The first-quarter Metrostudy data for the El Paso market shows that the city is struggling a bit more than fellow Texas markets to pick up the sales pace in 2014. Although existing and new residential sales did not see particularly significant decline in the first-quarter, both numbers of closings came in lower than 1Q13. Existing home sales fell slightly year-over-year from 2,009 to 1,996, a minimal decline. Existing home sales for the last year peaked in the market during the second-quarter of 2013 at 2,409. New-home sales saw a big more significant year-over-year decline with a drop from 595 new-home closings in 1Q13 to 445 in 1Q14, a 25.2 percent drop. This is also a decline from 542 fourth-quarter sales. New homes sales in the El Paso market also peaked during 2Q13 at 621.

While the other Texas markets have started to see dramatic price appreciation in the wake of increased demand, the El Paso market remains very affordable to the first-time and entry-level homebuyer. The median price for both new and existing homes has held well under $200,000 in the last year and won’t likely see a spike to push it over an affordability threshold. Existing homes in the market has a median closing price at $116,700 in the first-quarter, a slight year-over-year increase from $111,400, just a 4.8 percent increase. This median price for existing homes is also lower than peak in the 3Q13, when the median closing price hit $127,400. For new homes, the price continues to rise, but at a manageable and somewhat steady incline. The median closing price for new homes in the first-quarter was $165,300, up year-over-year from $156,100, a 5.9 percent increase. While the first-quarter median closing price is the highest for the market, in 3Q13 median price was close for new homes at $165,100.

Homes in El Paso continue to offer big space for less money with a price per square foot median well below $100 for both new and existing homes. In the first-quarter, existing homes hit a price per square foot of $59. This is down from 3Q13 peak median price per square foot for existing homes at $64. New homes, with a quarter-over-quarter drop from $73 in 4Q13 came in at home $58 per square foot for the first-quarter.

In the El Paso market, average household income was $62,920 for both new and existing home sales in the first-quarter, and fluctuates between 50k and 65k for both in the market. Thanks to affordable pricing for homes, the average household age for new-home buyers was just 38 in the first-quarter. In June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate for the market at 7.6 percent, significantly higher than the preliminary national average for the month at 6.3 percent. This high unemployment rate highlights some reason for low home sales in the market, but overall home sales in the Texas markets is expected to climb throughout 2014 according to Metrostudy.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: El Paso, TX.