continued to spiral upward: a frenzy to get into the market, which unfortunately too many people are paying for now.

“I think the issue of why prices aren’t increasing commensurate with sales is that we have to look at price points, not the market as a whole. Looking at the overall median prices and average prices in Santa Fe doesn’t really tell you that much.”

Another window into Santa Fe’s real estate scene is the construction business. Builders have not responded to the idea of a healthier market; this is evident in the low numbers of building permits issued recently by the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County.

Adams said it is an unfortunate reality that home prices have dropped and the cost of building materials has gone up. “That is a significant factor in new construction. Also, the banks are much more careful” than they were before about financing homebuilding and homebuying.

Her husband, owner of Ron Adams Construction, has compensated — as have most other builders — by focusing more on remodeling jobs. “There’s a wonderful market for remodeling in Santa Fe,” she said.

Cate Adams is optimistic about 2014. “Actually 2013 was a great year for me — not what I would have called great in 2007, but I was busy the entire time and successful in getting things closed, which had been an issue.”

That’s a positive sign, that buyers are deciding to complete the process, and that banks are permitting it.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Adams said about Santa Fe’s recovery. “We can look at the statistics and talk about what we believe is going on, but that’s about it.”

It’s always fun to look at stats and try to figure everything out. Here are a few highlights from Santa Fe County Real Estate 2000-2013, a report released recently by Barker Realty:

  • Real estate sales have increased the last four consecutive years;
  • 2013 was the first year since 2009 that realized price stabilization, or slight increases, in every segment; and
  • The number of luxury sales ($1 million and up) in 2013 was over 100, the first time that number has been surpassed since 2008.

According to Barker figures, residential sales decreased by 47 percent from the 2005 high of 2,290 sales to just 1,213 in 2009, the year after the onset of the recession; home sales had climbed back up to 1,767 last year. The shift in sales of land parcels was even more dramatic: an 80 percent drop (658 to 133) from 2005 to 2009, and the activity level increased only to 195 sales in 2013.

In his blog, Realtor Alan Ball (Keller Williams Realty) recently wrote that 2013 “came out a bit better than 2012, but only in small increments. The fact that we had positive numbers is not to be missed, but they were not big numbers and the improvements were in single digits.

“ ‘Increase in annual unit sales for Santa Fe residential real estate,’ said the headline. How much of an increase? For unit sales, it was 7 percent,” Ball wrote. “This is considered a good number for most. Some might wish to see a double-digit increase, as has taken place in other markets. But Santa Fe is just a tortoise compared to the hare of Phoenix or Denver. Our increases are steady and historically have built a solid foundation for future growth rather than race up and down the course setting higher and lower records every few years.

“A growth in home sales is a sign that some sellers were finally able to get beyond the burden of owning a home that they formerly could not sell. And since very few new homes are being built, the inventory that did sell had a very high percentage of existing homes.”

What to expect for 2014? “The real estate experts all agree that interest rates will climb, which will certainly keep a lid on our ongoing market recovery,” Ball continued. “The pressure for newly built housing will increase as the ‘quality’ homes in the existing inventory continue to sell. The best ones sell first, you know. And land sales and spec building will still be virtually dormant as mortgage lenders are still hanging back and builders still are nursing wounds from recent market conditions.”

Santa Fe 2013 Home Stats

David Dougherty, Dougherty Real Estate, is principally involved in the commercial real estate realm. That’s been all about “musical chairs” lately, he said, “people moving around Santa Fe because of better prices and better locations, but I wouldn’t say the market is healthy because there’s no new demand. Part of the problem is that there is a lot of really aged product out there that is becoming obsolescent. In the historic district it’s going to take enormous amounts of money to either remodel it or refurbish it, or it just has to be torn down. It can be two or three times more expensive to refurbish than to tear down and rebuild.”

Also in the Dougherty firm are brokers Clara Dougherty, Jennifer Tomes, and Warren Thompson, who concentrate on the residential segment of the market. About that, David said he has a theory: “We are dependent on other markets and always have been. It takes the other markets improving over a period of time

and a development of comfort there before people can sell their homes in Chicago or L.A. and find that Santa Fe is a real bargain. That’s how we started in the 1990s, particularly the California buyers who were selling their houses for terrific amounts of money and seeing Santa Fe as a wonderful bargain. I’m slightly optimistic that as those markets improve we will see improvement here.”

At present, inventory is just under 2,000 homes on the market in the Santa Fe area (down from about 3,300 before the crash). “From what I’m hearing from our agents, it seems to me that the very good stuff has been bought up and now we’re getting to where finding quality product — well-designed, well-built homes — is a little more difficult.”

Santa Fe’s draw — hinging on the climate, the unique architecture, the intermingling of three cultures, the art market, The Santa Fe Opera, and other factors — is a powerful constant. There are few negatives, but one of them that has become more significant in recent drought times is the impact of forest fires: definitely bad publicity for people thinking about buying in Santa Fe. “Yeah, if we have another bad fire season, all bets are off,” Dougherty said. “The reason a lot of people come here is the beautiful blue skies and clean air, and fires just eliminate all that.”

Asked for his outlook for 2014, he said he is not optimistic about the commercial real-estate market. “In the residential, I’m cautiously optimistic that those buyers in other markets will perceive our value and become more serious buyers.”

The lookie-loo phenomenon — people going out to look at houses with no real intention of buying, basically making a hobby out of it — appears to be subsiding.

“I do think the lookers got a little spoiled in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in that they would go out to look at houses thinking the market was still going down so they weren’t that serious. I do think we’ve reached the bottom, but some potential buyers aren’t convinced. They’re still thinking, ‘It’s overpriced. I’ll wait a while for it to come down.’ But I think those days are gone.”

By Paul Weideman

Three Santa Fe semi-finalists for James Beard Foundation awards!

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
James Beard Foundation awards
James Beard Foundation awards

Here we are in the middle of Restaurant Week* and we have THREE
Santa Fe semi-finalists for James Beard Foundation awards!

The Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America and the competition is fierce. Our Santa Fe contenders are chefs James Campbell Caruso of La Boca and Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin for Best Chef-Southwest, and Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa & Resort for Best New Restaurant.** Finalists will be announced March 18th and the awards are given in May.

Restaurant Week AND national food award nominees? Love Santa Fe!

*Click here for a list of participants and details of the meals they are offering.

** Click here for more about the awards

January Housing Starts

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014


January Housing Starts

January Housing Starts


In each Economic Update, the Research staff analyzes recently released economic indicators and addresses what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update discusses the latest housing starts data.

  • New home construction fell notably in January, partly due to inclement weather conditions. Housing starts dropped 16 percent from the prior month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units. Activity plunged 70 percent in the frozen Midwest. The West region, less impacted by the weather, experienced a 17 percent decline.
  • One major bottleneck to the housing recovery is the lack of inventory. The supply of existing home inventory (2 million listings) has been bouncing along at a 13-year low, while new home inventory (180,000 listings) is essentially at a 50-year low. Consumers, including many trade-up buyers, want to see more listings before deciding to make the transition.
  • The supply can be genuinely relieved from increased new home construction. As people trade-up into new homes, they will open up existing homes on the market. Based on historical trends, housing starts should be at least 1.5 million annually. We are well short of that today. Many small local builders have been complaining about the difficulty in obtaining construction loans. Local community bankers in turn have complained about burdensome new financial regulations coming out of Washington that make it difficult to lend for the construction of new homes. The large publicly-listed builders who can tap Wall Street funds are taking advantage of the factthat the smaller guys are shut out of the market.
  • The housing starts forecasts are for 1.2 million in 2014 and 1.4 million in 2015. That is still not sufficient. Home prices will be moving higher as a result.
  • Several fanciful new homes were built on the northern side of the DMZ line in Korea many years ago. They were purposely built to be seen from South Korea with plain binoculars, showing presumably a higher standard of living in the North. A closer look, however, reveals only pure facades with hollow interiors. As everyone knows now, South Korea has economically taken off while North Koreans face constant fear and live daily on the edge of starvation. South Koreans could easily be living under the same inhumane horrible conditions had it not been for the U.S. who came through during the Korean War. Over 30,000 Americans gave their lives with many not knowing why they were halfway around the world in a strange country. To those affected families, I hope they get some comfort in knowing at least 50 million South Koreans are living comfortably. One testament of the prosperity is the country’s ability to spend on leisure and recreation, including participating in the Olympics. The sound of Olympic skates cutting through ice, from the author’s point of view, is a tribute to all U.S. servicemen and women.

by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist

Homebuyers Gaining Bargaining Power as Inventory Increases

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Homebuyers Gaining Bargaining Power

Home values saw their smallest monthly increase since May 2012, up just 0.2 percent in January from December according to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. Year-over-year, U.S. home values rose 6.3 percent in January, down from peak gains of 7.1 percent in August 2013. This slowdown is in part due to the rise in inventory of for-sale homes across the country. The number of homes listed for sale on Zillow was up 11.1 percent annually in January, the fifth straight month of rising year-over-year inventory.

Stan Humphries, home shoppers should expect to have more buying power this spring as more inventory comes onto the market and home prices start to level off. This slightly more balanced market is another step on the road back to normal, and will help offset the impact of rising mortgage rates and more expensive homes for buyers.

Inventory rose year-over-year in 82 percent of metro areas covered by Zillow, with the largest inventory gains coming in some of the areas that were hit hardest by the housing recession, including Las Vegas (up 42.8 percent), Phoenix (up 30.5 percent) and Sacramento (up 26 percent). These metros also experienced significant cooling in the pace of home value appreciation in January, as buyers had more homes to choose from and were less apt to engage in the kinds of bidding wars that helped drive prices up so quickly last year.

Want to know what the current state of the housing market is where you live? Dive into Zillow’s data, available all the way down to ZIP code and neighborhood levels, here.

For a deeper analysis from Dr. Stan Humphries visit Zillow Research.

Home Value and Inventory Trends in the 35 Largest Markets

U.S. Metro

Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), Jan. 2014

Y-o-Y % change in ZHVI

Median # of Homes for Sale on Zillow, Jan. 2014

Y-o-Y % Change in Inventory

United States





New York, NY





Los Angeles, CA





Chicago, IL





Dallas-Fort Worth, TX





Philadelphia, PA





Houston, TX





Washington, DC





Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL





Atlanta, GA





Boston, MA





San Francisco, CA





Detroit, MI





Riverside, CA





Phoenix, AZ





Seattle, WA





Minneapolis-St Paul, MN





San Diego, CA





St. Louis, MO





Tampa, FL





Baltimore, MD





Denver, CO





Pittsburgh, PA





Portland, OR





Sacramento, CA





San Antonio, TX





Orlando, FL





Cincinnati, OH





Cleveland, OH





Kansas City, MO





Las Vegas, NV





San Jose, CA





Columbus, OH





Charlotte, NC





Austin, TX





Virginia Beach, VA