By Jim Owen

Significantly fewer homes in Grant County were sold during the second quarter of 2014 than in the same period each of the previous two years.

According to the Realtors Association of New Mexico, 45 properties in the county changed hands in April through May. That was a sharp decline from the 65 sales reported during the same months in 2013, and the 77 transactions in 2012. In this year's first quarter, 64 sales took place.

The median sales price in the county also is down, though only slightly. It was $125,000 in the second quarter of 2012, $137,000 in 2013 and $135,000 this year. During the 2014 first quarter, the median price was $125,000.

Statewide, sales figures rose 3 percent (from a median of $170,000 to $175,688) from the 2013 second quarter to the same period this year. However, the number of sales decreased from 4,497 to 4,411.

Eighteen Grant County homes were sold in June this year, compared with 25 during that month in 2012 and 14 in 2013. The total for May this year was 20.

The county's median sales price in June was $139,000 in 2012, $150,950 in 2013 and $134,700 in 2014. It was $127,500 in May this year.

Statewide, sales in June were up 3.6 percent from the same month last year, the association reported. The median sales price of $180,000 was seven-tenths of 1 percent higher.

"The increase in median prices is good news for sellers. However, it does result in fewer buyers qualifying for mortgages on houses," Sandylee Pasquale, RANM president, said in a news release posted on the organization's website. "Cash buyers, who are unaffected by mortgage qualifications, continue to be a larger-than-usual share of the market."

The year-to-date (through June) median sales price of $173,992.50 statewide was higher than the $165,000 reported in 2012 and the $168,600 in 2013. The number of sales this year, through June, was 7,972. That was 1.6 percent more than during the first half of last year.

The release noted that, though "summer months traditionally have been good for the housing market," most of the state's counties reported more sales in May than in June this year.

"The great start at the beginning of 2014 keeps the year-to-date numbers head of last year," Pasquale explained. "Realtors are keeping a watch on the general economy, particularly New Mexicoís job market, in hopes that the real-estate market continues on its positive pace."

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The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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