New housing developments are popping up in Rio Rancho as housing companies hope to satisfy increasing demand for homes.
Three major projects in progress are Cleveland Heights, Redondo at Mariposa and the Enclave at Vista Montebella.
Cleveland Heights, west of Cleveland High School, covers 50 acres that once belonged to the King family. Homebuilding company D.R. Horton bought the land from Cleveland Heights LLC and plans to build 215 one- and two-story single-family homes on it.
Redondo at Mariposa, meanwhile, sits near the intersection of Unser Boulevard and US 550, and covers 31.6 acres. Here, Pulte Homes plans on building 135 homes, which range from 1,700 to 3,000 square feet. Prices range from roughly $200,000 to $400,000.
Tim Brislin, vice president of Harvard Investments in Scottsdale, Ariz., serves as the project manager of the Mariposa master plan. He said Pulte will begin building homes at Redondo in October.
“Mariposa is one of the finest master plans in the Albuquerque metro area,” said Brislin, citing the project’s location, beauty and amenities, which include a fitness center and award-winning restaurant.
He added that Rio Rancho is attractive to home-buyers because it is an affordable place to live, is family-friendly, has great schools and has good amenities.
Demand for homes is increasing in the Rio Rancho and the rest of the Albuquerque metro area, and builders buy new parcels of land to keep up with demand, said Brislin.
He added that home prices have increased with this demand over the past few years in the resale and new-home markets.
“Everywhere that’s building is selling,” said Realtor Martha Greenleaf of Keller Williams, referring to the metro area.
She said that if a home is in good condition and priced well, it will likely sell within one to three weeks. So, she said, while a metro area the size of Albuquerque’s on average has 6,000 homes for sale, the local market has less than 3,000 homes for sale at any given time.
Greenleaf said many homeowners hold onto their houses longer to see if the values will return to the highly inflated prices common before the 2008 recession.
Michael Fietz, managing member of Westway Homes, said many of the people buying homes in Rio Rancho come from elsewhere in the United States, such as Dallas and the East Coast. He said better traffic and better climate are incentives to move to New Mexico.
Fietz also cited retirees as a growing market.
“A big initiative of the Homeowners Association is New Mexico as a retirement area,” he said. “Attracting retirees is an industry in itself.”
On the other hand, Fietz stressed the importance of new job creation. A stronger job market typically leads to an increase in housing demand.
He said he noticed job creation in the Albuquerque is nearly flat, which could negatively impact demand for homes.
Yet, a shortage of readily available developed lots in Albuquerque is leading builders look to Rio Rancho, where more land is available.
Fietz said Westway Homes recently put 46 new lots online at the Enclave at Vista Montebella, west of Unser Boulevard at 18th Street and Wellspring Avenue.
He said the development will cover 8½ acres, and homes will range from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet. Prices start at $275,000 and end at just under $400,000.
“The homes are marketed to a broad range of buyers from young families all the way through empty-nesters,” said Fietz.
Construction began the week of July 9.
Fietz said demand for homes at Vista Montebella is increasing as inventories for new and resale homes are at all-time lows.
In Mariposa East, demand for homes also continues to increase. Greenleaf said 120 homes were sold there in 2017, up from 100 in 2016.
The variety of choices in house models in Mariposa East attracts buyers, she said.
“You can find just about anything you want out here,” said Greenleaf.
As in the Enclave at Vista Montebella, homes in Mariposa East are marketed to all types of buyers. According to Greenleaf, buyers include single people, families with children and retirees.
She said Mariposa East is growing by leaps and bounds, but she still sees room for improvement.
“Infrastructure is the only thing holding back growth,” said Greenleaf.
She said the construction of more businesses like grocery stores and gas stations near Mariposa East will increase growth even further.