BRAC news has had minimal economic impact — so far

Michael Encinias of Plains Masonry cuts bricks to put the finishing touches on the facade of a new home Monday in the Raintree subdivision just off of Norris Street. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ staff writer

Yes, Applebee’s is still coming to town and, yes, Fairfield Marriott will soon be opening its doors in Clovis.

But yes, there are more homes for sale than a year ago and construction on new homes has taken a dip.

Clovis’ economy has taken notice of the May 13 announcement that Cannon Air Force Base has been targeted for closure, but the impact has been minimal so far.

“We’re kind of in a ‘wait-and-see’ type situation,” said Gayla Brumfield, president of the Realtors Association of New Mexico and broker/owner of Coldwell Banking Colonial Real Estate.

While projects that have been started are being finished, those in the real estate and construction fields agree a holding pattern is going on.

Clovis community relations director Claire Burroughes confirmed Applebee’s is still on its way while Chase Gentry, director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., confirmed the word on the Fairfield Marriott.

But area builders say the demand for new homes has dwindled and construction on such is not even being started.

General contractor Mike Tucker said he is continuing to build projects that were started before May 13, but people backed out of two houses that were to be built on speculation, and he is not starting any new projects on speculation. He said he has, however, started building on two pre-paid custom homes.

Raymond Furrow, also a general contractor and owner of Furrow’s Home Lumber, said his lumber business has experienced several order cancellations from people who had planned to build new homes. He said his business has dropped about 25 percent since May 13 and several homes he was planning to build with his construction crew have also been put on hold.

City records show May building permits for new residences were down from May 2004 (from 19 to 14), but permits for renovations on existing homes went up from 18 to 30.

General contractor Terry Curry, who works as a “handy person” doing home repairs, said the lag in new building has increased his fix-it business.

“People decided they didn’t want to buy anymore and build anymore,” Curry said, so they’re fixing up property they have.
Kenneth Jones, broker/owner of Kenneth Realty, said his business has “gotten fairly quiet” since May 13.

“Builders have slowed down a whole lot and that slows us down,” he said.

Brumfield said from May 13 to June 13 her company had 110 houses on the market in Clovis. Last year during the same time period there were 90.

Brumfield said 218 homes have been for sale from Jan. 1 through June 13 — up from about 170 during the same time period last year for her firm’s listings.

While Brumfield said the real estate business is not quite as bustling as before the BRAC announcement, the impact has been limited.

“It may take a little longer to sell some of the houses, but we haven’t seen a huge impact on pricing, yet,” Brumfield said.

“We have had only slightly more homes on the market than they usually do this time of year.”