Home buying for existing homes in the Albuquerque, N.M., metro area picked up in 2016, but construction of new houses remained low, reports Albuquerque Journal staffer Steve Sinovic.

One industry official said sluggish new home construction numbers were due in part to anemic job growth. Permits in Central New Mexico for single-family homes was static year-over-year through December, continuing to hover at less than 1,700 — nearly one-third the level seen a decade ago.

Home builders took out 1,632 permits for new construction in 2016, a slight decline from 2015’s 1,645 permits that were issued, according to the Albuquerque New Housing Market Letter, a monthly publication of DataTraq.

“We are an industry tied to job creation,” especially the better-paying careers that can help a buyer swing a new-home purchase, said John Garcia, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico, a 700-member trade association.

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