DOUGLAS — As the economy in Douglas fluctuates, so does the local housing market.
Ray Novoa of Novoa Realty, says, in his opinion, Douglas is experiencing a housing shortage.
“Of course in the bigger cities it's more prominent, but Douglas is being affected with very little inventory also, which in turn drives prices up,” he said.
Novoa says both homes and businesses sales are up when compared to last year.
“It has been all around sales from commercial, residential and land,” he said. “It's been a non-stop pace for any business involved in real estate, meaning title companies, inspectors, appraisers etc.
“The homes being sold I feel are heavily weighted in single family residential. The average price being sold is between $150,000-$180,000. Low interest rates are creating buying power for peoples homes and add a housing shortage and you get prices being driven up.”
Novoa says the past year for him has been very busy. He’s been able to help sell several downtown commercial buildings that had been vacant and will hopefully soon, be occupied.
“It's been a nonstop pace in work and constant learning for the different types of real estate transactions this past year. The rental market has also been in high demand. There are not enough rentals to fit the needs of Douglas.”
According to Novoa, The average rent for a 2-3 bedroom home will run $700-$1,100 per month.
Novoa has been in business for the past 15 years. He says the highlight for him last year was
the opportunity to work more commercial real estate.
“Commercial is more intense and there are a lot more moving parts that keep you on edge,” he said. “It entails research and due diligence to put deals together and ensure proper decision making for my clients.”
Home construction numbers continue to climb
According to William Osborne, city planner for development services for the city of Douglas, the city of Douglas issued 13 single-family residential building permits in 2021 and 12 single-family residential building permits in 2020.
“The total valuation of the single-family residential building permits issued in 2020 was $1,057,508 and in 2021 it was $1,247,900,” he said. “We had 20 commercial project permits in 2020 with a total valuation of $1,505,349, and 29 commercial project permits in 2021 with a total valuation of $16,728,220.
“We’re hearing more interest from industrial development prospectors at the turn of this year, especially after news that the proposed Commercial Port of Entry between our sister city, Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, and Douglas along a James Ranch Road alignment was awarded $400 million in federal funding. That interest should continue, along with a variety of other commercially-supportive uses. We are undertaking several integrated planning, design and assessment steps to anticipate impacts and guide economic growth and spin-off benefits to Douglas and other Cochise County communities with the significantly improved efficiencies for freight trade between the U.S. and Mexico.”
Osborne says that in downtown Douglas, the city’s Historical District Façade Improvement Program has had three application inquiries in the last three months, with two completed applications submitted for consideration.
“If these projects aim to fix prominent street-facing elements of historic buildings according to program criteria, they each can qualify for up to $2,500 in grant funding to support their efforts,” he said. “These efforts must be consistent with the historic appearance of the structure and help maintain the historic character of downtown Douglas.”
Officials with the city of Douglas reported that 10 new-home construction permits were taken out in 2020, up four from the year before and seven from 2015 and 2016.
One new commercial building permit was taken out last year and that was for American Southwest Credit Union located at 11th and San Antonio.
According to Luis Pedroza, Douglas’ interim city manager and city treasurer, Douglas’ economic situation is currently “stable.”
“We have received numbers through November 2020 and we have had a surprising outcome through the pandemic,” he said. “Before the start of the pandemic, our sales tax revenue for the first quarter (January-March 2020) was up 14% over last year; the pandemic hit around mid-March and for the second quarter, which is April-June, our sales tax fell but was still up 3% over last year. The third quarter (July–September) our sales tax was up again by 15%. For the period of October through November our sales tax is up 23% compared to last year.”