Real estate squeeze?

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer

With the announcement of Cannon Air Force Base’s new Special Ops mission this past week, one local real estate owner predicts subdivisions will be created on the outskirts of Portales to accommodate an expected influx of people.

“I was very happy to hear that Cannon has received a new mission. You can see it on the faces of everybody I talked to, you can see a different attitude in people and an excitement of what is going to happen,” said Hubert Morgan, owner of Morgan Realty Co.

A population increase is expected to happen within the next year or two as the number of military personnel at Cannon is expected to grow, according to military officials. And this is already creating a tighter housing situation in Portales and what local real estate agents are calling, “a buyer’s and seller’s market.”

“I think a lot of people are letting the news sink in right now,” Morgan said. “But of course, this is the time of year when we have a turnover in housing because of the university and professors coming and going.”

With the added news of Cannon, Morgan said, “If you’re a seller, this is the best time to have your home on the market, and if you’re a buyer, you had better buy right now. Interest rates are probably going to continue to go up, the housing market will get tighter and prices will go up.”

C.H. Justus, owner of Justus Realty, has been in the real estate business for 33 years.

“There is going to be a big demand for houses and rentals,” Justus said. “This new mission for Cannon is going to be a benefit for everybody in Roosevelt and Curry counties, either directly or indirectly. We are encouraging local people that this is the time to buy or sell. I look for property to go up in prices. We’re going to have more children, of course. As you know, this new mission indicates there will be several thousand new people coming into Cannon and they have to live somewhere.”

Justus said some people did appear to be hesitant about buying or selling during the past year in which the future of Cannon was uncertain, but said with the area’s other industries, however, there has still been a lot of transactions.

“The demand for three-bedroom homes is greater than anything right now; everybody wants a three bedroom and two baths,” he said.

Morgan also predicted a lot of our older, rundown homes are going to start being fixed up .

Wanda Graham, owner of Kiva Realty and a member of the Clovis Board of Realtors, said, “We’ve all been trying to get ready for the news of a special mission for Cannon and more apartments and new home are already being built for newcomers.” She added, “There is always a need for more homes in Portales as people are always looking to upgrade. That has also made the local housing market tight right now, plus people cannot always find homes within their price range.”

While the area has other industries such as the cheese plant, Eastern New Mexico University and dairies, Graham said there was concern about Cannon’s future.

“We’re glad they’ve got a mission now. Increase is always good. Since we’ve become a microplex with Clovis, we’re working together to make both of our communities prosper.”