As the Executive Vice President for the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico, John Garcia has seen the ups, the downs and the evolving trends of Albuquerque’s housing market.
One of the more impressive stats comes from the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors, which said 10,928 homes were sold last year, a 15.55 percent increase from 2014 and the highest annual level since 2006. This year started off strong, too, with the average home sales price reaching $217,247, a 6.77 percent increase compared to January 2015.
But despite these gains, Garcia says that it’s still hard to get away from the fact that the market is still relatively flat.
“Given the flat demand the Albuquerque market has experienced over the past several years, it doesn’t take many starts or closings at this point to move the needle,” Garcia said. “Albuquerque’s new home activity won’t see sizable gains until the area sees more jobs, more people and more homeowners who are selling their current homes and moving into new houses. While employment is growing modestly, and the resale market has most definitely improved, population growth has slowed in recent years. We’re certainly feeling the effects of that.”
Despite the area’s slow growth and other challenges, there’s a lot that Garcia is excited about, too. He’s confident that Albuquerque’s overall housing numbers will continue to improve—from the resale market to housing starts to lot supply. Leading that charge is the increasing demand for energy-efficient homes.
“During the last 10 years, we’ve been really focused on high-quality, energy-efficient homes. Out here in New Mexico, we have great sunshine and seemingly unlimited alternative energy opportunities,” Garcia said. “For that reason, we’re seeing a bigger emphasis from home owners and home builders for a product that helps to reduce their ecological footprint.”
Garcia added that another trend he’s seeing in recent development is the smarter use of space.
“To thrive right now, we have to continue to follow consumer trends. And the bottom line is, it’s about a more practical use of space. It’s about incorporating indoor and outdoor features in the house—such as open patios and outdoor kitchens—and maximizing the use of space to make it more functional than ever before. We have a great climate here, so people want to buy a multi-seasonal house and be able to use the space all year round,” Garcia said.
Now, with these trends in mind, Garcia and the rest of Albuquerque are preparing to meet the needs of the next wave of young homebuyers. Garcia says that the biggest issue the market will likely face in the years ahead is the growing demand for clarity and transparency during the home building and remodeling process.
“Just look at how many products are out there right now. For a consumer, it can be a difficult and confusing world to navigate. It’s one of the biggest decisions a person makes in their lifetime, and for that reason, today’s consumer wants to fully understand the entire process. Being able to clearly explain costs, expectations, timelines, legal issues and more to a consumer isn’t just a novelty these days—it’s expected,” Garcia said.
Alair is well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of territories like Albuquerque. With a strong presence in Arizona, Alair already understands the unique challenges, trends and demands of a neighboring region like New Mexico.
Alair first began as a custom homebuilder in 2006 in British Columbia. As founder Blair McDaniel quickly learned, homebuilding practices hadn’t changed in the past 100 years. He saw a niche that wasn’t being filled with scalability and back-office processes in the industry, especially in the custom homebuilding, home renovation and remodeling markets.
Today, Alair boasts a heavy focus on transparency and offers a Client Control™ system, which gives homeowners online access to real-time information, such as scheduling, progress pricing and even disclosure of mark-up costs.
Arizona was Alair’s first U.S. market. And now, the brand is eager to bring those same services that have thrived throughout Phoenix and Scottsdale to meet the housing demands of residents throughout Albuquerque.
“We have been eyeing New Mexico for some time and believe the market climate is now in great shape for us to welcome the most established builders and contractors in to our network,” says Adam McCaa, chief communications officer for Alair. “With our current 85 operating offices, we know cities including Albuquerque will be a fantastic addition to our rapidly growing brand.”