You haven’t heard the explosion, but you’ve likely witnessed it: New home construction is going on throughout Rio Rancho.

There are booming neighborhoods being built or extended, from Los Diamantes in the southern part of the Unser Gateway area to Mountain Hawk, near US 550 in the north. Other growth is in Mariposa, Lomas Encantadas, Papillon, Cleveland Heights and in the Broadmoor corridor and Paseo Gateway.

“Rio Rancho’s Residential Explosion” was the focus of Thursday’s NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable presentation, held at Premiere Cinemas with close to five-dozen attendees hearing a trio of leaders on the Home Builders Association’s Central New Mexico board.

Homes would be going up faster with the current demand, but materials have been slow in arriving, much of the delay caused by the pandemic.

Mac Bishop of Abrazo Homes said the “numbers never lie and they tell a story.”

Homes are quickly springing up on Suez Road, in a new housing development destined to soon have at least 30 new rooftops in its current phase. These homes are being built just west of Broadmoor Boulevard and off Abrazo Road, within walking distance of Rio Rancho High School and Lincoln Middle School.
(Gary Herron/Observer)

Part of that story, he said, illustrates “Economics 101,” supply and demand.

“Inventory is unbelievable,” Bishop said, but not in a good way: There was a 0.7-month supply of homes in August, meaning far more demand than homes available.

There were 1,250 “active” listings in the Albuquerque Metro Area in July, he said, with sales of 2,375 homes set to close within six weeks.

The metro area, which includes Rio Rancho, is an “unbelievably under-supplied market of dwellings” facing an exceptional demand — to the tune of an 18,000-house shortage.

Third-generation homebuilder Jenice Eades of Westway Homes said that five years ago, the area was seeing home sales in the 1,800s annually; that number has climbed to more than 2,000.

Demand could be met, she surmised, if some of the labor issues can be solved and the “delivery time” to get a new home could be reduced. What used to take about 120 days is now taking six to eight months, she said.

More than half of the new home starts in the metro area are in Sandoval County.

Carey Plant of AMREP/Amreston Homes attributed that situation to the City of Vision’s “dynamics,” with its availability of land, new communities online, improvements in infrastructure, the two-year general-obligation bond cycle with its focus on road improvements and public safety, and business-friendly attitude. Add to that a highly regarded public school system, and the demand for homes here is expected to continue for years.

“We’re still the best value in the West, probably,” added John Garcia, executive vice president at Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico. He predicted — and got the trio of speakers to agree — that home prices will keep climbing, although builders have been absorbing some of the increased costs.

The NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable topic for its Oct. 7 meeting, also set for Premiere Cinemas, will be “All Roads Lead to Rio Rancho.”

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer