Morning Word

Santa Fe Home Prices Continue to Rise as Sales Plunge

NM ends 2022 with record-breaking recreational cannabis sales

Santa Fe home prices rise, sales fall

City of Santa Fe median home prices rose by nearly 14% from the fourth quarter of 2021 to this quarter, reaching $608,700, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors reported yesterday. City home sales tumbled by 42% during the same time period. County home prices increased by 8% in that time period, from $738,500 to $797,950, with sales also dropping by 42%. “The Santa Fe housing market continues to face headwinds with higher mortgage rates making the purchase of a home more expensive for buyers,” SFAR 2023 President Drew Lamprich said in a statement. “Despite higher interest rates, home prices remain strong due to the ongoing historic low inventory of homes for sale here in Santa Fe.” In a report on quarterly indicators, SFAR said 2022 “ended in stark contrast to the beginning of the year, as inflation, higher interest rates and declining affordability further constrained market activity in the fourth quarter.” Buyer demand is down “significantly” compared to last year, the report notes, and many have turned to the rental market given the high cost of housing. As for the state of housing in specific areas of Santa Fe, the median home sales price increased the most—by 40% to $1.2 million—in the northern part of the southeast side sector the city (which includes portions of the South Capitol neighborhoods). But prices rose in all sectors of the city, including the Southside, where the median home price rose 11.2% to $472,500.

Cannabis sales end year on high note

New Mexico cannabis sales for both recreational and medical use broke records in December, according to new data from the state Cannabis Control Division. Recreational sales totaled more than $28 million, topping October’s more than $25 million in sales. Medical sales, which had been declining, also showed a rebound compared to the last two months, with more than $15 million in sales. CCD Acting Director Andrew Vallejos told the Albuquerque Journal the new figures were a welcome surprise. “The sales (numbers) are interesting in and of themselves, but what I’m encouraged by is the fact that it means a steady cash flow for (businesses) to stay open and to make a profit,” he said. Santa Fe also broke records with its recreational sales in December: $1.97 million. Medical sales here increased slightly as well from $1.28 million to $1.34 million. And speaking of cannabis and Santa Fe, SFR writer Andy Lyman analyzed more than 100 alleged violations of the 2022 Cannabis Regulation Act investigated by the CCD and found the agency, which operates under the state Regulation and Licensing Division, has taken a harder line with two Santa Fe businesses than with others across the state. Read his cover story, “Uneven Consequences,” here.

India Palace reopens

Beloved downtown restaurant India Palace closed its doors after it was vandalized with racist graffiti and other damage in June, 2020. The FBI and Santa Fe Police tell the Santa Fe New Mexican that incident, which was classified as a hate crime, remains under investigation by the two agencies. In October of 2021, the FBI said it had not ruled out that “persons associated with the restaurant” might have been involved with the damage. Unresolved case not withstanding, the restaurant has reopened with new owners—Satnam Singh Bhandal and Ram Pathak—both of whom worked there in 1995 as servers. “Both of them have best memories of working there at very early state of life,” the restaurant’s new website reads. “As time passed both of them moved on to their respective way and now they are still good friends, but they don’t have as much time together as they used to. Now after 27yrs and pandemic later in 2022 finally they decided to work together and bought the same place that they started working together ‘India palace together.’ They are living American Dream!” In addition to offering a lunch buffet, numerous items are available for take-out and can be ordered online.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Jan. 4New cases: 268; 660,146 total cases. Deaths: 16; Santa Fe County has had 378 total deaths; 8,831 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 103. Patients on ventilators: six

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Dec. 29 “community levels” map shows three counties categorized as “yellow”—medium risk—for COVID-19: McKinley, De Baca, Hidalgo counties. The rest of the state—including Santa Fe County—is green, aka has low risk. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.

Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Listen up

The dust devil acoustics on Mars might not initially sound too special, but those 11 seconds or so of wind passing over the Perseverance Mars Rover speak volumes. Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists, who were part of the team that recorded the sounds on the Los Alamos-led SuperCam, have just published their findings in Nature Communications. For one: this is the first recoding of its kind. Aside from that: “Understanding dust devils on Mars is fundamental because they are at the origin of dust lifting, and dust is a key factor that controls the climate of Mars,” Baptiste Chide, a LANL postdoctoral fellow in the Space and Remote Sensing group and author on the paper, said in a statement.

Skiing for good

Travel & Leisure magazine has no shortage of commendations for Taos Ski Valley, which it describes as a skier’s dream. “The air was still as I took off my goggles to ensure my lenses weren’t deceiving me,” Assistant Editor Jamie Aranoff writes of her view coming down the mountain. “No, it was true. The view really does go on forever, and the sky truly is, as the skiing saying goes, absolutely bluebird.” The story then delves into Taos Ski Valley’s B-Corp status, which it has held since 2017. “It has driven us to decisions like ensuring we have pay equity across all positions regardless of gender, race, or age and ensuring we pay a liveable wage, not just the minimum wage, [and provide] our staff with time to volunteer for local non-profits,” Taos Ski CEO David Norden tells T&L. While Taos maintains bragging rights as the only B-Corp ski valley, Norden thinks others will follow “as they see the benefits.” How does it come across to visitors? “On my trip, I saw it in ways both big and small,” Aranoff writes. “For one, the Gatorade comes in cans, as there’s no plastic here, and every single-use item is made from recycled products. Behind the scenes, all the grooming machines are electric, and by the end of the 2022/23 season, all snowmobiles will be too.” Last summer, Taos Ski gained carbon neutral certification and aims to be at zero emissions by 2030.

Bragging rights

In its recent roundup of the top 50 exhibitions of 2022 from around the world, Hyperallergic magazine includes Self-Determined: A Contemporary Survey of Native and Indigenous Artistswhich ran through the end of the year at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts. If you missed the show, CCA says it plans to release a digital and print-on-demand exhibition catalog in the coming weeks. The show, Hyperallergic recounts, highlights the “thoughtfully critical focus” CCA Executive Director Danyelle Means has brought to CCA since becoming its first Indigenous ED in 2021. The exhibition’s 13 artists, who worked in painting, video, sound, installation and more, “draw attention not only to important environmental, political, and social issues, but to recognize and honor the people and the lands that support and inform expression, identity, and community.” In a review last November for Hyperallergic, Neebinnauzhik Southall writes the show “reveals an intriguing slice of the breadth of work that Indigenous artists are creating today, presenting rich expressions which also prompt questions about the contexts that we collectively occupy.” CCA and the Institute of American Indian Arts kick off live public programming for the year on Jan. 13 with a collaborative performance by leading contemporary Indigenous artists Pulitzer Prize winning composer Raven Chacon, artist Cannupa Hanska Luger and musician Laura Ortman.

Dry for now

The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly sunny day with a high temperature near 42 degrees and north wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Looks like the bit of snow New Mexico received this week provided some much needed help to the reservoirs, with hopefully more on the way mid-month.

Thanks for reading! The Word is enjoying Caitlin Reilly’s TikTok impressions (which she learned about from this New Yorker story).

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