Become an expert in housing micro markets

Gary Sandler

Last week this column detailed a few of the indicators that reflect the changes taking place in our local real estate market. Included in the mix were statistics showing that some sellers are receiving a lower percentage of their asking prices, the inventory of homes for sale and number of days it takes to sell a home are both increasing, and fewer new purchase contracts are being signed. 

The most perplexing statistic of all, according to an Aug. 8 report from the Las Cruces Association of Realtors, was that July’s median sales price slipped 2.1 percent below June’s median sales price. While a one-month decline doesn’t necessarily constitute a trend in the making, it is consistent with price declines reported in other areas of the country. 

So, what’s a seller to do? The answer depends on the type of property, its location and its condition. Sellers have an easy time figuring out how to price their properties when trends are obvious. In an appreciating market, a common strategy is to lead the market by a few thousand dollars and let the value catch up to the asking price. I recall that in 2005, when the annual appreciation rate was approaching 20 percent, a local Las Cruces Realtor added to the description of the home she was selling that the price would “increase by $1,000 per month until sold”. 

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