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Kirtland AFB Gets $53.5M Battleship Environment Laboratory

ABQhomes® - Sunday, January 11, 2009
More of the nation's space warfare operations are moving to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM. The US Air Force broke ground on a 145,000 square foot, $53.5 Million Battleship Environment Laboratory. Completion is scheduled for July 2010. The Battleship Environment Division, with 175 jobs and an $89 Million annual budget, is transferring from Hanscom Air Force Base  in Massachusetts to Kirtland AFB as part of the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). The division's mission includes developing advanced surveillance technologies and studying conditions in space that can afect military operations. "The U.S. military relies heavily on space systems and those systems are affected by the harsh space environment, an environment that can damage satellite hardware and degrade satellite system performance." said Col. Bradley J. Smith. "The division has Department of Defense-wide responsibility to perform basic and applied research and development to provide technologies to warn operators of potential problems and to protect our space assets from the effects of the space environment." The Battleship Environment Division is one of three divisions that make up the Space Vehicle Directorate. The other two divisions are already at Kirtland AFB. Col. Smith, the directorate commander, said he's already working with the University of New Mexico (UNM) and New Mexico Tech to identify potential employees. Of the 175 jobs, only 25 are military, but some staff may transfer from Massachusetts. "The folks at Hanscom are going to be offered the opportunity to move down here and they'll be given relocation packages," Col. Smith said, noting that those employees have until June to decide. However, he does not expect high numbers to move. He hopes to fill dozens of the science and engineering jobs with New Mexico talent. "You typically get a fairly small percentage that move under these BRAC actions. So the question is, how do you make up the difference?" Col. Smith said. He said one way is to "seek out graduating science and engineering students here in New Mexico who have the skills needed for studying space and its impact on things like satellites, communications, navigation and space-based surveillance systems systems." Col. Smith, a Rochester, NY, native who received his Ph.D. in computer engineering at UNM, said he can begin filling some positions as early as this summer. Many of those jobs carry annual salaries in the $60,000 to $120,000 range. The Battleship Environment Division includes the Space Weather Center of Excellence and the Battleship Surveillance Innovation Center, Col. Smith said. The Surveillance Innovation Center develops detection and imaging technologies that provides the military with information about combatant forces in the battlefield. The Space Weather Center of Excellence studies phenomena in space that can affect military systems and develops ways to predict, mitigate and reduce these effects, ranging from radio signal interference in the ionosphere to radiation damage to spacecraft hardware. The Battleship Environment Laboratory will develp technologies to improve space systems and operations. Kirtland AFB is already home to the two other divisions of the Space Vehicles Directorate. They are:
  • The Integrated Experiments & Evaluation Division which evaluates emerging technologies and operational concepts for potential military space applications.
  • The Spacecraft Technology Division which operates two spacecraft assembly, integration and test facilities manned by NASA-certified technicians. This division also provides expertise in spacecraft design and operation, and military utility assessments.
  • The division focuses on spacecraft technologies that enable current and futrure space missions. It has 112 civilian, military and contract employees.
Col. Smith said that he plans to have about half of the available positions filled by the time the new lab is finished in September 2011. Esther Gomez, the Director of Personnel for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, said Kirtland's Air Force Research Lab created the New Mexico First Recruitment Strategy for just this type of situation. "That means we are going out to the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech to see if there are any students in those pipelines that we could hire. We have lots of flexibility that allows the flexibility to appoint a qualified student to an internship."

Gov. Bill Richardson Thanks Movie Stars George Clooney and Kevin Spacey

ABQhomes® - Friday, December 19, 2008
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson hosted a star-studded dinner party at the Governor’s Mansion in Santa Fe to thank moviemakers and celebrities, including George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Paul Sorvino, for shooting films in the state. Clooney and Spacey have been in New Mexico filming the action-comedy "The Men Who Stare at Goats." Sorvino has been working on "Doc West," a feature-length film for Italian television that is shooting around Santa Fe. Other guests included Grant Heslov, director of "The Men Who Stare at Goats," and Mary McCormack, star of the Universal Network Television series "In Plain Sight," which is filming around Albuquerque. The stars joined members of New Mexico's arts and business communities -- including actress Ali MacGraw, a local resident -- for a main course of grilled beef filet and Guinness cake for dessert. Richardson, a second-term Democrat who was nominated Commerce Secretary by President-elect Barack Obama, has pushed filmmaking as an economic development tool in New Mexico. Lured by hefty financial incentives and the availability of production facilities and technical crews, more than 110 feature films and television series have been shot in the state, earning it the nickname "Tamalewood." This year's Oscar-winning "No Country for Old Men" -- based on the novel by Santa Fe resident Cormac McCarthy -- was shot almost entirely in New Mexico. Three other films made here -- "3:10 to Yuma", "In the Valley of Elah" and "Transformers" -- also nabbed Oscar nominations. Richardson likes to welcome moviemakers at the mansion as a way of thanking them for their contribution, said Eric Witt, the governor's entertainment adviser. "That kind of personal touch really helps us in terms of recruiting return projects," Witt said. "It's very impressive to production executives, also to the key talent, that the chief executive of the state cares that much and is that accessible and that available to projects." And the good feelings are apparently mutual. Witt said Sorvino, a sculptor and opera singer in addition to being a noted film and television actor, thanked the governor for his hospitality and burst into song, regaling the dinner crowd with Italian arias. "It was totally spontaneous," the aide said.

This is the Golden Age for First Time Homebuyers

ABQhomes® - Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Now's the time to take advantage of what may turn out to be the buying opportunity of a lifetime. This may be the golden age for first-time home buyers. Unfortunately, we won’t know this has been the golden age until it has passed. We will not be able to identify the bottom of the housing market without the benefit of hindsight. However, just like the stock market, the moment will probably arrive when everyone is feeling the most pessimistic. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage are less than 5.5% and home prices have fallen substantially. First-time home buyers can take advantage of this market because they do not have to sell their old home before buying a new one. Follow this link to read the entire article: article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/06/business/yourmoney/06money.html

Albuquerque New Mexico Ranks High For Safest Air

ABQhomes® - Monday, December 01, 2008
According to the American Lung Association, "State of the Air Report" for 2008 Albuquerque, New Mexico came in 17th for least amount of year-round particle pollution and 3rd overall for safest air. See http://www.stateoftheair.org/2008/cleanest-cities/cleanest-year-round.html for the complete report.

Forbes Projects Albuquerque Will Be #1 For Home Appreciation

ABQhomes® - Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Matt Woolsey, 08.25.08, 8:00 PM ET

Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Believe it or not, in the future people will be buying and selling homes. Some of them will even make a profit.

It's not so crazy an idea. Consider Albuquerque, N.M. The mid-sized Southwestern city has experienced housing price declines since a peak in the third quarter of 2007, job growth has been flat, and housing starts are expected to fade by 45% through the end of 2008. Nevertheless, it's a city that home builders and economists are bullish about for 2010 and beyond.

In Depth: Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Video Interview: Where Home Prices May Get A Boost

According to analysts at Moody's Economy.com, Albuquerque's job growth through 2012 is projected at an average annual rate of 1.6%, fueled in large part by its low costs and local business expansion. Housing starts in the city are expected to reverse course in 2009, growing by 26.6%, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This means builders have high hopes for 2010 and 2011, when those homes will be completed and on the market.

It's the same story in several other cities: more tough times to come in the short term, but potential for a recovery and a rise in prices in the long term.

Behind The NumbersTo determine where house prices are expected to rise next, Forbes.com looked at projections for housing starts from the NAHB and job-growth figures from Moody's Economy.com, for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. The estimates are based on the cost structures of business in the respective cities and the composition of the local economies.

Related Stories

America's Most Distressed Housing Markets 

U.S. Cities With The Most Home Equity

Housing start projections from the NAHB may seem like wishful thinking. Trade-association economists often view their own industry through rose-colored lenses. The National Association of Realtors (NAR), for example, has developed a reputation for its positive outlooks despite negative numbers.

But the NAHB data are filled with laggards, signifying some realistic thinking. Housing starts in Las Vegas are expected to drop by 32% in 2008 and actually get worse in 2009, falling by a further 43%. In overbuilt, highly leveraged Phoenix, starts are predicted to fall 50% this year and descend another 11% more in 2009.

Because houses take six months to two years to build, that means home builders aren't expecting profits in the Vegas or Phoenix market until past 2011.

"These are some of the most overbuilt markets," says Robert Denk, an economist at the NAHB. "There are some markets that got really out of hand and they're going to be in trouble for a couple years still." He cites Cape Coral, Fla., as the poster child of overbuilding exuberance. "They built 10 years of housing in two years."

The prognosis isn't as bad elsewhere.

Texas On The Rise?Centex (nyse: CTX - news - people ), one of Texas' largest homebuilders, has been stung by overextension into Michigan and Colorado, as well as big bets on the vacation-home market in Texas. In July, the builder reported losses of $150 million. There's a bright spot, however.

San Antonio and Austin, Texas, have largely avoided the real estate crash, with price increases of 2.5% and 4.1% in year-over-year terms, respectively, according to the NAR. This is driven in part by the fact that the two markets are expecting building slowdowns of 24.7% and 28.2%, respectively, through the end of the year, as home builders are bearish about the remainder of 2008 and 2009 in the sales market or cannot find financing. Builders as a whole are taping their wounds and cutting back production, adopting a wait-and-see approach to home prices in the coming year.

But for the start of 2010 and into 2011, builders expect a more vibrant market for sellers. For homes built in 2009, which would come off the conveyor belt in 2010 and 2011, the NAHB forecasts a 9.6% increase in Austin and a 20.9% increase in San Antonio above 2008 levels. Much of that has to do with expected job growth in all non-farm sectors.

Recovery In Obvious PlacesAt this point, it's clear the subprime contagion won't be contained in the next year, based on the acceleration of home price drops and foreclosures nationwide. But when the bad vintages of loans finally come off the books, the cities where prices are expected to rebound are largely those with vibrant economies.

"The logic is pretty straightforward," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "People will spend as much on housing as their income will allow them. House prices are very closely tied to household income over the long run when you look at business cycles."

This means that recovery is likely in the cards for even the hardest-hit spots. Cities like Atlanta and Colorado Springs, Colo., may be reeling from high defaults and foreclosures, but from 2007 through 2012, their economies are expected to experience 2% and 1.6% average annual job growth. That means more in-migration and more money in the economy, factors that help businesses grow and profit--and put more money in residents' pockets.

As local economies grow bigger and more dynamic, land values increase because the value of what can be produced on that land increases. When land prices go up, home values go up.

Home prices moving up; it sort of makes one nostalgic.

In Depth: Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Forbes Predicts Albuquerque #1 Market For Price Appreciation

ABQhomes® - Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Matt Woolsey, 08.25.08, 8:00 PM ET

Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Believe it or not, in the future people will be buying and selling homes. Some of them will even make a profit.

It's not so crazy an idea. Consider Albuquerque, N.M. The mid-sized Southwestern city has experienced housing price declines since a peak in the third quarter of 2007, job growth has been flat, and housing starts are expected to fade by 45% through the end of 2008. Nevertheless, it's a city that home builders and economists are bullish about for 2010 and beyond.

In Depth: Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

Video Interview: Where Home Prices May Get A Boost

According to analysts at Moody's Economy.com, Albuquerque's job growth through 2012 is projected at an average annual rate of 1.6%, fueled in large part by its low costs and local business expansion. Housing starts in the city are expected to reverse course in 2009, growing by 26.6%, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This means builders have high hopes for 2010 and 2011, when those homes will be completed and on the market.

It's the same story in several other cities: more tough times to come in the short term, but potential for a recovery and a rise in prices in the long term.

Behind The NumbersTo determine where house prices are expected to rise next, Forbes.com looked at projections for housing starts from the NAHB and job-growth figures from Moody's Economy.com, for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. The estimates are based on the cost structures of business in the respective cities and the composition of the local economies.

Related Stories

America's Most Distressed Housing Markets 

U.S. Cities With The Most Home Equity

Housing start projections from the NAHB may seem like wishful thinking. Trade-association economists often view their own industry through rose-colored lenses. The National Association of Realtors (NAR), for example, has developed a reputation for its positive outlooks despite negative numbers.

But the NAHB data are filled with laggards, signifying some realistic thinking. Housing starts in Las Vegas are expected to drop by 32% in 2008 and actually get worse in 2009, falling by a further 43%. In overbuilt, highly leveraged Phoenix, starts are predicted to fall 50% this year and descend another 11% more in 2009.

Because houses take six months to two years to build, that means home builders aren't expecting profits in the Vegas or Phoenix market until past 2011.

"These are some of the most overbuilt markets," says Robert Denk, an economist at the NAHB. "There are some markets that got really out of hand and they're going to be in trouble for a couple years still." He cites Cape Coral, Fla., as the poster child of overbuilding exuberance. "They built 10 years of housing in two years."

The prognosis isn't as bad elsewhere.

Texas On The Rise?Centex (nyse: CTX - news - people ), one of Texas' largest homebuilders, has been stung by overextension into Michigan and Colorado, as well as big bets on the vacation-home market in Texas. In July, the builder reported losses of $150 million. There's a bright spot, however.

San Antonio and Austin, Texas, have largely avoided the real estate crash, with price increases of 2.5% and 4.1% in year-over-year terms, respectively, according to the NAR. This is driven in part by the fact that the two markets are expecting building slowdowns of 24.7% and 28.2%, respectively, through the end of the year, as home builders are bearish about the remainder of 2008 and 2009 in the sales market or cannot find financing. Builders as a whole are taping their wounds and cutting back production, adopting a wait-and-see approach to home prices in the coming year.

But for the start of 2010 and into 2011, builders expect a more vibrant market for sellers. For homes built in 2009, which would come off the conveyor belt in 2010 and 2011, the NAHB forecasts a 9.6% increase in Austin and a 20.9% increase in San Antonio above 2008 levels. Much of that has to do with expected job growth in all non-farm sectors.

Recovery In Obvious PlacesAt this point, it's clear the subprime contagion won't be contained in the next year, based on the acceleration of home price drops and foreclosures nationwide. But when the bad vintages of loans finally come off the books, the cities where prices are expected to rebound are largely those with vibrant economies.

"The logic is pretty straightforward," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "People will spend as much on housing as their income will allow them. House prices are very closely tied to household income over the long run when you look at business cycles."

This means that recovery is likely in the cards for even the hardest-hit spots. Cities like Atlanta and Colorado Springs, Colo., may be reeling from high defaults and foreclosures, but from 2007 through 2012, their economies are expected to experience 2% and 1.6% average annual job growth. That means more in-migration and more money in the economy, factors that help businesses grow and profit--and put more money in residents' pockets.

As local economies grow bigger and more dynamic, land values increase because the value of what can be produced on that land increases. When land prices go up, home values go up.

Home prices moving up; it sort of makes one nostalgic.

In Depth: Where Home Prices Are Likely To Rise

University of New Mexico, Zipcar Partner to Bring Car Sharing to Campus

ABQhomes® - Tuesday, September 02, 2008

 

 

University of New Mexico and Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing service, today announced a joint partnership to provide Zipcars on campus to university faculty, staff, and students as an environmentally friendly alternative to the costs and hassles of keeping a car on campus. The partnership continues University of New Mexico's commitment to invest in sustainable solutions on campus and marks Zipcar's entry into New Mexico, bringing its operations to more than 50 cities, including London, England, and operations in 26 NorthAmerican states and provinces.

Beginning today, five self-service Zipcars -- three Honda Civics, a Toyota Sienna Minivan, and a MINI Cooper -- will be available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cars will be located throughout campus and are available to all staff and students aged 18+, with gas, maintenance, insurance and reserved parking included in low hourly and daily rates.

Zipcar was selected as University of New Mexico's car sharing partner based on its superior technology and operations, membership experience and track record of providing peer universities with a proven, cost effective, and environmentally-friendly transportation solution. "Our partnership with Zipcar strengthens our commitment to provide members of the UNM community with flexible, environmentally-friendly alternative transportation options," said Clovis Acosta, director of Parking and Transportation Services. "We look forward to working with Zipcar to develop the university's car sharing initiative and to provide our students, staff and faculty with a solution that best matches their needs."

The program with Zipcar is the latest in a series of initiatives by the university to address campus parking, transportation needs, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Previous to the Zipcar agreement, UNM worked with the city of Albuquerque to ensure that students ride the Albuquerque bus system for free. The department has also provided a vanpool service for those interested in commuting to campus and provided bicycle lockers around campus for those arriving at work or school by bike.

For university students who cannot or do not want to bring a privately- owned car to school, Zipcar provides the freedom to travel off campus to attend interviews, run errands, or take a weekend trip. Zipcar also eliminates hundreds of dollars in monthly transportation costs, saving members an average of $436/month or $5,232/yearwhen compared with car ownership -- money that can be put toward other more relevant expenses such as tuitionand housing.

Faculty, staff, and students will be able to join Zipcar for $35 and will gain access to University of New Mexico Zipcars for as little as $9 per hour or $66 per day, including gas, insurance, designated parking, and vehicle maintenance. As a special promotion, the $35 sign up fee will be waived for anyone who joins during the next 90-days. All members 21+ will also have access to Zipcar's network of more than 5,500 vehicles throughout the UK and North America.

Among the dozens of colleges that have partnered with Zipcar to reduce traffic, noise and parking demands are MIT, Columbia, Georgetown, Ohio State, Arizona State University, American University, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, University of Toronto, University of North Carolina and The University of Chicago.

Fidelity Investments to Build a New Operations Center in Albuquerque

ABQhomes® - Saturday, January 19, 2008
Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, will locate a new 210,000-square-foot operations center at Mesa del Sol, a 12,900-acre, mixed-use project in Albuquerque, NM. Fidelity, which will create 1,250 new jobs in Albuquerque, will begin its local operations this year and occupy its facility at the Mesa del Sol site in late 2008. The new campus will house the expansion of Fidelity Human Resources Services which provides corporate clients with payroll, health and welfare, and human resources services. “Fidelity’s selection of this location for a major facility reflects its great confidence in New Mexico’s workforce and the quality of life provided at Mesa del Sol,” said Michael Daly, president of Forest City Covington. “It also offers testimony to the successful collaboration of the public and private sectors, at both the local and state levels, to support economic development that will benefit the entire state.” “The announcement by Fidelity has the potential to change the City of Albuquerque and the economy of New Mexico forever,” said Daly. “This means that there will be good-paying jobs for New Mexico’s college graduates. It’s going to have a positive and far-reaching effect on Mesa del Sol, the surrounding community and the state.” Mesa del Sol is planned to be a true mixed-use district with a balance between economic development and housing. Over the next 35 to 50 years, Mesa del Sol is expected to have 18 million square feet of commercial space, including industrial, office and retail, as well as 37,500 residential units. Grading for the first residential lots is expected to get under way in March 2008. Model homes are scheduled to be offered for sale by mid-2009 with homebuyers moving in by late 2009. Nevertheless, economic development initiatives have captured the spotlight in Mesa del Sol’s early stages. In 2006, the complex’s first structure was completed – an 87,000-square-foot research, development and manufacturing facility for Albuquerque-based Advent Solar, Inc., a leading manufacturer of innovative solar cells and modules. A key artery – University Blvd. – was completed in October 2006, providing sufficient infrastructure to support economic development activities as well as the first planned residential neighborhood. In 2007, Albuquerque became an extension of Hollywood, as Pacifica Ventures developed Albuquerque Studios, a complex of eight large soundstages, production office space and more on 50 acres at Mesa del Sol. Albuquerque Studios provide production space, equipment and staff for the production of feature films and television series. Since then, Sony Pictures Imageworks has announced plans for a 100,000-square-foot digital production facility at Mesa del Sol.

High Technology Solar Manufacturing Plant Will Create 350 Jobs in Albuquerque

ABQhomes® - Friday, January 18, 2008
A German solar technology company announced plans to build a massive manufacturing plant at Mesa del Sol in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Schott Solar, a division of the huge German company, Schott AG, plans to break ground next month on a $100 Million, 200,000 square-foot facility. The plant is expected to open in 2009. Initially, the plant will create 350 jobs. By 2012, Schott will have invested $500 Million, increased the plant to 800,000 square feet, employ 1,500 people and become the state's third-largest private employer. The Albuquerque plant will be Schott's flagship facility in the United States. It will manufacture 64 Megawatt photovoltaic modules and the receivers that generate power for concentrated solar thermal power plants -- facilities which operate much like conventional steam power plants but use solar energy instead of burning fossil fuels. Concentrated solar power plants use parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar radiation onto solar receivers thereby increasing the temperature of the heat transfer fluid flowing through the receivers to 700 degrees F. This heated fluid is then used to turn water into steam which drives a turbine and generates electricity. Schott is a leading manufacturer of solar thermal receivers used in parabolic trough solar thermal power plants. One solar receiver production facility is already online in Mitterteich, Germany and another facility in Sevilla, Spain is scheduled to go online next month. When the Albuquerque facility goes online next year, Schott's worldwide receiver production capacity will exceed 600 Megawatts per year. “In one year's time, we will have transformed the desert in Mesa del Sol to one of the largest solar manufacturing sites in the country,” said Udo Ungeheuer, chairman of Schott's board of management. “The recent opening of the 64 Megawatt Nevada Solar One solar thermal power plant demonstrates that large-scale solar thermal power is a renewable energy technology whose time has come.” said Mark Finocchario, President and CEO of Schott Solar. “We expect that the reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar thermal parabolic trough power plants, along with the Southwestern United States' vast solar resources, will help make solar thermal power one of the United States’ leading sources of renewable energy by 2025.” Schott, a privately held company, chose Albuquerque over cities in three other undisclosed states and locations in Mexico and Canada. New Mexico was chosen after a courtship that began six months ago with a tour of Mesa del Sol which is located south of Albuquerque Sunport. The deal was sealed with a handshake in a hotel in New Hampshire while Richardson was there campaigning for President. “These are the kinds of high-wage jobs we want here in New Mexico,” said Governor Bill Richardson. Mark Finocchario, president and CEO of Schott Solar, said the company was attracted to the abundance of sunlight in New Mexico as well as the state's commitment to renewable energy. Governor Richardson has set a goal that, by 2020, 20 percent of the energy consumed in the state will be renewable, with 4 percent of that coming from solar power. Governor Richardson also said he will ask the New Mexico Legislature, which just opened its 2008 session this week, to allocate $8 Million toward the construction of Schott's new plant. Schott will also be eligible for other financial incentives, such as tax credits equal to 10 percent of the wages and benefits for each new high-wage job that is created. In return, New Mexico expects to receive an economic benefit from the plant of more than $1 Billion over 20 years. Schott's arrival is another success for developer Forest City Covington, which has made the solar energy industry a target as it builds Mesa del Sol, a 13,000-acre project south of the Albuquerque Sunport that is expected to one day be home to 37,500 homes. “This reinforces our mission to make Mesa del Sol a showcase for renewable development,” said Mike Daly, CEO of Forest City Covington. Schott was founded 120 years ago. It has over 17,000 employees in 41 countries and produces $3 billion in annual revenue. Its main markets are in household appliances, optics, electronics, pharmaceutical packaging and solar energy. Advent Solar, a startup solar technology firm, is already operating a manufacturing plant at Mesa del Sol.

Albuquerque Predicted To Be One of Top Performing U.S. Housing Markets in 2008

ABQhomes® - Thursday, January 17, 2008
Albuquerque home values will appreciate 3.5% in 2008, according to HousingPredictor.com. Albuquerque placed 23rd out of more than 250 cities on the annual market appreciation forecast. Historically, the Housing Predictor Top 25 Markets have been 86% correct within a 2 percent margin of error. Yakima, Washington in eastern Washington State won the #1 position with prices predicted to appreciate by 7.1%. After appreciating strongly in the past year, Yakima will still have a fairly active market, despite mortgage woes. Except for the Midwest, the Top 25 Markets were scattered throughout the U.S., from the West to the East and into the South. One trend is that more smaller cities, based on population, made the Top 25 Markets in 2008. Real estate agents report that more people are moving to smaller, less urban cities in search of a better quality of life. This trend bodes well for Albuquerque home values, not just in 2008, but beyond.