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Competition could help sell new east side homes

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- More new homes are going up in east El Paso, but the El Paso Builders Association said the housing market is still suffering.

"We're kind of in a housing slump right now when it comes to the economy and it has to do with the national economy affecting El Paso's economy," Builders Association Executive Vice President Ray Adauto said.

Adauto said builders are trying to sell out their inventory in neighborhoods on the far east side before they start building on new lots.

With multiple builders in different neighborhoods, Keller Williams real estate agent Mario Felix said the competition could drive prices down. That could also make up for the nationwide housing slump.

Felix said home buyers could pay more than $30,000 less for an average four-bedroom home on the east side compared to west El Paso.

"The east side is always going to be the area of growth because it stays within the state of Texas. It's not bounded by Mexico on the south side or New Mexico on the northeast side," Adauto said.

Adauto said there is also more land for larger houses to go up on the east side, possibly making a bigger profit for builders.

"The demand is also regulated by whether or not you can qualify. As qualifications for loans get tougher, credit scores have to be higher and larger down payments are required," Adauto said.

While people are moving into new east side homes already built, some have taken advantage of designing their own.
"We went with the custom builder. We did that because we didn't want the cookie-cutter houses the other small builders are doing," far east El Paso resident Sarah Bencomo said.

However, Bencomo said she would like more commercial development to happen before more houses go up.

"It's just a lot of housing. I guess it would be great if we could have more restaurants and stuff like that out this way. Battling [Loop 375 traffic] to go anywhere else is crazy," Bencomo said.