A Look at the Housing Market in El Paso

Paso del Norte
Creative Commons License photo credit: Felix, a secas

El Paso is located in the Northwestern corner of Texas, bordering Mexico and New Mexico. Because it is a border state with Mexico, the city sees about 20 million pedestrian and vehicle border crossings per year. El Paso is also known as the Sun City because the city gets over 300 days of sunshine per year. This and its warm, dry climate make it a popular retirement destination. El Paso boasts a diverse population of 700,000 and was named the Second Safest City in America in 2009. Being named one of the safest areas in the country is always a big draw for any real estate market. This is especially true in Texas, where many are concerned about illegal border crossings.

The real estate market in El Paso is estimated to expand exponentially, because the area is expected to grow in population by 35% by the year 2020. Currently the occupancy rate of 96.2% is slightly higher than the Average for Texas right now. Though home appreciation has been going slightly south in El Paso, it has not dropped as much as the national average. With that being said, El Paso is still in a buyer’s market. Over 40% of houses sold from in 2008 were in the $100,000 to $160,000 range. The number of homes sold in the area went down from 7,000 homes in 2006 to under 5,000 in 2008, but the average home price increased about $9,000 in that time. This quarter the median home sale price was around $144k. This is an increase over the previous years, which is great news considering the market in other areas.

Like other areas in the country, interest rates in El Paso are at their lowest in years. This has been an incentive for home buyers new and repeat buyers alike. There are currently approximately 5,400 homes for sale and 250 foreclosures. The first quarter tax stimulus seemed to help home sales in the region. Since the tax stimulus is extended for active military, the housing market should not decline with the additional troops coming to Fort Bliss. This bodes rather well for the real estate market in El Paso, TX.