If it's time to head west, young – or old – man, you might consider setting your sights on the Hereford area. Open land, fresh air and, oh, those views.
Every person has their own reason for purchasing real estate in the Hereford/Palominas area, but take it from Leah Reeder, the local panorama tops the list.
“It's the foothills,” Reeder says. “Hereford is the gateway to the foothills of the Huachucas. For that aspect, any time we have people who are coming from out of state, they're drawn to mountains. They're drawn to a home with a view of the mountains. Whatever they're giving up to move here, the tradeoff is the majestic mountains. And they want a home with a view of those. So Hereford capitalizes on that because a lot of the properties here have stellar views of the mountains.”
Reeder, an agent with Long Realty and R|A Home Team, has an insider's perspective of the Hereford real estate market. She grew up there and notes the changes.
“I can tell you just by experience that the amount of homes are more than when I was a kid; it's crazy how much it's grown,” she says. “I think if they got more infrastructure, maybe just a grocery store out there … I know they have the Dollar General and it's always busy. There are rumors about a grocery store, and I can tell you that would draw a lot more people out to Hereford.”
If that would happen, the main problem would be where to house the additional population. Reeder says inventory is low and bidding wars on properties are not uncommon. The current housing report shows homes in all price bands up to $500,000 selling in two months or less, she says. For properties priced $500,000 and higher, it's three months. The lack of inventory and historically low interest rates create a strong seller's market.
The pandemic hasn't dampened the process, and may have even spurred it somewhat.
“We have a lot of buyers who are selling their property and moving to Hereford where they can get land,” Reeder says. “They get more area, they get more space. If they have children, they have space for them to run around. They look for just the home itself for a big home office, the kids are online learning, so they want to have more space in the home, we have a lot of that.
“We have Cochise residents (buying) but we also have people moving here and they're coming from all different states. You see them from California, you see them from Washington, New York, Wyoming. They're coming in from all over, which is pretty typical for us.”
There are other features Cochise County and the Hereford area offers potential buyers.
“They love the climate,” Reeder says. “They love that we don't have hot summers and pretty mild winters, a couple of snow days. They love the activities, and a lot of them just love the smaller community. Tucson's not that far away, there's not as much traffic, there are a lot of attractions. And Sierra Vista International Airport is not that far.”
If Hereford doesn't provide what a buyer is looking for, there is always nearby Palominas.
“Home values are just different,” Reeder says. “It just has to do with what's currently there. Hereford as a whole, you usually have a larger ranch, its rural zoning, but it's four acres per home so you can have your animals, and that's super appealing.
“A lot of Hereford is that, and there's a lot of nice pockets of site-built homes, there's a lot of manufactured homes as well. But there's a good variety. I would say Palominas is more manufactured homes than site-built. And that just plays on property value a little bit more for Palominas than Hereford.”
In both areas, there is not a significant rental inventory. However, Reeder says some potential buyers do prefer to rent for a while, depending on availability, to get a feel of the territory.
With wide open spaces and stunning scenery, what is the growth potential? Reeder says infrastructure will be key, particularly more shopping opportunities and a look at potential traffic problems if the population grows.
“Honestly, in terms of homes we've been building, there are only two ways to go,” she says. “Sierra Vista is going to grow out toward Huachuca City and Whetstone or it's going to grow further out toward Hereford.
“I kind of look at it like Vail. Vail grew and grew and grew and there were communities and homes everywhere but they were behind on infrastructure. They are still.”