Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Every once in awhile I like to offer some insights about the local rental housing market. Before I get to that, here is a pretty good article about the apartment building market.

Forget that American dream about the four-bedroom home on one acre with the white picket fence. That's the dream that people stretched too far for in the past few years, and you see what kind of trouble that got us into.

At the moment, the dream looks more like a two-bedroom apartment of 900 square feet with a security buzz-in. After years of playing second fiddle to the single-family sector as millions became homeowners for the first time, the multifamily housing market today is leading the band.

Please keep in mind that this content is from a national media source as you read.

I was given some information by a fellow Realtor that he was using in his efforts to bring such apartment building opportunities to our local area. His information stated that Kingman has a deficiency of these kinds of apartment complexes here. I don't know how his quest is going at the moment, but his information that he shared does not surprise me especially after seeing this article.

Mark Obrinksy, chief economist for the National Multi Housing Council in Washington, says that demand has increased for apartments, especially professionally managed apartments. He points out that the apartment industry, unlike its single-family counterpart, did not overbuild during the housing boom from 2002-2006 and so the increased demand today is leading to a pickup in construction.

"The long-term demographics are quite favorable for rental housing," Obrinksy said in a news release last week. "The nation's 75 million echo boomers are already entering the housing market, and most begin as renters. Strong immigration levels add even more demand."

In the short run, I don't know if Kingman is attracting 'echo boomers' or 'millennials' or 'Generation X's or Y's' (or whatever they're called) in great abundance to affect the current market. Our community would have to be offering jobs first and it is just not happening at the moment.

So while the rest of the country may be seeing more of this kind of building development, at the moment, we aren't. However, I'm sure that many sub-contractors and building suppliers here locally wouldn't mind a few of these types of projects to pop up sometime soon.

But if you're looking for some good housing news, multifamily is it today.

Well... I'm glad to see there is some good housing news in the national media at least.

Now onto some observations about our local rental market. When I build up the nerve... I'll sometimes risk life and limb, head out of my office and make a hard left, carefully peek into the office next door, and ask the property manager extrodinairre -- the lovely Helena -- about the state of the rental market.

I made it out safe and sound today, only getting a two thumbs down upon my request for information. Pretty much the same story that it has been for the last year or so.

Lot's of empty rentals waiting for tenants. Rents being driven down by the market forces. Tenants moving out (due to eviction or the promise of paying even less in rent somewhere else) leaving damages to property sometimes in the thousands of $$.

Should I wrap this back into politics for minute here?? Well I'm still afflicted with the political fever at the moment, so why not??

This is what Kingman is attracting at the moment. These are the results. Community stake holders are not moving here in decent numbers any longer. Those that are moving here for a long future in Kingman are being outnumbered by folks who will leave once again as rents rise... but for now the welcome mat is out for folks that really don't give a darn about the community or the property they dwell in.

The no-growthers should take notice. The longer you continue to attempt to thwart new development (that bring the prospects of jobs, opportunity, and amenities) the better the odds are that the folks thrashing property across town will be the only ones left to serve you. This is why a progression of growth opportunity needs to be explored at every turn. We must all work together to improve this community, not stagnate it. Your selfish reasons for limiting growth will only hurt you in the end.

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