Thursday, March 5, 2009

Santa Fe Report

Miscellaneous factoids--
1. This is the slow season. There is a feeling that it's unusually slow, even for the slow season, but that is less a concern than the anticipatory fear that this summer the tourists won't show up. That is, they won't show up at the high end--opera goers and art purchasers, or at the low end, the souvenir shoppers spending the weekend in town on their way to a week at a church camp somewhere in northern New Mexico.
2. The real estate market is dead. Many, many agents have left the business and some have left town. On our first night here, we ran into an older woman we knew from when we lived here a couple of years ago. She's retiring, not showing housing, and considering moving to Mexico to lower her living expenses. A friend whose brother runs a real estate agency says his brother's headcount is down. Supposedly, residential real estate is down 20% or so, and commercial is following. No one is predicting an upturn or even an end to the decline.
3. The community is surprisingly healthy. Santa Fe depends on seasonal tourism, public sector employment (it's the state capital) and regional commerce (it serves northern New Mexico for just about anything that doesn't require a trip down to Albuquerque). State employment is reasonably resilient. Last summer was okay on the tourism front. And the region, never very prosperous, is creaking along as usual (once out of Santa Fe and Taos, northern New Mexico is very slow, always).

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