Business Feature: Market on the move

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle A home is built on the corner of Jaydn Lane and Norris Street. Since June 2006, 52 new homes have sold in Clovis, according to Gayla Brumfield, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Colonial Real Estate

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

Even with sales lagging, local real estate agents remain optimistic about the area housing market.

The obvious reason is the anticipated growth of Cannon Air Force Base because of a new mission. However, the military isn’t the only local influence. Money is coming in for new developments and by out-of-town investors, according to a pair of local real estate agents.

Gayla Brumfield, president and owner for Coldwell Banker Colonial Real Estate, believes development has to come in preparation for the expected growth with Cannon’s new mission as well as the new businesses, such as the biodiesel and ethanol plants and growing SEI call center.

“You’re kind of in a Catch-22 a little bit,” she said. “We want the housing ready for when they get here. You don’t want to be too early because you sit there and pay interest. I think the timing for most of this is going to be good.”

Max Watt of Re/Max First Place Realtors and Brumfield said they are working with investors who believe in the potential for growth here.

“There are still investors coming to Clovis from other areas such as California that are buying real estate here instead of in their markets where prices have fallen,” Watt said.

It was a year ago Wednesday Cannon was awarded the mission as home to the 16th Special Operations Wing after the 27th Fighter Wing was ordered shuttered during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendations. The mission change takes place Oct. 1.
Watt said a few military buyers are staggering in, but not anything like expected.

“Most of the listings we have taken have been military leaving,” Watt said.

Brumfield agrees.

“There’s a lot of military that have moved out,” she said, “but we haven’t seen a huge influx yet of the Special Ops people coming in.”

There are more houses listed for sale in the Clovis Multiple Listing Service today than a year ago, according to Watt.

“There were and still are more existing homes on the market than the year before — and more every day,” she said.

Brumfield sees Clovis’ market going through a needed correction from the effect of the strong national real estate market a few years ago.

“We were in such a little peppy market like the whole country so it wasn’t really real,” Brumfield said. “Now, I think we’ll pick up from where we are right now. I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

Brumfield said she expects more military people will be coming in by the end of summer toward the fall based on the calls and inquiries she’s had.

“Any time you have people moving in and moving out, you have people moving out, you have people moving in, that generates a good real estate market. It’s activity,” she said.

Having the base here has added to that movement over the years, Brumfield said.

“From a Realtor and developer standpoint, we anticipate over the next five years to be a good growth period. And there will be new homes built, just like you’re seeing now.”

Watt said she’s seen an interesting phenomenon: growth in numbers of agents.

“In 2001, there were approximately 50 Realtors and five affiliates in the Clovis Board of Realtors. There are currently 135 Realtors and 25 affiliates.”

By the numbers
Properties listed on the Clovis Multiple Listing Service:
321 — last year at this time
401 — present

Total housing sales
$80.3 million — June 11, 2005, to June 11, 2006, with an average price of $114,891
$88.2 million — June 11, 2006, to June 11, 2007, with an average price of $117,000

Housing units sold
306 — Jan. 1, 2006, to June 15, 2006, with an average price of $119,243
209 — Jan. 1, 2007, to June 15, 2007, with an average price of $125,700

New homes sold
52— June 2006 to June 15, 2007, with an average price of $195,000
83 — June 2005 to June 2006, with an average price of $188,400

Sources: Max Watt, Re/Max First Place Realtors and Gayla Brumfield, president and owner, Coldwell Banker Colonial Real Estate