ActivePaper Archive Home sales up in 2018 as available real estate drops - Hobbs News Sun, 2/3/2019

Home sales up in 2018 as available real estate drops


CURTIS WYNNE/NEWS-SUN While 2018 saw a hefty increase in home sales in Lea County, the number of homes available for sale has dropped, according to real estate brokers who hope the current flush of residential construction continues. Last year saw a home sales increase of about 30 percent over the previous year, according to Multiple Listing Service records.

Real estate sales in Lea County last year broke records, but experienced realtors are concerned there still are too few homes on the market.

As of Friday, only 112 properties were listed in the realtors’ joint tracking system, the Multiple Listing Service. That compares to 628 residential sales in 2018, according to Bobby Shaw of Burkett-Shaw Realtors.

Shaw’s research on the MLS website found 492 sales in 2017 and 472 sales in 2016.

He and other experienced real estate brokers agreed there’s no doubt Hobbs and Lea County’s population have grown significantly, attributed primarily to the current oilfield business boom, but available housing has shrunk.

Compared to similarly populated counties in New Mexico, Lea County should have more that 300 residences listed.

“We’ve had as low as 49. That indicates to me that we have a shortage of real estate out there, which really shores the price up because people haven’t got a whole lot to choose from,” Shaw said. “Right now, the lowest listing out there is $59,000; the highest residential listing out there is $1.6 million. The total volume of all that real estate put together is $24 million worth of real estate. The average is $227,000.”

Those are asking prices, which Shaw noted usually drop before a sale is made.

In 2018, the sale range was $27,000 to $530,000 totaling $107.1 million with an average of about $170,500 and a median of $165,000.

The median means half the properties are priced higher and half lower. Over the past three years, the median remained no more than $10,000 below the average.

Shaw pointed out only about half of actual sales go through by real estate brokers.

“These numbers are only numbers that involve the real estate community,” he said. “There are probably that many more transactions that happened without involving the real estate community.”

He pointed out the lack of precise data is due to a state law that forbids disclosure of details in real estate transactions.

“New Mexico is a non-disclosure state. That means we do not disclose transactions and sales prices,” Shaw explained. “It is not public information, so there’s no way of knowing how many transactions are happening. If you call the title company or the county courthouse, they can’t tell you that stuff.”

Robbie Robinson of Robinson and Associates Real Estate and Laura Davis of United Realty both claimed 2018 as a record-breaking year in home sales for their respected agencies. They also noted a need for more houses.

“Last year was another record breaker in sales, across the board, at least our office, for sure,” Robinson said, agreeing with Shaw the prices are staying high. “The cost per square foot is on the rise, for the market. It’s been kind of inching up for the last 10 years. It never really has dropped. Last year was a good solid year for Lea County.”

Davis said, “When we say record breaking, we mean United Realty. Sales in 2018 were really hot. Our market is getting stronger and I feel like it’s going to get even stronger.”

She checked the MLS data and found 81 homes in Hobbs up for sale, unnerving for the real estate community.

“We’re getting back to low inventory. It’s great to have these developers out there,” she said. “I hope the builders keep building because we don’t want to get back to a shortage in real estate in our residential market.”

Robinson fears that shortage already is taking its toll.

“We’re at a high rate of decrease (in homes listed,)” he said. “The only way that’s going to change is new construction. A lot of our buyers are wanting to move in already. We have tons of buyers that are ready to purchase, but there’s really nothing they want.”

Help is coming. There is currently a subsidized apartment complex planned, and work on five new neighborhoods in Hobbs continues.

Construction of the $15.7 million East Navajo Family Housing development near the intersection of Dal Paso Street and Navajo Drive could begin in January 2020, with 72 family apartment units occupied as early as January 2021, according to Michelle DenBleyker, vice president of real estate development for Yes Housing Inc., the largest nonprofit affordable housing developer in New Mexico.

Previously, Shaw listed five major projects with scores of houses currently being built with almost 2,000 in the planning stages.

“We have Zia Crossing west of town. We have the one up on College Lane (The Meadows). We have Tanglewood out in the Ranchview addition. We have the one at Homestead Estates. We have the manufactured homes at Libba Land Subdivision. Those are five major ones we have going right now,” Shaw said.

Black Gold Estates is the land developer of the multi-phased Zia Crossing subdivision, located west of the ZiaPark Casino. When it originally broke ground in 2014, almost 700 homes were planned and are currently being built by contractors ABS Homes and French Brothers. In October, Dan Dattola of Black Gold Estates told the Hobbs City Commission that 280 homes were either under contract or ready to be built in the Zia Crossing subdivision.

“When we finish phase 1, we’ll have approximately 300 (homes) and then we’ll start phase 2,” Dattola told the commission. Dattola said phase 2 would consist of 400 homes.

French Brothers is also working the Tanglewood addition, located east of Hobbs near Bender Blvd. and Ranchland Drive. During its grand opening this past October, French Brothers co-owner Corrine Bach-man said the master plan for the Tanglewood subdivision is around 1,200 new homes including a gated-home area, parks and other amenities.

“There is going to be a longevity out here that will be priceless for Hobbs. There’s lots of land and a great master plan,” Bachman said. “We have some commercial intermixed and some multifamily housing and single family residents.”

The Meadows, located at College Lane and Ja-Rob next to College Lane Elementary, is planned for more than 100 homes with lot sizes ranging from a quarter to a full acre. Those lots will take up land from College Lane to Kansas, about a mile north.

The Libba Subdivision, located one-quarter mile north of Kansas Street between Grimes and Dal Paso streets, has around 50 two- to three-acre lots planned. When Homestead Estates broke ground 2016, the multi-phased project had already planned for around 100 homes in its first phase.

The majority of these homes are being built through the City of Hobbs’ development agreement, where the developer receives $10,000 for each home built to help pay for utilities infrastructure.

Some of those are being sold without real estate broker assistance, while others involve the realtors.

For the most part, sellers may have been leaving town in the past, but now they are buyers upgrading their homes, Davis said.

Other buyers, Robinson noted, are oilfield workers who are tired of renting.

“About 80 percent of our market are locals making a change, moving on up to something larger, newer or in a better area,” Robinson said. “About 15-20 percent are new, maybe not new to Hobbs but renting for three or four years and deciding they realize Hobbs is a nice community and they want to stay here.”

From Shaw’s research, the total value of homes sold in 2018 was $107.1 million, compared to $83.1 million in 2017 and $81.6 million in 2016.

Davis’ data, which included other real estate sales such as land and farms, provided higher numbers.

She found 1,366 units sold in 2018 totaling $241.1 million and averaging $176,000, compared to 999 units at $167.7 million averaging $168,000 in 2017.

“I think it’s great for the community to know how well real estate went last year,” Davis concluded.

Both Shaw and Davis showed commercial properties about doubling in sales from 2017 to 2018 but warned relatively few commercial transactions involve realtors.

“We have an extremely vibrant real estate market out there right now and, in my opinion, we have a shortage of residential and commercial properties available for the demand,” Shaw concluded.

Curtis C. Wynne may be contacted at reporter3@hobbsnews. com.