Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Angry Renters Unite!!

I received an interesting email with a link to this site. Thought I'd pass the link along just for the heck of it. Comes complete with a petition and everything.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Donna Crouse going to jail

My good buddy in the real estate business and successor to the local Realtor Association chairmanship of the Government Affairs Committee, Donna, is going to jail to raise money for the MDA.

If you'd like to help her cause, please click here and donate.

Thank you in advance.

Wind power comes to Kingman

Very cool article this morning in the KDMiner about a resident that is having a wind turbine erected to generate power for his home.

See the whole article here.

I loved this at the end...

Lingenfelter has long been a fixture in the city of Kingman, having practiced medicine for decades before founding the Lingenfelter Center for Alzheimer's and Behavioral Health at 1099 Sunrise Ave. in 2003. He is currently chairman of the board for the Center. His motivation for purchasing the turbine, he said, was simple enough.

"When I go outside and I feel the wind blowing, I think, 'gee, I'd like this to light up my house,'" he said. "I just feel like we should make whatever effort we can to cut down the energy costs and make use of our resources. Whether it's solar or wind, it's something we should try to do."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Retail jobs...

During MY campaign for a spot on city council, I emphasized the issue of jobs in the community. It was/is my belief that our local economy is stagnating and even regressing on the job front. There was a time not all that long ago where it seemed like all indications were that the influx of growth was leading to more jobs and other opportunities. The future (then) looked bright and maybe even looked 'recession proof'... if there even is such a thing.

I know that timing is many things in the grand scheme of things. Once the real estate market started to turn, I noticed other bits of bad news starting to emerge locally. For instance, Frontier Communications laid off about 50 workers locally and altered its footprint here in Mohave County. Foxworth Galbraith closed its location in Kingman right around that time. There has been talk of hiring freezes for the both the county and city. Many in the building trade say that employment is off big time.

I was criticized at times for my support of new retail developments here in Kingman. Sometimes the critics said that my intention was to see Kingman become the next Las Vegas in terms of matching the growth that was seen in the Nevada community (if not Vegas, than Phoenix or somewhere else similar). Other critics, including some that comment here, said that retail jobs wouldn't be good for Kingman because they are low paying jobs. Others said the character of Kingman would be jeopardized by corporate giants moving into this local area (and to that I asked those folks to define the current character as they see it... and they never could).

By now most of us in Mohave County are well aware of some new retail developments that have opened up. The old Wal-Mart and Albertson's shopping center in Kingman has two office retail giants, a national sporting goods chain, a major pet store, a discount clothing store, and a couple of other places that I can't recall off the top of my head. But none of those places are considered 'anchor' tenants like big box retail like the Wal-Mart's, Targets, etc.

We also saw, in recent months, a retail shopping mall (including a Dillard's) in Havasu open up... and now there is a shopping center in Bullhead that sports a Target and a Kohl's.

All of these places seemed to have successful grand openings... and all of them have hired the help that they apparently needed to serve their customers.

I was alerted to an article that appears in the Economic Development Journal of Mohave County for April. On page 17 in the 'Commercial' section is the headline that reads 'New Kohl's usher's in 130 new jobs to Bullhead City'.

My question for discussion is... if this Kohl's was in Kingman and they needed 130 people to work there... how many Kingman residents would have applied for a job at Kohl's??

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Water issues...

News articles about last winters snow pack in the Rocky Mountains are starting to make the rounds.

Read this article, I found it interesting... especially these passages...

Across the West this spring, the picture is similar, with abundant mountain snow in most areas promising runoff that will provide a break from the drought that has sporadically parched the region since late 1999.

The Colorado mountains are poised to unleash more runoff than they have in 11 years. Streams in Washington and Oregon are forecast to carry up to 50 percent more water than usual. Lake Powell, stretching more than 100 miles across Utah and Arizona, is expected to rise 50 feet from its current depleted state.


The consequences are far-reaching. More than a half-dozen significant rivers originate in the Colorado mountains and flow through at least 10 other states and Mexico. The water is divvied up under nine interstate compacts, three U.S. Supreme Court decrees and two international treaties.

One of those rivers, the Colorado, flows into Lake Powell behind Glen Canyon Dam, a key link in the complicated and often contentious system that stores and dispenses the river's water.

Lake Powell was full in 1999 but has fallen 100 feet because some of those agreements required that more water be delivered to Mexico and down-river states than the river brought in.

For the first time since 2003, the lake will be high enough to let boaters pass through a formation called the Castle Rock cut, lopping 12 miles off the voyage from the southern end of the lake to the northern.

"It'll mean more trips up-lake for me than I've had for several years," said Gary Wantis of Page, Ariz., who owns a 28-foot cruiser and manages the Lake Powell Yacht Club.


Deeper water in Lake Powell and other reservoirs also helps the federal Bureau of Reclamation's hydroelectric plants run more efficiently, and they're projected to crank out 400 million more kilowatt-hours this year than last, an increase of up to 8 percent and enough to power 33,000 homes for a year, spokeswoman Lisa Iams said.

Water utilities in Phoenix and Denver said they expect their supplies to be in good shape. Salt Lake City's Department of Public Utilities expects average levels.

There aren't many things that I'd like to see more than Lake Mead rising a bit, for selfish reasons (fishing).

I'm not posting this article to say that all of our water resource problems are solved or anything like that. We should all be doing our best to conserve whatever water sources we have. I just saw this report as a bit of good news in the otherwise 'bad news' world that we have been living in as far as water is concerned. Maybe a few more winters like last year and a noticeable rise in lake levels will reduce some of the freaking out people have been doing lately. Maybe.

City Council Candidates...

Good to see the candidates still out on the trail. Here is an article from the KDM that covers a recent candidate forum.

I didn't attend this event but included in the article is some information on the views the candidates have on the proposed I40 interchanges that have been in the news for the last couple of years.

From the article...

Interchange projects

One question from the audience asked for the candidates' views on the Kingman Crossing and Rattlesnake Wash interchange projects planned at Interstate 40, east of Andy Devine Avenue.

I'm just glad to see this is still an important topic of conversation.

(Candidate Travin) Pennington said he supports both projects, as both would spawn economic development, bring in sales tax revenue and fix some of the traffic issues in town, particularly those on Stockton Hill Road.

Speaking about Vestar Development Co., which plans to build a mall on the north side of Kingman Crossing, Pennington said, "I don't have a fiduciary responsibility to represent any developer in this town. I have a fiduciary responsibility to represent you, the voters of this community."

Mr. Pennington is right about economic development and the traffic issues, and here Kingman could work towards a private/public partnership agreement to address such issues. But that could mean having the city work with the likes of the developer that he mentioned towards a winning position for both the developer and the community.

Sounds like this candidate is a 'community first' kind of guy... that is good.

(Candidate Keith) Walker, who also supports both projects, said the interchanges are inevitable. He noted that the hospital MedCath Corp. is planning at Kingman Crossing North will not move forward until construction begins on the Crossing interchange. Director Gary Jeppson said in January that the Development Services Department would withhold building permits until construction commences.

I hope Mr. Walker is right about the inevitability of both interchanges. I did not know that the new hospital was on hold until there was a solution to the traffic interchange issue. I guess I missed Mr. Jeppson's comments back in January, last I remember the hospital group was saying that their project was a go and didn't need Interstate access.

Mr. Walker is still the only remaining candidate that I am definitely voting for at this time and I think he would help Kingman find a way to find a solution to the interchange issues whether that means leaning on land owners and developers to pony up for part, most, or all of the costs... or simply condition certain city property for highest and best value in order to sell that property to pay for the infrastructure improvements... or something else other than passing a property tax and raising sales taxes.

(Candidate Carole) Young said, "I believe every interchange is important," especially considering the growing congestion on Hualapai Mountain Road. But she added that she would not support the use of city sales tax revenue to help fund the projects.

Two things here, one I admire her consistent stand on funding. I believe she is saying that what is good for one proposed project should be good for the other... and I agree.

The other thing though, is if the city needs to address such things as traffic congestion... if tax money is NOT used to pay for city improvements, who then pays for such things??

(Candidate Craig) Schritter has "no problem with Kingman Crossing on the north side," but, he said, "The city left multiple questions unanswered on the south side." If developers want to build on the north side, "let them," he said.

But what about the infrastructure projects (i.e. traffic interchanges)?? Also, I'm not sure if the city left questions unanswered, instead I think that some people didn't like the answers (oh no, not more traffic on Seneca... type of thing).

Good reading nonetheless.

Spring time in Kingman

Well... as promised, albeit very late, here are some photos I took while on the 'Monolith Loop' hiking trail with my wife a couple of weekends ago.

There were formations like this one all along the hike, this one was from a high point on the loop.

Here is another example of this kind of formation. There was another area that had many of these stand alone types that I did not manage a decent photo from. Interesting hike.

Lots of colors out in the spring bloom.

Another example of the colors seen.

I'm not a big fan of heights so this was the best perspective of this particular canyon I could manage.

Now my wife on the other hand, obviously has no fear of heights. I was nervous just taking this photo. She is sitting just next to a fall off cliff and I used telephoto to be even this close.

Just to prove that I was actually on this 3.5 hour hike.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ahh... Sedona... I barely saw you

Things again have been slow again around here at MOCO. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at a state Realtor Association planning session in beautiful Sedona. I didn't get to explore around because of time constraints, but I managed just a few photos taken from the front of the hotel I stayed in.

These photos were not my best effort.

I'll be sharing some photos from a recent hike I took in Kingman with my wife last weekend... Monolith Trail I think it is called. Once I get caught up I'll post some of those. I've never taken that hike before (as I try to avoid all hikes), but there were some amazing sites along the way. Once I post those, then I think it should be business as usual around MOCO again. There are local issues and the like to opine on. See you then.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gail's Polar Plunge...

Now that it is heating up here in Arizona, weather wise, I thought I'd make good on posting the photos from the polar plunge my wife took part in back in Minnesota.

This should help cool you off.

Thanks again for all the contributions that were made by local folks here in Kingman. Together we raised well over the $500 dollars I asked for in order to post these photos.

From the email box

I received a link to an article last week and thought I'd share it.

It is a quick read for buyers potentially thinking about buying a home in the current market.

Simple, yet good advice.

See linked article here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

March Sales Report (2008)

Bottom forming?? I know there's been tons of 'hopeful' talk about this phenomenon actually taking place once again at some point in our remaining lifetime... so is it happening here in the Kingman market?? I'm not sure.

But when you look at the charts you will see the average sales price and the median sales price not forming a bottom... but rather a cliff. Prices are falling fast. On bit of good news though... production numbers in terms of units sold increased over the March of 2007 figure AND obviously rose up against the very weak January and February figures for this year. All told though, this last quarter is easily the worst quarter of sales in recent history.

Let's get started... first the disclaimer...

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.

Listings and sales in units chart:

Hey now... sales better in March then they were in September and March of last year... at least we have that going for us. Still way too many listings hitting the market meaning way too much competition for sellers and hardly any pressure on buyers. Clearly a trend that has move in the opposite direction.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

I thought about including a trend line for the last three months... but the chart already did that for me. Falling fast and hard now and the new sellers to the market are not keeping up. Real sellers will close the gap not widen it.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

We never saw the orange line eclipse the yellow line last year, so it is somewhat surprising to see the new blue line beat the orange line. This marks the first time in 24 months that unit sales increased in a year over year look. Sales in units were UP... I say UP... 22.6% as compared to the previous March. Woot!! (oh yes... there is some sarcasm in my woot exclamation)

I have a feeling though that sales in units will be back down below last April's numbers. I hope I'm wrong.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

So the previous chart showed some 'good' news because of the increase of sales year over year. The average sales price is DOWN... I say DOWN... 26.5% from the previous March. The average price per unit sold is LOWER... I say LOWER... than it was in March of 2005 = three years ago.

Will this stimulate some form of normalcy for prices?? Is this the new 'floor' for pricing?? Or does the average price continue to trend at the same pace??

Well... there is still a ways to drop in order to reach 2004 average prices. In March of 2004 the average price per unit sold was $112,646. The market average price for March is closer to 2004 levels than it was LAST YEAR.

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

Lowest median price for the month of March in the last four years. Says it all.

The range of units sold in March was between $62,000 through $305,000.

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in March had 3.08 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.789 car garage, included 1,520 square feet of living space, and was built in 1992. The average hold sold for an average of $102 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 109 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 149 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $16,024 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $7,368 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in March was $23,392.

Bonus Charts:

The average price per square foot has dropped 22.7% since March of 2007.

On average, sellers conceded 13.15% from their original offering price for listings that closed in March of 2008 (sellers conceded just under 8% in March of 2007).

To sum it up... at the current sales run rate as compared to available inventory in the MLS, we find 17 months of inventory. A 'healthy' market has less than eight months of inventory (and that is pushing it).

See ya next time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eunice 'Arlene' Stevenson...

Some may have known her as Arlene, or Mrs. Stevenson, or the person that would out-fish or out-hunt whoever was on the trip, or the Arizona Diamondbacks biggest fan (but she'd be the first person to say that it hasn't been the same since Luis Gonzalez left the team)... quite simply I knew her as 'Ma'.... as in "Hey Ma... any green chili burritos left??"

Arlene is my wife Gail's mother and our family lost more than the family matriarch last last Friday afternoon, much more.

I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law. I learned early on that a few compliments here or there about her cooking went a long way... usually meaning an endless smorgasbord of whatever she was cooking up on that particular day. Heck, she would even over rule my wife and fix me another plate when Gail would try, in vain, to cut me off. My larger than it needs to be midsection was always grateful.

You had to be on your toes around Arlene, at least have your guard up, as she was quick with the wit and wouldn't spare anyone (no matter how much you loved her cooking). I'm sure there are many stories to share, at this time though I'm having difficulty choosing some of my favorites. One quick one is that she knows how much I love to fish. She had fished the lakes in our area for many years. Every time I'd head out on a trip and come back with the news that I didn't catch anything she'd let me have it in a good spirited way. She'd always threaten to have me take her out so that she could teach me how to angle for the biggest catch on the lake. Sadly for me (good news I guess for the fish) we never made it out on a lake together. I do, though, hope she is with me in spirit the next time I head out (I need all the help I can get).

I want to thank all the folks that have called or emailed (and even commented on the blog) since the news of her passing. Right now the family is strong and we will get through this. Today is the first day that the obituary ran in the paper. Here is the link. Please join the family at the service on Friday if you can make it.

Lastly, below is a some of Arlene's paintings. Along with being good at everything else, she had artistic talents. The images are scanned in photos of some of her oil paintings. Over the years since I've lived here I've spotted many of her works in various local businesses. I've come to understand that folks would ask her to make custom leather belts that were equally as impressive. She was also known to write some fine poetry.

So Ma... I know you are out there... thank you for everything. Thanks for being a friend, mother-in-law, consultant, and fellow baseball fan. You meant more to me than I'm sure I've ever expressed to you, I miss you, and I love you.

Readers... please enjoy the paintings, and once again thanks for the understanding.

Deceptive Mortgage Advertising...

Wander around the Internet long enough and you are bound to run into ads for a new mortgage with a promise of lowering your payments and/or offering other goodies. Some of this advertising (and not just on the Internet) is obviously 'deceptive'.

At this link you will find a great article about this 'practice' and what one Senator in Washington DC is trying to do about it... for now... collect examples of deceptive ads. Please click on that link and read it, also if you know of such deceptive ads be sure to forward those examples to the law maker. All the info you need is provided on the link.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Media report on Vegas housing market...

From this article linked here.

More than half of Las Vegas home sales in March were foreclosures or short sales, the president of Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors said Monday.

The association reported 1,478 escrow closings for single-family homes during the month, a 34.6 percent increase from February. It was the third straight monthly increase. Sales are down 7.9 percent from the same month a year ago.

Read the whole thing.

My preliminary report for Kingman in March shows an increase in unit sales over last month and last year in March. Good news... yes.

But... that is where the the good news (depending on how you look at it) ends.

I read reports about the 'bottom' forming in the housing markets in places... well... we have what appears to be a cliff forming. Check back to see how prices are falling... fast.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Still light on the posting...

Readers... please stay patient with the blog at this time. Late last week my Mother-in-law passed away and I've been attending to family business.

The sales report will be out later this week and we'll soon be back to a state of normalcy around here.

Thanks again for your patience.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Some reading...

Folks, I've been busy this week with some family business so I haven't been able to post on the blog all that much.

As you know, I follow other blogs about housing, investment, and other such types of markets. One of my very favorites is the BawlGuy Talking blog. I had been waiting for him to pen another article about the markets in general and it appeared a couple of days ago.

Here is the link.

I just get so tired of all the mainstream media hype about the imminent death of society because of the markets, and often I find Mr. Brown's take on things a needed breath of fresh air.

Feel free to disagree with him on his blog if you'd like. I keep reading his stuff because I know he's seen and experienced much more than I have about important issues like these.

As for the stock market in general... again I'm following closer in an effort to learn more... I'm finding the results very odd. Every time there seems to be bad news the Dow seems to go up. Today the jobs report came out and it looked pretty bad, yet the Dow is up slightly when I figured it'd be way down on the news.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

March Listings Report (2008)

So much for the first quarter of the year... it is over... already!! Time is flying by and hopefully flying us in to a better selling season for single family homes in Kingman than we saw last year.

I'll be comparing figures from the previous month, but starting with this report I'll also include comparisons to the previous year.

The disclaimer and away we go...

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 643 (up just a bit from 632 on March 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in March was 4.1. Compared to last years total listings available on the market are down 9.9%.

There were 127 new listings taken in March (back up as compared to 94 in February). The average asking price for the new listings is $206,106 (down from last months $211,721). The median asking price is $162,000 (also down from $165,000 previously). Newly listed units are down 15% from last year and the average sales price dropped 20% as compared to March of 2007.

The average newly listed home in March has 3.13 bedrooms, 2.2 baths, a 2.1 car garage, with 1,643 square feet of living space and was built in 1996. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $125. Lastly, 17 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker. 7 units are already under contract and 1 already closed.

The original price of new listings this month was from $57,000 through $654,500.

Units under contract:

As of today there are 104 total units under contract (holding steady compared to the number of 102 last month).

45 units entered into contracts in the month of March (basically the same as compared to 46 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $197,800 (up some from $176,235 last month) and the median asking price for March was $162,450 (up from the previous months $149,000 figure). Units entering contract are off from March of 2007 by 18% and the average marketing price is also down 4.7%.

The average home that went under contract in March has 3.09 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 2.178 car garage, with 1,704 square feet of living space, and was built in 1992. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract this month is $116. It was also priced $18,861 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $20,308 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 104 days (from 141 last month).

The advertised price of units that entered contract was from $69,900 through $675,000.


The rate of listing entering contract has remained steady the last two months, but the numbers are way down from the previous year. The up tick in new listing activity was not something that I wanted to see, but the average asking price has at least slipped so I think sellers are finally understanding where they need to set prices at to attract buyers. I'm not saying they are there yet, but at least on the right track.

Even though the average and the median price rose as compared to last month for units under contract, sellers still had to concede a large amount of money... and probably even more concessions in the agreement. I expect to see the final sales numbers for March continue to show increases in price concessions. Don't be surprised to find the average and the median sales price to be very close to the figures from March... of 2005.

So the first quarter is complete now. While I hate to predict the future I am starting to believe that we will see more total sales in units in 2008 as compared to 2007, but the prices will continue to slide back into the way-back machine. Buyers could start a run (albeit a slow jog) this year as each buyer has a different threshold they want to see before buying. Inventory of available listings is still way too high and won't be helped by the many foreclosures that this market will continue to see throughout this year.

Where is the bottom?? You tell me. I still feel as if a parachute is needed to safeguard against the fall.

Till the sales report... happy selling.