Locals question LA’s median home price

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By Wren Propp

Not so fast, Forbes.

Locals expressed some doubts over Los Alamos County’s recent listing as sixth on the magazine’s “Top 10 Richest Counties” in the United States, in particular the $535,000 figure listed as the median home price here in 2016.

The median price of a home sold in Los Alamos in the past 12 months is nearly half that.

Since New Mexico doesn’t require disclosure of the final selling price of real estate as a public record, a median price for a home anywhere in the Land of Enchantment is going to be somewhat speculative, according to Los Alamos County Assessor Ken Milder.

However, licensed realtors have access to the final sales price and compile the numbers in a database – called the multiple listing service or MLS – that can provide a closer idea of home sales, prices, and to a certain extent, the market.

Chris Ortega, owner and broker at Re/Max real estate company in Los Alamos, said in an email that the median price of a home sold in Los Alamos in the last 12 months was $281,250. That’s up from the median home price at the same point in the year last year – which was $258,500, Ortega wrote.

There have been 356 home sales in Los Alamos in the past 12 months, he wrote.

He noted that Los Alamos’ median price on a home is substantially lower than the median price in the Santa Fe market – the median price there in the past 12 months was $346,600.

So, where would Forbes find the number it used?

Milder and Chief Deputy Assessor Joaquin Valdez said Forbes may have drawn some assumptions from online real estate sites, such as Zillow and Trulia, but those sites don’t list the actual sales figures, just the asking prices.

While public officials such as Milder and Valdez have access to the individual sales figures as well, they aren’t allowed to disclose the final sale price to the public. Real estate firms also have access – in order to assist home sellers and buyers on determining appropriate asking prices and offers