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Housing market isn’t so bad for Silver City, Realtors say

Silver City Daily Press Article – Monday, December 3, 2007

By CYNTHIA COLEMAN, Daily Press Staff

Although residential home prices are falling nationwide, things are not so bad for Silver City, said Kim Clark of the Silver City Regional Association of Realtors.

Recent reports from the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller National Home Price Index showed a na­tional decline of 4.5 percent in residential home prices from the third quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2007 ” the largest drop in nearly 20 years. A separate sur ­vey of 20 cities by the same index found a similar price drop.

Silver City's home prices, how ­ever, have bucked the national trend, showing an increase in price for the same period. The median price of houses sold rose from $155,500 in the third quarter of 2006, to $160,000 in the third quarter of 2007 ” an increase of 2.9 percent.

Patrick Conlin, broker for Prudential Silver City Properties, said that the market has slowed, with more properties for sale and fewer buyers. He estimates that the transaction level for all types of real estate has fallen 25 to 30 percent in the last year.

Part of the explanation, Conlin said, lies in a ripple effect from other markets.

'The majority of our buyers come from out of the area,’ he said, and have to sell their homes in other places where the housing market is tougher.

He noted that despite the slowdown, prices have remained stable.

Conlin said some areas of the real estate market are suffering more than others. Land sales have decreased, he said, and there is an oversupply of houses in the $300,000-$500,000 range. New construction is the area that's hurting the most,’ he said.

He describes Silver City™s real estate market as "back to normal’ after a boom year in 2006, which he described as 'the best on record.’

Conlin said that houses priced less than $200,000 are selling especially well. "We're expecting more of the same for 2008,’ he said.

Becky Smith, Smith Real Estate broker, also characterized the market today as "more normal compared to two years ago, when it was wild.’

Smith said she sees a shortage in the supply of houses in the university and historic districts.

She said the market is 'not unhealthy,’ and noted that although activity is slower, values are remaining stable.

Home prices did not be ­come as inflated as in other areas, and have not fallen as much, Smith said.

"Luckily, Silver City is a bit insulated from the outside world,’ she said.

"You have to remember that all real estate is local,’ Conlin said.

Cynthia Coleman may be reached at ccoleman@cyber

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