Economy picking up

September 25, 2011 • Local News

Certain economic indicators suggest that Roswell’s economy is slowly picking up. One of the indicators is the housing market.

Dan Coleman, president of Roswell’s Association of Realtors said, “It’s not as rosy as it was a couple of years ago, but we’re picking up. It’s a good economic indicator.”

The years 2009 and 2010 were boom years, but Coleman admitted that the most sales then were investment properties spurred by FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers).

“This year, most sales are local people changing residences,” Coleman [auth] said.

In terms of volume, the sales have shown an increase.

“In the first four months of this year,” he said, “we sold 123 homes, with an average price of $131,000. In the second four months, 145 homes were sold at an average price of $139,000.

Across New Mexico, sales have been slow, but New Mexico suffered less than other areas of the country. “…. we’re lucky we didn’t have a big crash like they did in California. Our prices are down about 10 percent,” he said.

“Volume-wise we’re up.” Coleman noted that volume was probably a better economic indicator than price.

Overall he said things are moving in the right direction. “The banks have money and are willing to lend it, but the federal government has tightened their restrictions. You are not going to see the fast closes you used to.” He states the average length of time for closing is 60 to 90 days with some going up to 120 days.

Another economic indicator, unemployment, is showing improvement statewide. The state has seen a drop in the unemployment rate over the last three months,” said Celina Bussey, Cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Workforce Solutions.

In August New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 in July. The unemployment rate peaked at 8.5 percent a year ago. In August, Chaves County can boast a slightly better rate than that of the state at 5.9 percent which is a drop from a county rate of 6.4 percent in March.

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