Albuquerque has historically been sheltered from economic storms that dramatically affect our neighbors in the Southwest. The real estate cycles here have consistently seen fewer highs and lows than markets such as Denver or Phoenix, making Albuquerque a relatively steady bet.
Although slow to feel the impacts of this recession, the city has still struggled with the same issues found nationwide. In September 2010, SunCal Cos.’ 57,000-acre development on Albuquerque’s west side went into foreclosure. The property was originally purchased in 2007 for $250 million from the Atrisco Land Grant heirs and sold at auction in September 2010 for $148 million.
By November 2010, unemployment rates were 8.8%, which is still better than the national unemployment rate of 9.6%. Government employment, which accounts for over 20% of the workforce in the greater metro area, has acted as a stabilizing force. However, even government jobs, the greater equalizer in this market, have been reduced as the city and state deal with lower revenues.
But there are many bright spots as well, including, Intel and Hewlett-Packard, both located in neighboring Rio Rancho, which employ upwards of 7,000 employees and contractors.
Newer to Albuquerque is the movie industry, which has been a steady presence here for the past decade. The growth of the industry has provided infrastructure, which generates opportunities for investment such as the newly constructed, massive state-of-the-art Albuquerque Studios. Local entrepreneurs and service companies support the industry.
Major commercial product types have all felt the effect of the recession, with apartments and retail faring better than other property sectors. Apartment occupancies have bounced back from the lows of 2008 with 95% occupancy and growing rents at the start of 2011.