Clovis home sales down from year ago

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson There have been 82 single-family homes sold in Clovis over the last three months, according to Multiple Listing Services data.

Gabriel Monte

Single-family Clovis home sales were down by 30 percent in the last three months compared to a year ago, according to a national property listing service.

The Multiple Listing Service showed 82 homes were sold from Dec. 19 to March 19, compared to 116 in the same span a year ago. Average home prices increased to $162,000 from $141,774 from a year ago.

Clovis Realtor Katharine Fly described the current housing market as “buyer friendly.” She pointed to lower interest rates and an influx of people from Cannon Air Force Base and from other businesses.

Interest rates dropped to around 3.5 percent from around 4.5 percent last year, which is an encouraging sign, she said.

However, lenders are requiring more documentation and higher credit scores, hamstringing potential buyers, she said.

“The only problem right now, is that it’s still hard to get a loan, requirements are a lot stricter than they’d used to be,” Fly said.

New Mexico Bank and Trust lender Zala Smith said credit requirements have tightened in response to the soft economy.

“They want to make sure people do have a history of paying on time,” she said. “Across the board it is tighter than it was even 12 months ago.”

Fly said lenders are requiring a minimum credit score of 620, but prefer lending to clients with a score of 640.

The national average credit score is 659, according to a press release from CreditKarma.com, a website that offers credit reports and credit monitoring.

Realtor Carolyn Spence said while the housing market is recovering, it’s still not as strong as it was before the collapse of the lending market.

There were 40 sales in January and 39 in February, she said, but before the lending market crisis there were between 80 to 90 home sales a month.

Fly said she believes home sales will be steady before fall. She said she sees homes up for sale during the spring as people plan to move out of town by the summer creating motivated sellers.

“When it comes down to the wire prices drop,” she said.

There were 298 homes in Clovis listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service on Monday.