East Mountains Getting Noticed

Biz Buzz: East Mountains Getting Noticed by data mining sites
By Linda Burke
Greater Edgewood Area Chamber

Have you observed the fast pace of East Mountain real estate over the last couple years? It appears no sooner does a ‘For Sale’ sign go up, but the house in under contract. Factors that seem to be driving that activity, include an influx of out-of-state retirees, families leaving Albuquerque, and job growth at Sandia National Laboratories. But, after decades of flying under the radar, just how and why are people zeroing in on the East Mountains?

Thanks to the plethora of online resources that collect and measure data through weighted algorithms and rank the resulting outcomes, the secret is out. One such entity is Niche, on its website states it uses, “the most up-to-date data available from dozens of pubic data sources, including Department of Education, U.S. Census, and FBI.” Niche, also factors in community-based input and reviews from residents. The availability of such data has technologically-thrust the East Mountain communities into a spotlight that was non-existent just a short time ago.

Most East Mountain communities are scoring quite well in categories such as Housing, Good for Families, and Crime; not as highly in Nightlife and Diversity. Niche’s analysis process provide ratings for smaller locales, but communities with fewer than 1,000 residents are not ranked against other communities in the region. For example, Tijeras scores an overall ‘A-‘ and Cedar Crest draws a ‘B’ in the ratings, but with just 596 and 598 residents respectively, neither community qualifies for ranking against other regional communities. While the populations of those areas are larger, practically speaking, Niche uses the official census population data.

The East Mountain region standout is Edgewood, which takes the top spot on quite a few of Niche’s “Best of” lists, including #1 Place to Buy a Home for BOTH Albuquerque area and Santa Fe County rankings. Edgewood was highly-ranked within Santa Fe County adding #1 Best Place to Live, and #1 Best Place for Families. When compared to the wider variety of places in the Albuquerque area, Edgewood comes in at #10 Best Places to Live, #9 Best Place to Raise a Family, and #7 Best Public Schools. On SafeWise.com, Edgewood ranked #5 Safest City in New Mexico. Overall, Edgewood makes a noteworthy showing.

Real estate is often a good predictor of trends and opportunities in a region, and at Greater Edgewood Area Chamber we are seeing regional businesses choosing the East Mountains as a place to expand. Earlier this year, First Choice Community Healthcare opened its 21,000 square foot Mountain & Valley Clinic in Edgewood. This month Realty One of New Mexico opened an office in Edgewood, and The Citizens Bank of Clovis opened a loan processing center in Moriarty. A growing number of home-based businesses reflects area newcomers bringing new services to the East Mountains. Erin Nelson recently relocated from Florida and started up Sandia Solar & Glass Protection, a polymer-based protective coating service for windshields, windows, solar panels, even cell phones. Local successes, such as East Mountain Roofing which has served the region for nearly a decade, are expanding operations and staffing with a new space in Edgewood.

Data from Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (GAAR) confirms the fast-paced real estate trends we have been observing. In fact, pending sales for October are at a 12-year high. The upward movement for September 2019 over September 2018 is also positive, with median sale prices up 12% for detached homes, and actual closings up 4% — even as average inventory of detached homes on the market was down by 30%. These are strong indicators for Albuquerque and the East Mountain region businesses, as more people move to the Southwest as retirees and growing industries such as film.

For residents, the attraction to the East Mountains is quality of life, good schools, safe communities, and reasonable proximity to urban amenities. For business, our region is attractive because of its higher-than-average household incomes and education levels, which translates into available consumers. For those of us who choose to live here, it is the perfect nexus of lifestyle with growing services and conveniences in small town settings.