After renting for years, she saw the market nearly dry up as landlords decided to sell rather than stay in the rental market.
The Santa Fe Association of Realtors said the median home price in the first quarter of 2022 was $622,000. This mind-boggling number came alongside record high inventory. In Albuquerque, GAAR said $315,000 was the median price for single-detached homes over the same period. Much more affordable, but still an increase of around $100,000 in just two years.
“It’s like the stars don’t align perfectly. It seems like an almost impossible task for ordinary people who have regular jobs,” Hadzic told KOB.
As she considered moving four children, two dogs and a partner to another rental, she felt the pressure: “Super anxiety-provoking. With four children at school, having to move them, uproot them – or think about – having to moving them, sending them to another school district if necessary, moving all of our stuff in. The thought of having to unsettle them made me feel unsettled.
Every last dollar seemed to go towards rent and utilities. The raises Hadzic got at work couldn’t keep up and saving for a down payment seemed like a distant dream.
Musician Nacha Mendez, a Santa Fe staple since the ’70s, can relate.
“I worked two or three jobs just to live here,” she said. “People who have been here all their lives, maybe, who were born and raised here are kind of kicked out.”
Mendez has worked in radio, played music concerts, sold sculptures and lived in perhaps 75 different rentals since she first moved to the artsy city. Finding a great house to rent was easy. Not anymore.
Mendez and Hadzic both turned to Homewise, a company that works in Santa Fe and Albuquerque to make housing affordable by subsidizing buyers.
“A lot of times when we’re looking at how to approach affordable housing, we subsidize buildings – which is important because we need affordable rents – but the real wealth creation goes to the owners of those buildings, right?” said Johanna Gilligan of Homewise.
The company’s model includes down payment assistance, its own real estate development and mortgage fulfillment for borrowers, funneling some of the profits back into grants and other programs. By allowing everyday new Mexicans to own property, it creates community wealth.
“It’s such a painful rental market. The floor is so high that it’s really hard to find almost anything under $1,000 (per month) at this point,” Gilligan said of the market. from Santa Fe.
As home prices climb, she said what was once a hallmark Santa Fe problem has become a hallmark of parts of Albuquerque and other New Mexico markets. House prices in these communities have begun to exceed the income of the people living there.
“I think we have to be aggressive about getting out of the way, getting out of our own way, out of building more housing,” she said, noting that it’s not just hammering nails that takes time. , but that it has become harder for builders to get approval to build homes in neighborhoods that need price relief.
Nacha Mendez learned of her loan pre-approval last year during a call from her real estate broker.
“(She said) ‘Now you can go to town and start looking for a house,'” Mendez recalled. “And I have to tell you, it was kind of a nightmare.”
After being outbid or outranked by a cash offer for house after house, she decided to keep renting, saving and waiting for a cooldown.
“It’s probably going to break at some point. It has to,” she said.
Matilda Hadzic finally found a house under construction. After waiting month after month, she moved in two days before Christmas. She said she didn’t realize the energy she had put into finding a place to live.
“I don’t think so until I get here,” she said, taking a deep breath and then exhaling. “That’s when I felt this relief. It was like a physical release.”