Tag Archives: Santa Fe Home Price Trends

Market moving slowly upward – The Santa Fe New Mexican: Home/Real Estate

By Paul Weideman, The New Mexican | This article was syndicated from The New Mexican, for the original article, Market moving slowly upward – The Santa Fe New Mexican: Home/Real Estate.

The supply of homes for sale in the Santa Fe area was down a significant 8 percent in the 4th quarter compared to a year ago. Barbara Blackwell, 2015 president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, said that tightening of inventory has helped to restore “more competitive” prices. “Looking back over the entire year,” she said, “interest rates remained lower than expected, helping to attract buyers. The improved housing affordability coupled with new FHA lending products may entice more new homebuyers to purchase this year.” On the downside — barriers to a greater degree of recovery — are student loan debt, sluggish wage growth and a lack of sufficient mortgage liquidity, according to a year-end report from the association.
Home sales in the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County rose by nearly 3 percent in the 4th quarter of 2014 compared to the sales level in the final quarter of 2013. City/county prices rose by 8 percent.

Annual Home Sales

The sheer volume of home sales in the quarter was up nearly 7 percent to $177.6 million. The median house price rose 11 percent in the city, to $310,500; the county median was also enhanced, but by less than 3 percent, ending at $389,000.

 

Land sales were down 15 percent, but prices were up 25 percent.

In short, the 2014 real-estate market continued the pattern of recovery from the late-2000s financial crisis. The price gains were still positive, but less robust than last year, the SFAR report said.

That was also true statewide. “New Mexico housing trends end 2014 slightly ahead of 2013,” was the title of a recent report from the Realtors Association of New Mexico. The state association had 16,916 reported home sales, a 1.2 percent increase over the reported 16,708 sales for 2013 and an 11.4 percent increase over the 2012 figure of 15,182 sales. The median price statewide in 2014 was $175,000, up slightly from 2013’s $173,000.

“These figures indicate the New Mexico housing market is continuing to improve, though at a slower pace than 2013,” said Baro Shalizi, a longtime Santa Fe Realtor who is serving as president of the Realtors Association of New Mexico this year.

What kind of growth will the Santa Fe market experience in 2015? “Indications are for improvement,” said David Dougherty. “It strikes me that the economy, at least nationally, is in an interesting, maybe once-in-a-lifetime situation with very low interest rates, moderate growth, and not deflation but disinflation with lowering gas prices and people having a little more money in their pockets. We still have a lot of supply in housing but I think it is a bit less, which forebodes well, so all we need is demand.”

The extent of job growth resulted in an increase in homebuying confidence, but have banks loosened up on loans? “I don’t see any change there, but I do see people qualifying,” said the principal of Dougherty Real Estate Co. on West San Francisco Street. “There are more people working, people have more disposable income. The feds have helped a little bit with smaller down payments. You can now buy, in certain circumstances, for 3 percent down, so there is a group of buyers that has been added to the market.

“I’m looking more, at least in our market, at the fact that buyers simply have more money. A lot of retirees have 401(k)s and savings that have been bolstered and they’re feeling a little better and they’re willing to take a little more risk and buy a home or second home.

Hasn’t the second-home market slackened in recent years? “What I’m seeing is maybe ‘transitional’ homebuyers. They’re living in Chicago or New York and they haven’t sold their homes yet but they know they’re going to retire and they know they want to come to Santa Fe and in some instances they’re willing to buy here before they sell. They’re going to be shifting their lives to Santa Fe, rather than buying second homes.”

Early in the recession, Santa Fe’s real-estate market wasn’t doing too badly, but it began to be affected by the fact that potential buyers in the “feeder markets” of California, Texas, Illinois, New York, and Florida were unable to sell their homes in order to buy in Santa Fe. “And Santa Fe being the classic contrarian, we now seem to be doing a little better than some other markets, for example Dallas and Houston, which, because of the oil and gas debacle right now, have slowed a lot.”

In another point having perhaps nothing to do with the strength of the market, Dougherty said the vision of homebuyers is changing. “I’m sensing that traditional Santa Fe Style may be a little out of vogue right now. The Eastside is still strong; I still think it’s the strongest part of our market. But when you get to Las Campanas and some other areas, modern, cutting-edge, linear homes seem more to be in favor.”

I asked Julia Gelbart, an associate broker with Santa Fe Properties, if there is still a desire for old-fashioned Santa Fe Style with saltillo tiles and vigas. “There’s always the Santa Fe panache, but I’ve worked with more people who go for the cleanness of contemporary design,” she said. “But whatever a buyer wants, we can find it. There’s enough diversity, in our market, in our prices, in our styles.

“I do open houses almost every Sunday. You meet people from elsewhere who want to talk to someone who lives here and knows the market. I tell them, The next time you come to town, call me and I’ll give you what I call the Santa Fe sampler. Give me your price range and I’ll drive you all over the city and show you the house in that location at that price. For $600,000, for example, you can find houses in so many areas.

“Very few people start out saying they don’t know what they want,” Gelbart said. “They all know what they want. They want to walk to the Plaza. Then the reality sets in. If they want a big gourmet kitchen, a big open floor plan, they’re not going to get that in their price range a block from the Plaza.”

Both home-sales numbers and prices seem to be on the rise. “It depends on which stats you look at, but if the buyers get the houses they’re happy with, they don’t care about the stats. This is a real individual market.

“A lot of the people who contact me are baby boomers and Santa Fe is perfect. We have all four seasons, good medical, and incredible culture considering our population, and so many interesting people.”

In a comment about inventory, Gelbart said many good houses on the market are being overlooked. “Part of it is the time of year and they might not have much curb appeal. But we have to get past that idea. I don’t think many of our houses have good curb appeal — they’re basically brown boxes — but they’re so special when you get inside.”

She thinks 2015 will be a busy year for real-estate brokers in Santa Fe. “I do. Baby boomers are impatient. They want to know what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives, and they’re decision-makers.

“The market has been slow, but it’s been an upward ascent. All of us busy Realtors know that we have people coming in. I already have July booked with buyers who are coming in.”

Santa Fe area home sales up, while median prices decline

By Chris Quintana | The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012, this article was syndicated from The New Mexican, click here for the original article

The median sales price for homes in the Santa Fe area — including both the city and the county — dropped 6.8 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

The median sales price in the combined city and county data for the second quarter of 2011 was $359,000 compared to $334,450 for the first quarter of 2012.

Dan Wright, 2012 president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, attributed that change to the gradual drop in the market since the peak in 2007, when the median price hit about $420,000.

“We’re at the tail end of the decline in the market,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think it will continue to go down at this point.”

The total number of homes sold in the second quarter rose by 5.6 percent, from 318 units in 2011 to 336 units in 2012.

But the total value of those home sales sank from $151.9 million in 2011’s second quarter to $144.9 million in 2012’s second quarter, which Wright said creates a more advantageous market for buyers.

Second-quarter sales of condos and townhomes also rose, to 74 units from 60 units. The median price rose from $237,188 to $245,000. Wright said low interest rates may have helped boost the market.

“The Santa Fe housing market is picking up with sales modestly over last year,” he said. “The historically low interest rates are helping to get buyers motivated.”

The inventory of available homes sank by 15 percent in comparison to the second quarter of last year. Coleen Dearing, vice president of the association, said that can be attributed to people pulling their homes off the market or people who have decided to take advantage of low refinancing rates. Dearing also said the increase in home sales has affected the inventory rate.

Also notable, the number of young homeowners, in the 23 to 25 age range, has risen for the first time in five years, according to Gilbert Garcia, a mortgage professional with Century Bank. He said organizations that can help lower the down payment, such as the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority or the Santa Fe Housing Trust, coupled with low mortgage rates, have helped young people get into the housing market.

Garcia added that banks are indeed lending, though the process requires more documentation of financial information than in years past.

“It’s not harder,” he said. “It’s just more.”

Garcia also said banks in the area have seen the foreclosure rate slow down while the refinancing of mortgages and new purchases of homes have been on the rise.

“The number of foreclosures is not leveling off, but it’s slowed down a bit,” he said. “But it’s going to get tougher before it gets easier.”

 

 

First Quarter 2012 – Santa Fe Home Sales Are Up While Inventory Is Down

According to the latest figures from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, the number of sales is up and the number of properties for sale is down.   During the first three months of 2012, there were 249 sales of single-family homes in the City and County of Santa Fe, up 16.4 percent from 214 sales in the City and County of Santa Fe in first three months of 2011.  The inventory of all available properties for sale during the last quarter was 1,413, down 17.1 percent from the first quarter of 2011, which was down 17.2 percent from the first quarter of 2010.

During a presentation Wednesday, April 11, 2012, association officers said the statistics from the first quarter of 2012 show:

• Santa Fe housing prices remain low, compared to their high point in the second quarter of 2008.

• The upswing in the number of sales is due to low prices, low interest rates and buyer concerns that both prices and rates could  soon go up.

• Fewer properties are on the market which may be due to sellers taking advantage of low interest rate to refinance, allowing them to hold off in hopes that sales prices will improve.

“There’s a substantial uptick in the number of people looking for houses and some increase in the number of sales,” said association President Dan H. Wright.

Association President-elect Victoria Murphy, added that a number of people from out of state who had been looking for a home in Santa Fe recently have decided to go ahead with purchasing because they think both prices and interest rates soon will rise.

The median sales price of a single-family dwelling in both the city and county in the first quater of 2012 was $352,000, which is down less than 1 percent from $355,000 in the first quarter of 2011.  In a press release accompanying the first quater data Mr. Wright observed, “The Santa Fe single family housing market continues to stablize when you look at prices with sales up modestly over last year.”

Santa Fe Realtors Association officers say if the inventory of available housing continues to fall, it will push the median prices up.

The recent figures also show a 8.4% decrease in the number of days properties remain on the market, 247 days, compared to 270 days a year earlier.


Santa Fe Market Report – The Santa Fe City North West Area

The North West city area of Santa Fe includes the popular and affordable neighborhood of Casa Solana.  Built in the 1950s and 1960s by the well known and locally beloved developer Allen Stamm, Casa Solana has beautiful mature trees, sidewalks and paved streets.  Residents enjoy a neighborhood pool and convenient shopping at the Solana Center.  Homes here have the Stamm traditional features of vigas, hardwood floors, fireplaces and solid construction.

As you travel down West Alameda, newly constructed homes appear on larger, more open tracts.  Homes begin to spread out a bit and horse farms emerge to dot the landscape.  Some lots in the hills offer 360 degree views, while others have a beautiful view of the Santa Fe city lights.

Along US Hwy 84/285 at the exit for the world renowned Santa Fe Opera is Monte Sereno, one of Santa Fe’s newer neighborhoods.  Homes here enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountain ranges on lots averaging 1.7 acres.

The North West city area also includes Zocolo, a residential condominium community of casita-style homes centered around small plazas.


If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Santa Fe City Northwest Area, contact me or if you would like a free market analysis of your home contact me, Karen Meredith, Keller Williams, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036. 

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Santa Fe Neighborhoods – Focus on the Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor

The Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor is located southeast of the Plaza on Old Las Vegas Highway and extends to Highway 285 South.  It is near the main hospital, St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, and many retail services.

Lots in this area, nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, average between two and a half to approximately five acres depending on the community.  Although this area is only minutes from town, its feel is decidedly rural, and its views to the south and west are more expansive. Many horse properties are in this area and horse trails weave in and around many of those properties.  You can find a beautiful home with privacy and views here.  Neighborhoods  include Arroyo Hondo, Double Arrow, Overlook, Hondo Hills, Sunlit Hills, La Barberia, and Seton Village.  Housing is not uniform or cookie-cutter and the styles range from modest homes to elegant territorial and pueblo ranchs.  Arroyo Hondo, in particular, is known for its superior horse properties.

HOMES FOR SALE ALONG THE OLD LAS VEGAS HIGHWAY CORRIDOR

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor neighborhoods or for a free analysis of how much your Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor neighborhood home is worth, contact me, Karen Meredith, Keller Williams, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036.  

Santa Fe Real Estate News – The Airport Road Area Neighborhood

The Airport Road neighborhood is located in the Southwest section of Santa Fe.  Airport Road was once a semi-rural road leading out to the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.  It is now an area of condos, town homes and single-family dwellings that looks more like other U.S. cities than any other part of Santa Fe.  Airport Road is also a commercial corridor through the Southwestern end of the city.  Roads along Airport Road are paved, most streets have sidewalks and most houses have garages. Prices for homes in the Southwest section of Santa Fe, including in the Airport Road neighborhood, tend to be somewhat lower than the rest of Santa Fe.

AIRPORT ROAD NEIGHBORHOOD HOMES FOR SALE

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Airport Road neighborhood or for a free market analysis of your home, contact me, Karen Meredith, Keller Williams, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036.  

RETURN TO VIEW MORE SANTA FE NEIGHBORHOODS

Santa Fe Real Estate News – The Bellamah Neighborhood

Santa Fe Market Report
Featuring The Bellamah Area


Active SFAR Listings
All Santa Fe Listings (3/10/11)
Residential: 2154
Residential Land: 1436
Farm & Ranch: 120
Commercial Land: 68
Multi Family: 31
Commercia Buildings: 164
Live/Work: 19


The Bellamah Area Snapshot


Days on Market (DOM)
The Bellamah Area – Residential Sold*


Selling Price: % of List Price
The Bellamah Area – Residential Sold*

BROWSE FOR BELLAMAH HOMES FOR SALE HERE

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Bellamah neighborhood, contact me, Karen Meredith, Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036. For a free market analysis of how much your Bellamah neighborhood home is worth, click here.

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4th QUARTER 2010 – HOME SALES SLOW WHILE MEDIAN PRICE HOLDS STEADY

City and County of Santa Fe home sales slowed from 274 in the 4th Quarter of 2009 to 227 in the 4th Quarter of 2010. The overall median price of homes in the City and County during the 4th Quarter held steady showing a modest increase to $340,000 in the 4th Quarter of 2010 from $335,000 in the same quarter of last year. The volume of home sales was off only $18M or $129M in the 4th Quarter of 2009 compared to $111M in 2010.
 
Condo and townhome sales rose in sales from last year with 60 sales in the 4th Quarter of 2009 and 76 in the same Quarter of 2010; however, the median price dipped from $250,000 in the 4th Quarter of 2009 to $232,500 or an 8% drop in the same Quarter of 2010. Land sales slowed from 43 in the 4th Quarter of 2009 to 32 in the most recent 2010 Quarter with prices down from a median of $160,000 in 2009 to a median of $134,500 in 2010.
 
  “While Santa Fe City and County single family home sales slowed in the 4th Quarter, condo and townhome sales showed a modest increase perhaps the first signs of the return of the second home market,” stated JoAnne Vigil Coppler, 2011 President of the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS®. “Sluggish sales in the 4th Quarter generally reflected the mood of the country as we settled in for the national Election results. More recently the market has shown an upswing of activity and buyer interest especially when interest rates began to inch up,” she added. 

“With a seasonal drop in inventory, single family home sales have slowed with values holding steady in our housing market,” said Ms. Coppler. “Buyers who are watching the market closely; particularly the increase in interest rates and stabilization of several federal tax policies, are beginning to move off the fence,” she noted.

 

The median sales price is determined from only those sales listed on the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, which does not include every sale in the area but has been used historically to track trends in the home buying market.

Santa Fe Home Sales Up as Prices Tumble

This article is syndicated from The New Mexican, click here for the original article.

By Bob Quick | The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lower prices and even lower mortgage rates propelled Santa Fe home sales in the second quarter of 2010, increasing 40 percent from depressed levels a year ago.

“It’s a nice little perfect storm for anyone who wants to get into the real estate market,” said Lois Sury, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors.

Sury spoke at Santa Fe Association of Realtors’ quarterly news conference to discuss residential and commercial real estate sales in the second quarter of 2010.

“Santa Fe homes are selling across all price ranges during the second quarter of 2010,” Sury said. “During April, homebuyers were still taking advantage of the federal fax credits, but sales remained strong in May and June.”

Alan Ball, a title company executive who publishes a newsletter about Santa Fe real estate, agrees the real estate market got a boost from the federal homebuyer tax credit, but it was not as popular here as elsewhere, where home prices are lower.

Ball’s concern is inventory. “We’re not making much progress. That’s because there’s so much inventory combined with very difficult conditions for lending approvals these days.”

At the same time the number of Santa Fe home sales was up, the median sales price of houses sold in the city dropped from $307,500 to $288,000 in the second quarter of 2010.

In Santa Fe County at the same time period, the median price of a home fell to $411,250 from $450,000.

In addition, the 2010 second-quarter home sales volume rose by $36 million when compared to the home-sales volume in 2009.

Total city/county condo/townhome sales numbered 58 in the second quarter of 2009, compared with 57 last year in the same time period.

And total city/county land sales showed some sluggishness, with 27 lots sold in the second quarter of 2010 compared with 32 for same period in 2009.

Overall, “everything appears to be selling,” Sury said, “The signs are all positive.”

For her part, Judy Balch, vice president and mortgage lending manager at First National Bank of Santa Fe, confirmed that residential rates are low, with a 30-year mortgage fixed at 4.5 percent with no points.

“That’s excellent,” Balch said, adding that the rate for a jumbo mortgage ($427,000) was just over 5 percent.

Balch said the bank expects rates to remain low for the rest of 2010.

Ball agrees that low rates are helpful, but he points out that buyers are nevertheless lethargic because they’re afraid homes they buy might drop in value.

“It doesn’t matter what a house is worth a year after they buy it,” Ball said. “They need to hold the house for seven to 12 years. It will be worth more then, but not six months or a year.”

Ball has some expectations as Santa Fe moves through the prime real estate season, which runs through October, that sales could pick up.

“It’s not just the three summer months” when the most Santa Fe residential real estate is bought and sold, he said. “It’s too early to pass judgment on the year, but I don’t see any big leaps forward. There will be some very small steps.”

As for commercial real estate, John Shepler, who has his own real estate firm, said sales and leasing “are still fairly slow. We’ve seen some small movement in the downtown corridor.”

Shepler expects the rest of the year to be much the same.

U.S. News & World Report, Santa Fe in Top 10 Retirement Property Steals, May 25, 2010

By: Luke Mullins, Posted May 25, 2010

This article is syndicated from U.S. News & World Report, click here for the original article.

Although the financial crisis has hammered retirement accounts, it has also converted a number of popular retirement destinations into bargains for home buyers. Indeed, the very states that took the brunt of the housing bust—like Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona—also contain some of the nation’s most enviable markets in which to retire. This development has handed today’s seniors a chance to scoop up properties in many top-notch retirement spots at attractive prices.

To get a sense of which retirement markets offer the most compelling valuations, we obtained price-to-income data for 384 metropolitan statistical areas from Moody’s Analytics. The price-to-income ratio—a key yardstick of housing affordability—expresses the relationship between home values and earnings. For example, in a market with a price-to-income ratio of 2.5, median-priced homes sell for 2.5 times average household incomes. By comparing a market’s most recent price-to-income ratio with its longer-term averages, we can pinpoint areas that have become particularly affordable. Here is a look at 10 cities that are currently offering retirement property steals:

1. Bend, Ore.:   Stiff demand from second-home buyers helped nearly double median home prices in lovely Bend, Ore., between 1999 and 2006. But the subsequent real estate collapse has dragged the area’s price-to-income ratio from 3.4 in the third quarter of 2006 to 1.7 in the fourth quarter of 2009. That’s below Bend’s average price-to-income ratio of 2 for the 15 years ending in 2003. This increased affordability makes retirement property in Bend particularly attractive today, says Lester Friedman, president-elect of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors. “Central Oregon has always been a place where people came to get away,” Friedman says. “And, of course, that is kind of the definition of retirement.” Friedman points to a number of activities that can keep seniors busy in Bend year round, including hiking, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, boating, and volunteering. “We have wonderful college facilities, so continuing education is easy,” he says. “You name it, we’ve got it.”

2. Las Vegas:  After speculation and risky loans juiced Las Vegas home prices by more than 141 percent from 1999 to 2006, the housing bust hit this desert playground with tremendous force. But the steep price declines have pulled down the area’s price-to-income ratio from 3.2 in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 1.4 in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the 15 years ending in 2003, the average price-to-income ratio in Las Vegas was 1.9. SalesTraq President Larry Murphy says the return of affordability has created a great opportunity for seniors looking to spend their golden years in a sunny, low-tax community surrounded by golfing, gaming, fine dining, and entertainment. “There hasn’t been a better time [to buy residential property in Las Vegas] in the last 12 years,” he says.

3. Phoenix:  From 1999 to 2006, home prices in Phoenix more than doubled, sending the area’s price-to-income ratio to an inflated peak of just under 3. The subsequent meltdown in the residential real estate sector has dragged the price-to-income ratio in Phoenix to 1.5, which is below its 1.7 average for the 15 years ending in 2003, and has created opportunities for retiring seniors who are looking for bargains. “[In Phoenix] you have fairly good medical care, you don’t have the snow and the cold and dangerous weather here, and you have a lot of nearby shopping centers and other things that make it easier for people to sort of carry out what they want to do,” says Jay Butler, an Arizona State University associate real estate professor.

4. Napa, Calif.:  Home prices in Napa, Calif., exploded during the housing boom, more than doubling from 1999 to 2006. But the real estate crash has reduced the sky-high price-to-income ratio of 3.9 it reached in the third quarter of 2005 to just 1.7 in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the 15 years ending in 2003, the average price-to-income ratio in Napa was 2.6. DataQuick President John Walsh says Napa’s beautiful wine country offers “an extraordinary quality of life.” And with home prices having retuned to 2002 levels, the area is ripe for seniors hunting for deals on retirement property, he said.

5. Fayetteville, Ark.:  After a 40 percent increase from 1999 to 2006, median home prices in Fayetteville, Ark., have slipped about 21 percent through 2009. The recent decline has dragged Fayetteville’s price-to-income ratio from 1.8 in the third quarter of 2005 to 1.2 in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the 15 years ending in 2003, the average price-to-income ratio in Fayetteville was 1.6. While the area may not have a reputation as a retirement hot spot, Fayetteville’s low real estate taxes, natural splendor, and university affiliation make it a compelling option for retiring seniors, says Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. “What we are finding is that the retirees that are beginning to focus on us are people who have done that first career for 25 or 30 years,” Clark says. “They are not ready to really quit, they’re just ready to quit what they are doing.” In addition to its plentiful arts and outdoor offerings, Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, which provides seniors an additional outlet to challenge themselves, he says. “If you are over the age of 60 in the state of Arkansas, you can attend our public institutions of higher learning at no charge,” Clark says. “And that’s graduate programs as well as undergraduate.”

6. Punta Gorda, Fla.:  Home prices in the quiet community of Punta Gorda, Fla., dropped more than 50 percent from 2006 to 2009, dragging the city’s price-to-income ratio down to 1.4 by the end of last year. The area’s average price-to-income ratio was 1.7 for the 15 years ending in 2003. The small town on Florida’s southwest coast has long been a popular spot for boating and fishing. The recent price declines have provided seniors the opportunity to buy into this pleasant community at a discount, says Jack McCabe of McCabe Research & Consulting. Punta Gorda is “very nice, very laid back, very quiet, [and has] excellent fishing,” he says.

7. Burlington, Vt.:  Home prices in this tiny city increased significantly during the first part of the previous decade, which pushed the area’s price-to-income ratio to 2.3 for the fourth quarter of 2005. A modest home-price decline since then has helped drag Burlington’s price-to-income ratio to 1.7 for the fourth quarter of 2009, below its 1.9 average for the 15 years ending in 2003. Although the winters are long, Burlington provides retirees with “small-town comforts and small town values in [a] community where [they] can also enjoy arts, fine food, [and] performances that you wouldn’t expect in a community of 39,000 people,” says Yves Bradley of Pomerleau Real Estate. “There is also, I have to say, a very strong outreach to retirees to be engaged as volunteers, and that is pretty important here.”

8. Fort Myers, Fla.:  Home prices in the Fort Myers, Fla., area surged more than 180 percent from 1999 to 2005, thanks to investors and easy lending practices. But because of the market crash, area real estate prices have lost about two thirds of their peak value. Meanwhile, the price-to-income ratio of Fort Myers-area houses has declined from 3.2 in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 1 in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the 15 years ending in 2003, the average price-to-income ratio in the Fort Myers area was 1.5. McCabe says the Fort Myers area has a great deal to offer retiring seniors. The area has “more of a relaxed, laid-back, slower-paced environment with Midwestern values [that would be] very appealing to that kind of core of the country—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota,” he says.

9. Santa Fe:  A 24 percent decrease in median home prices over the past two years has helped drag the price-to-income ratio in Santa Fe to 1.8 for the fourth quarter of 2009, which is below its 2.5 average for the 15 years ending in 2003. Lois Sury, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, ticks off a number of reasons why seniors should consider taking advantage of this increased affordability and buy property in the area. Attractions include great skiing, hiking, medical facilities, arts, as well as a rich cultural history. “Here we have this beautiful, sometimes cobalt-blue sky that sits on your shoulders,” Sury says. “That’s what people come here for—it’s the sun sets and the mild climate, [and] the friendly people.”

10. Santa Cruz, Calif.:   Median home prices in the California costal community of Santa Cruz have plummeted more than 57 percent since 2007, reducing its price-to-income ratio to 2.8 for the fourth quarter of 2009. The average price-to-income ratio for Santa Cruz was 4.3 for the 15 years ending in 2003. Like Napa, Santa Cruz offers seniors a pleasant environment from which to launch their golden years, and the recent home price declines make it all the more attractive, Walsh says. “Santa Cruz [and Napa]…are trading at the exact same price they were eight years ago,” he says. “That’s a heck of a deal.”