Forum focuses on lack of housing

Lack of rental properties are still a problem in the Clovis and Portales communities, largely due to the influx of Cannon Air Force Base personnel, according to local real estate officials.

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Kent Carruthers, chair of the Housing Task Force, introduced real estate officials, who spoke Thursday on housing needs in Clovis and Portales. Officials expressed the need to provide solutions to providing more rental properties locally.

Officials expressed that projects regarding the issue are being discussed and planned, however, building the real estate market takes time.

The following presentations were given by local real estate officials Thursday during a regional housing forum at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.

  • Tim Farmer, housing manager for Cannon Air Force Base.

Farmer said 70 percent of the more than 5,000 Cannon population coming into the base are young and lower ranking, so the need for affordable housing is strong.

"The average home is coming down in price, which is key when you have a young populace," he said.

Farmer said there are 763 on-base residential homes and 350 leased 801 houses between Clovis and Portales.

Farmer said there are only about 66 homes available in the area, but about 800 airmen will be arriving over the next several years.

He said the Air Force recommends there is housing for 30 percent of base personnel available on the base.

He said a new dorm is in the process of being built on the base but special operations is pushing for another to be built.

"We're probably still going to be in a deficit of 200 to 250 rooms after the new dorm is built," Farmer said. "Our dorm housing will be doing poor for the next four or five years."

  • Gayla Brumfield, owner and broker for Coldwell Banker Colonial Real Estate in Clovis.

Brumfield agreed with Farmer that the average cost of a home has been decreasing in Curry and Roosevelt counties and that rental properties are scarce.

Brumfield said the average cost of a home in Curry County in 2012 is $138,000 compared to $135,800 in 2011 and $148,000 in 2010.

She said the average home cost in Roosevelt County in 2012 is $92,900 compared to $98,000 in 2011 and $114,000 in 2010.

Brumfield said there are 350 homes on the market in the local area.

She said there are 1,500 rental properties among local real estate companies, but only 36 are currently vacant.

"We've had an increase in demand in the last few years due to the influx of Cannon personnel and continued economic development," Brumfield said.

"If they (renters) are younger Air Force personnel and their military housing pay doesn't cover rent, that's tough, especially when they have kids," Brumfield said concerning providing more low-income renting options for young base personnel.

She said average rental prices range from $500 for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,400 for a four-bedroom house.

  • Richard Fischer, owner of Fischer Properties.

Fisher said after his company's 20-year contract with Cannon for Cannon Meadows, the 801 housing in Portales, expires in July 2013, they will be leasing the housing to individuals, including military personnel.

He said the company will also allow current military personnel to stay in their current homes in the housing edition and sign individual lease agreements if they choose to do so.

He said the housing area will be remodeled to include 150 single family homes with two to four bedrooms, garages and covered driveways.

The area, which will be renamed Alta Terra, will also include playgrounds, a community garden, pet paths and tennis and basketball courts.

  • Home Spot general manager Jody Bailey.

Bailey said Home Spot is continuing to look for more opportunities and Ravenwood Estates off 18th Street in Portales currently has several lots open.

"We are working as a group to solve the finance side of buying homes," Bailey said of local real estate officials, "How do we get people financed and put into homes? We've got to get these homes up quicker and continue to develop the rental community. Our challenge is how to keep up with the people coming in."

Bailey said currently Home Spot has only houses for sale but hopes to build more rental properties.

  • Chad Lydick, of Foxwood Development Corp.

Lydick said at the end of July, he submits the final proposal to the city of Clovis for the 192-unit-complex, which will span 18 acres and consist of 12 two-story buildings containing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with each unit having a private patio and balcony.

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