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James Chrobocinski, owner and broker at Zia Realty, says he is confident in the housing markets in Los Alamos and surrounding areas.
He and his fellow brokers and agents will be celebrating a full year of doing business on Sept. 12 with food, drinks and live entertainment. The anniversary bash begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Zia Realty Group office, 1460 Trinity Drive, Suite 1.
There will be a drawing for a $1,000 gift certificate good toward a home makeover, provided by Finishing Touch. The public is welcome to come sign up and stay to enjoy the festivities.
Due to continued demand the deadline for the drawing has been exten`ed to Sept. 12. Anyone can sign up for the drawing at the anniversary celebration or by calling Zia Realty Group at 662-8899.
The drawing will take place and the winner will be announced during the anniversary celebration.
“It’s been an outstanding summer,” he said. “Projections were way higher than expected.”
Chrobocinski grew up in Los Alamos and moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he became a real estate broker for 27 years. Family obligations brought him back to Los Alamos last summer.
Zia Realty Group currently has 125 listings and 25 brokers, four of which are in Santa Fe. Zia also works with Real Estate Associates (REA), Jemez Properties and Los Alamos Properties. “We work well together,” Chrobocinski said.
Even competitors have a good working relationship, he added.
During the last year, REA and Los Alamos Properties joined Zia Realty Group. Their former owners Pearl White and David Horpedahl now play key roles within Zia Realty Group.
Chrobocinski’s goal is to expand throughout New Mexico within the next seven years. “I have confidence in the market and that interest rates will stay low,” he said.
In Los Alamos, Chrobocinski said staff will move from the current rented office space and buy the building at 15th and Central Ave., which most recently housed the Karen Wray Gallery. “I want to promote ownership, rather than rent,” he said. Most on the Realtor team are well-known to the community.
Chrobocinski said he wants to create a buzz and breathe new life into the housing market in Los Alamos. Brokers had 18 closings in August.
The strongest areas of town are Barranca Mesa, the western area and Quemazon. Chrobocinski is proud to say that Zia Realty Group is the fastest growing real estate agency in Northern New Mexico. Others areas covered are White Rock, Española, Chama, Jemez, Abiquiu, Pojoaque and Santa Fe. The entrepreneur has hopes of future expansion to Rio Rancho, Chrobocinski said.
White Rock home sales tend to sell a little slower than homes on the Hill.
Chrobocinski said that their growth has not been without growing pains. “One of the most difficult things we have been trying to accomplish is a website that provides the best property searches. We are proud to announce that we will be launching a new site in September that boasts some of the best property search technology available. We want to be able to provide the best service to our clients.”
Zia Realty Group’s Listings are mostly single family homes though Chrobocinski has branched out into commercial properties as well. Their current commercial listings run about $12-$15 per square foot per year. The average home price so far this year is $315,179, a 20 percent reduction from the peak in 2006 when the average home price was $396,314. Despite the lower home values, Chrobocinski is encouraged by what he is seeing in the market. “We are starting to see more houses selling and prices starting to tick back up,” he said.
“With Los Alamos being such a family oriented town, we see the largest demand for family homes with three to four bedrooms and two baths. Housing in Santa Fe tends to be priced higher than in Los Alamos with many homes being over $500,000,” he added.
“People should know that this is a great time to buy. Prices and interest rates are low right now. Interest rates are running around 4.5 percent, but are starting to go up a little. Getting a home loan is getting easier than it was a couple of years ago as well and we have several great lenders that we work closely with.”
Chrobocinski can attribute the influx in buyers to Los Alamos’ reputation of being a safe, family-oriented town with quality schools. Also, Los Alamos National Laboratory workers who are tired of commuting and retirees ready to downsize are a large part of the current buyer profile.