Monday, June 30, 2008

Look outside (locally)

It may come as a shock, but weather conditions outside in the greater Kingman area equal what one could describe as sunny and breezy.

Looks like somebody has taken notice and is going to try and capitalize.

Appraisal pains...

Pretend you are the seller of a fine home. You've reduced price multiple times on your quest to find a buyer. Success!! Sort of anyway. A buyer makes an offer... it is too low (you think) and after a few rounds of negotiation via counter offer forms... you settle on a sales price you never would have thought you'd accept.

The buyer is NOT paying in cash, which means the buyer is working with a lender to borrow the needed amount to meet the terms in the agreement (think sales price).

Before you call that moving company... take the following into consideration.

This comes from the BloodhoundBlog (and they just turned two years old, so happy belated birthday to Greg, Cathleen, and the rest of the very fine contributors of that great site).

I ask that you read the whole thing, but I'm gonna share the information that should scream out to you below from that post.

You probably won’t sell your home for an above-market price, but even if you do, the home still has to appraise for that price

Catchy title, eh??

So your house is finally under contract. Congratulations. It took longer than you thought it would to sell, and you had to go through three price reductions before you got regular showings. But now you’re under contract and in escrow. You’ve made it through the inspections and you’ve taken care of all of the repairs. Nothing but smooth sailing from here, right?

Not quite.

Here comes some bad news you hadn’t anticipated: Your house didn’t appraise.

I can tell you from recent professional experience that appraisals are not coming in for even the agreed to price on the contract you worked so very hard through lengthy negotiations. Here is more...

A lender will only lend on the appraised value or the purchase price — whichever is lower. If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, something has to give.

Greg goes on to say that a buyer is protected in most contracts in the sense that if a house and/or property do not appraise, the buyer can simply cancel the contract and receive their earnest money back. Thanks for playing.

Or... the buyer can ask the seller to reduce the sales price (once again) to the appraised value (subject only to the appraiser and how he or she feels that day). If it is only a few thousand dollars it might not be all that bad and the seller may do it... but what if it is an additional ten thousand or twenty thousand?? Again, normally, thanks for playing.

The lender will not underwrite the loan, so the buyers will be forced to cancel using the financing contingency.

You could end up waiting quite a while longer for another buyer. And that buyer could offer you quite a bit less for your home. And even then, your house will still have to appraise for the purchase price. If home values continue to decline, you could live through this same nightmare a second time.

Again you are pretending to be the seller on this one. And if you've been a seller recently that has been given a low appraisal, it is a nightmare. Sometimes the appraisal report does not get finished in a timely manner... other times it is possible that the underwriters are slow to give final determination on the status of whether or not the loan is a go. It is more than possible that, as a seller, you are given the bad news of the low appraisal with about a week to go before scheduled closing. Yeah... a nightmare.

Appraisers and loan underwriters are skittish right now. Lenders are taking back homes and selling them for fifty cents on the dollar. Appraisers are being fastidious to make sure they are not overestimating values.

There are three check boxes on a typical appraisal form that speak to the current state of the market on the form. The options listed are the market is: 1) appreciating, 2) stable, and 3) DEPRECIATING.

On the most recent appraisal report that I've actually seen with my own eyes here in the Kingman area... option number three was checked (you shouldn't be shocked). This is a big indicator that underwriters watch closely when making their determinations. As a buyer or seller, at this point you are powerless to the appraisal form.

Once you get the bad news about the low appraisal... you are free to search for other comparable sales. You may even find a few sales comps that did not make it on the appraisal report that show sales data that point to a higher value. It probably will not matter. Not in this market. Not with all the eyes of the various government agencies out there looking for something that can be considered 'unscrupulous' (even though the buyer and seller agreed that the value of the home was the amount listed as the final sales price).

The buyer will probably cancel the contract... or at least extend the close of escrow period so that they can find a different lender and start the process all over again. With values dropping monthly, chance are that the next appraisal will be in line with the first one.

Fun huh??

And all of this is just another reason to price your home to the market. You probably won’t find a buyer willing to pay an above-market price. But even if you do, the home still has to appraise for that price.

So, once again, are you sure you really WANT to sell?? I can understand the NEED to sell, but if you fall into the NEED to sell group then I suggest following the advice I emphasized above. You are not only competing against other sellers in perhaps similar circumstances as your NEED indicates, you are also competing with foreclosed on property that banks are maybe getting $0.60 cents on the dollar for. You might want to think three or four months into the future as well. What will the property market value be then?? Will today's listed price even appraise in 90 to 180 days??

Tomorrow is the day that I'll share the listing report for June. I'm going to include a new data figure. I'll report how many new listings are of the foreclosed flavor. See you then.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Home for sale... includes wife!!

I know my limits. As a real estate professional... I simply cannot compete with the likes of this.

From the article...

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL -- A struggling single parent and real estate agent is trying to sell her house and find a husband. She's auctioning off both her home and her love in a package deal on eBay and Craigslist.
And here I thought flat fees were a bit out of the ordinary.

The 42-year-old real estate agent, tired of struggling on her own, came up with a package deal to auction off her Palm Beach Gardens home and herself on both eBay and Craigslist.

Traboscia told News Channel 5 "If I have to place an ad to find my prince charming, I will. I'm doing it for the real reasons, the right reasons, honest, sincerity and respect. And I hope whoever reads it will read me that way."
There are no words...

In the ad, Traboscia writes:

"If you want to live the never ending dream and experience the real love, life and the romance you have always felt was a fairytale then this is the vibrant outstanding woman of your dreams! To sweep this European Loving Lady off her feet send in your application right now."

You see folks... I simply can't offer my love and romance along with the other... more typical... shall we say... services that are normally practiced in the real estate industry. Again... I know my limits (I know them because my wife put those limits on me).

The ad description says that her four bedroom, 2,000 square-foot home, that will be included in the deal, has "neutral colors, Berber carpet, and upgraded tile".

Traboscia has traveled the world, but Europe, and its men, are her favorite. "The men there are very captivating, they're very vibrant," she says.

Does she like Europeans or just the better value of the Euro?? That is my question.

Anyway, if you want to see some photos of the woman that is included in the purchase of the house (or is it the other way around??), click on the link above. And... if you are interested... all you eligible men out there... there is a link to the Craigslist ad.


You know that old expression...

I'm talking the one that goes... "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out". Well it was kind of like that at my entertainment venue of choice I attended last night. No... there were no fights and in fact everyone was very nice and respectful.

But I went to a RAID meeting last night and all that was talked about was how to grow this community. Yes I'm oversimplifying a bit, but that is what I took out of the meeting when I left. For basically an hour and a half... how to attract beneficial growth was an underlying theme... at a RAID meeting.

The main advertised content for discussion last night was in fact those 'impact fees' that have been a hot point of conversation amongst many in the Kingman area. The impact fees were discussed at length and I think many in attendance that spoke up made good points.

Invited to the RAID town hall meeting last night were; Mayor John Salem, Council Members Robin Gordon and Keith Walker, and City Manager Jack Kramer. I won't speak for anyone else, but I was impressed with each city representative last night as various points were brought up by the audience and how those points were addressed.

One thing for certain came clear, for me, out of the discussions last night... Arizona has some stupid laws on the books with crazy requirements put on Arizona cities. There were a few nice ideas put out last evening, but those ideas were met with certain state statutes that basically eliminated the good idea.

I thank the hosts for last nights event for making me feel welcome. It is my hope to attend more of these kinds of community meetings in the future (no matter who is hosting). I did not speak up on any of the issues last night, but I do want to thank the Mayor for asking me if I wanted to before the meeting was over. It was my intension to listen to all issues last night and I feel that I benefited from doing just that.

One of the points the city representatives made last night was they wanted and needed to see how the 'impact fees' have curtailed specific growth related projects. I think their request for proof will be granted. I have heard through the grapevine of some smaller buildings not being built because of the additional fees that are tagged on to other typical costs such as permitting and required improvements.

So if anyone does know of projects put on hold or scrapped all together because of the high cost of commercial impact fees, please contact our City Council members and tell them what you know.

When this discussion was taking place, the only thing I would of added was all the proof they'd need would be staring us in the face once some stability returns to the economy and the market. You see, both neighboring communities such as Bullhead City and Lake Havasu city are a ways away from Kingman. Kind of like in the far corner. Those communities are 'over there', if you get my drift. But when things smooth out again (some day) I think it is very clear that we'll see noticeable growth in both residential and commercial building outside the current city limits.

We know that the master planned community that is going to be developed in the Golden Valley area is pretty close to getting all the necessary authority it needs from various government agencies to begin their project. That project is not 'over there'... more like right around the corner. For now, Kingman has the advantage simply because of the population base -- but how much will that matter is demand springs up its pretty face once again and all the builders (small or large) pull permits at the county for new projects... instead of the city??

I am already aware of many people moving out of the Kingman area because of the lack of opportunity brought on by the bad economy (much of it due to national issues, but they directly affect us in our humble area). A competing community could swipe other folks that live in Kingman and depending on the success of the developing community... sales tax revenue could easily follow in greater numbers. Not a good thing for city services at all.

Luckily... to some degree... the city is not threatened by ongoing development in the county area close to Kingman (again... a bad economy is right here, right now). Kingman has time to right itself and to ensure that it is competitive once things begin to turn around. It is time for Kingman to be aggressive in setting the stage for another round of good solid growth... whenever that happens.

Once again, last nights event was a success in my eyes. It is quite clear now that the community is ready to work together for progress that offers benefits to all. Thanks again to RAID for hosting a fine town hall event.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Interesting stuff from the Mayor's blog...

What?? You didn't know that the Mayor of Kingman, the honorable John Salem, has a blog?? Well you can find a link to it right here. The Kingman Daily Miner was gracious enough to offer Mr. Salem some room on their blog page and I think that it is great to see our mayor keeping us in touch with what is happening.

I found an interesting passage on his most recent post and wanted to share.

Infrastructure: Members of staff and I have been habitual in attending the ADOT State Transportation Board Meetings. Staff has made several addresses to the board on behalf of Kingman. It looks like we have been added to the five-year plan for some capital projects in Kingman. Statements made by board members at the Nogales meeting last Friday reiterate the consensus of the board that private money in addition to city and state funding for infastructure shoots projects to the top of the list as far as priority. This means that highway capital projects may become a reality in the near future rather than just a smoky dream.

Emphasis mine above.

Like I said, interesting.

What to do on a Thursday evening in Kingman??

Tonight I find my schedule lacking. The first half of the softball season is over (only took one throw that skipped off the field in front of me in the face so far this year) and I thought that I'd hit the town tonight.

My first thought was to check out a new movie at the cinema... but gas is $4 bucks a gallon and the closest first run movie theater is in Nevada which would cost me about a quarter tank and an additional hours worth of drive time... so that is out the window.

Then I thought maybe I'll do some shopping for some good name brand clothing, but again that would mean a trip out of town (probably to Havasu) to the NEW mall... gas at $4 bucks a gallon, yadda yadda yadda. So that is out.

So what to do... what to do??

Hey, I got it. I read that there is a town hall meeting slated for this evening and it is being hosted by those rascally community defenders against slaughterhouses and tattoo parlors. Sounds like the kind of entertainment that money can't buy to me.

The subject matter this evening apparently will be those 'impact fees' that have become a very popular point of contention since they were implemented a couple of years ago.

Hot damn!! A RAID meeting and 'impact fees'. I know the out of town readers are jealous and no doubt depressed that they'll miss the fun and games.

If you are in town, and out of entertainment options youreslf, why not come by the old Elk's building that is located downtown on the corner of Fouth and Oak streets?? Should beat an errant throw bouncing off your face (I'll let you know for sure tomorrow).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today's letter to the editor goes into the Hall of ... something

As you might be able to tell, I like to catch up on things on the Kingman Daily Miner's letter to the editor section every few days. Now that the Miner has upgraded their website, the discussions found at the bottom of articles, columns, and letters provide a source of entertainment for me. It is certainly great to see more voices joining the discussion and even more letters being published in the paper.

Today's letter though takes the cake. Actually after reading today's letter (I'll get to it in a moment) I had to check to see if I was still sleeping, or fell in a worm hole into another dimension, or if I ended up in a 'funny farm' wearing a straight-jacket. I really needed Cher's character in the movie 'Moonstruck' to slap me across the face and yell at me to "snap out of it!!" when I tried to make sense of the letter to the editor I had just read.

Look, it is no secret that I have had disagreements with certain columns, articles, and letters over the last few years. I've even written letters to the editor in response to some of the things I have disagreed with. In fact participating in doing so helped lead me to the needed inspiration to run for city office (but I have learned my lesson for now... and thusly do not write letters to the editor any longer... for now at least).

Lately there has been a letter or two that has taken a jab at one particular journalist at the Miner. Of course the first salvo was followed by a letter and some comments defending the young man, which I have no problem with. Everything on the opinion page is, after all, an opinion... and I think we are all entitled to our opinions.

It would be interesting to see who comes out of the woodwork to take issue with today's letter.

Check it out at this link.

Of course I feel compelled to add my two cents so here goes...

Nicholas Wilbur's May 9 column, a mindless article consuming 84 square inches of space, might have aroused a bit of curiosity had it been left blank, but surely it would not have been crude or offensive.

Wilbur's mindless attack left a stigma on the editor's judgment in evaluating the pros and cons of Miner writers' submitted columns. Apparently, he experienced nothing other than pride. Wilbur's column defamed and denounced RAID.

This is just the beginning, AND the reason why I thought I may have fallen of a turnip truck this morning. My reading comprehension skills are lacking big time these days if indeed the young staff writer defamed and denounced RAID.

Here is the column the letter writer refers to.

What am I missing?? To me that particular column was aimed at the KDMiner's readers that commented below articles found on their website. To me the column was dripping with sarcasm for those comments left on the KDM site.

I have to believe that my reading comprehension skills are still in tact for only one reason... the former president... founding member... the treasurer... or whatever title the man holds with that group these days never fired back at the very same publication that 'made' their 'watchdog' group what it is today. RAID was silent, at least in the paper, after the column appeared.

More from today's episode...

Otherwise, Editor Mark Borgard would have felt compunction when considering and allowing Wilbur to submit another column on May 21, titled, in part, "RAID bashing," which I'm sure he wrote with glee and exuberance. Of course, the Realtors managed to have the beneficiaries of commercial enterprise attend the meeting. Baron Yankowitz managed to vociferously attack RAID, which I am convinced ticked Wilbur sillier than normal.

First off the words written by the young staff writer on May 21 did not come from the opinion page, they came from a news article (linked here). In the very same article, at least one member of RAID was quoted on various issues including responding to allegations of his wife saying things that may or may not be true (I'm Switzerland on that issue).

I find the extreme sensitivity of the author of this letter to be hilarious... 'vociferously attack'?? It is funny because a citizen (Mr. Yankowitz) took it upon himself to address the City Council at one particular evening to let his voice be heard, to take issue with a group of people that have never been elected to serve the community, to speak his own mind, someone that is NOT a Realtor or even a developer, and it is construed as a vociferous attack!! I expect this kind of thing when I'm watching episodes of 'The Office', but maybe some Hollywood types should send some script writers out to our neck of the woods as there is plenty of comic relief to be found.

Wacky Wilbur did not realize, in essence, that he was siding with the average homeowner when he included a picture of the Realty Experts marquee which read "Mommy who elected RAID to speak for us?" which preceded "Caution! RAID kills more than insects," and "Recall RAID."

Cue the rock 'n' roll music for either Golden Earring's or Rush's rendition of their own version of the song 'Twilight Zone' for the above... hell... cue Rod Serling back from the grave!! Since when is siding with the 'average home owner' a bad thing?? Didn't our newly elected mayor win on a ticket promising to represent the 'regular' people of this great community??

A photo that appeared along side a news article equals a young staff writer siding with average home owners now?? If this is true... then I hit my head at least three times this morning falling off that turnip truck. Wow... where's the Tylenol??

In conclusion, may I slip back to the "RAID kills more that insects?" Raid would not have to kill more than insects if man's integrity could be sized according to his value. I could rapidly stop infection from developers and "no gooders" with a can. Plaudits for Laura Cox for her courage in standing firm on solid beliefs, as she stood alone amongst the "growth surge" loonies.

Bill Bronn


Shocking that in the end it came down to name-calling.

I've seen other writings at times from this author. Good stuff for sure... if you like paranoia and conspiracy writing. You'll find that in his writings that Kingman is just about out of water these days, that CEO's are very bad people, and that growth is really bad.

I was at a City Council meeting some time ago and I learned one other thing from Mr. Bronn's writing... he can't drive at night. You see he wrote the Council some letter about the plight of our water shortage and regretted that he couldn't come down to the city complex to speak in front of the Council because he can't drive a vehicle at night. I'm paraphrasing there but basically that is what the correspondance included... that and there will be no more water some day (even though the planet is 3/4 covered in that 'wacky' molecule). I suppose that Mr. Bronn will be proven right about the water some day... of course the star at the center of our solar system will someday go 'loonie', expand and generate enough heat to evaporate that particular molecule out to the far reaches of space (I watch the History Channel you know). However, I don't think Mr. Bronn or that even I or the young staff writer at the Miner will be able to witness the event as it is not slated to take place for another billion or so years.

I wait eagerly for the next letter from Mr. Bronn... I'm expecting no less than a command performance. I just hope I'm not any turnip trucks when it appears.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

** A MOCO RE News Alert **

MOCO RE News is reporting that conditions outside in the Kingman area are currently sunny and fairly breezy. It is being reported that conditions such as these are alarmingly typical nearly 300 days out of the year.

Experts indicate that weather conditions such as these are ideal for generating solar and wind power for electricity needs in homes and other enclosed buildings.

Simple word searches, including the words: windmill, tower, wind, were used to try and locate zoning ordinances and restrictions from this document linked here. MOCO RE News could not determine if personal use energy producing windmills are allowed on residential private property, but understands that there is a $1,000 application fee paid to the City of Kingman by the applicant if a private property owner requests a variance to install such a device on the property.

According to at least one citizen, city leaders have said that wind generators are a 'blight' to neighborhoods.

On a related note, MOCO RE News is reporting that the one known power generating personal use windmill located near the intersection of Riata Valley and Western within the current city limits is not a 'blight' to the neighborhood and the tower the wind turbine rests on is still in tact.

Once again repeating our top story... weather conditions in the greater Kingman are considered sunny and fairly breezy.

This has been a MOCO RE News alert. Now back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why some local markets are still okay...

Here is a little article from MarketWatch on housing markets that haven't been as affected by the slowing economy as our local area seems to have been. I'm going to copy some bits of the article below, but read the whole thing right here.

Challenging real estate markets can be found across the U.S. as home prices decline, sales fall and foreclosures rise. But in some places the biggest challenge has been convincing would-be buyers and sellers that local conditions don't resemble the national trends.

It's a challenge that Randy Jeffers, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, faces all the time.

While the number of sales has fallen somewhat, he still regards his market of Amarillo, Texas, as a seller's market right now. The median price of an existing single-family home in Amarillo was up an annualized 11% in the fourth quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"Often they're surprised about what is going on locally or statewide," he said of his clients. As the country's collective housing ills land bold headlines, locals incorrectly extrapolate the information to their own markets, Jeffers added.

Just a couple of comparisons of Kingman to Amarillo for a second. First the median age is over six years younger in Amarillo. The median household income is actually higher in Kingman by a few thousand dollars. Lastly, the biggie, the median house/condo value in Amarillo is $91,600 while the figure for Kingman is $144,600. All of this data comes from and you are free to double check.

I know there are higher property taxes in Texas, much higher in fact, and that leads to property values holding lower and usually more stable as compared to what we see in Arizona. But otherwise, it is entirely possible that right now people are moving to Amarillo because of favorable situations.

The housing problems largely aren't national but regional in nature, said Susan Wachter, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

"The interesting thing is that there are parts of the country where housing prices are doing fine, thank you," she said. In fact, only five states are in what she would consider a housing recession: California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Michigan.

Not good.

Utah -- where home prices rose 9.27% in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with the fourth quarter of 2006 -- was the state with the highest appreciation rate, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Utah was followed by Wyoming, where prices rose 8.27% over the year, North Dakota, where prices rose 7.87%, and Montana, where prices rose 6.90%.

Still, in Billings, Mont., buyers often say they're waiting for prices to come down, said Dan Wagner, president of the Montana State Association of Realtors. But because they never soared during the boom years, prices likely aren't in need of a correction, he said.

I bet those buyers in Montana will change their tune once interest rates begin to climb.

And now... jobs...

The strong employment picture in Seattle caused home prices there to rise after other major cities reached their peaks. Appreciation there in the fourth quarter was just over 1%, according to NAR, but it is believed that the city's employment landscape is keeping Seattle housing from losing value.

No doubt that fuel prices will further pinch us locally from perhaps some newer opportunities for job growth, but even in the face of those higher prices we must do what we can to attract jobs to the area or else ALL property owners are going to suffer.

More on jobs...

Home-prices in major cities fell 10.7% in January compared with January 2007, according to the Case-Shiller home price index. The index tracks 20 cities, and 19 of them saw year-over-year declines. But one market experienced modest home-price gains over the year: Charlotte, N.C., another market that never saw a huge run-up in prices during the boom.

An influx of banking and research jobs in the Carolinas -- especially in Charlotte and the Research Triangle -- has been important to its stability, said Marty Frame, general manager of About 15,000 jobs were created in the Charlotte area last year, said Dot Munson, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. Large employers in the area include US Airways, Bank of America and Wachovia.

I'm not including the above because I weirdly think that Kingman is the next Charlotte or anything, but I've been reading about that market for a couple of years now. The availability of jobs is what is attracting people to the area. We have some opportunities here in Kingman for industrial as well as commercial jobs. Our community should focus on the things that will help bring the opportunities to our area.

The last point of the article is the coming trend of moving closer to town. I'm pretty sure they mean the big cities like LA, SF, NY, CHI, and many others. It is time for all of us to think of more creative ways to bring growth and opportunity to the area. We simply can't take things like the bypass bridge for granted. We have to give people a reason to come here... the nice weather we enjoy simply won't be enough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still Talking 'Target'

The article that appeared in the Miner last week is still causing some bits of conversation.

There seems to be two camps in the conversation. Those in Kingman that desire to shop at a fine retail store like Target... and those that are using the article to end the discussion because Target chose a different location than in Kingman.

I'm not going to get all that 'linky' in this post. The readers that are most interested in the discussions know where to look to find the various takes (hint, letters to the editor that appear in the Miner and the posts below). I even see a MOCO commenter got in the act and offered a letter in the Miner... even responded to a responder of his letter (how's your trip going Al??).

Speaking of Al (Koffman), he informed us here at MOCO that there was an article that spoke about the effort that was made to bring Target to the Bullhead City area. Now, while I haven't found the article as of yet, I don't think Al pulled what he said out of thin air. Apparently a group approached Target and told them that even though Bullhead City didn't have the needed 100,000 in population, Bullhead City was THE place to open up for business in Mohave County.

Al responded to a post by informing the others that the group used the populations of Needles (California), Laughlin (Nevada), and Arizona municipalities including Mohave Valley and Bullhead City in swaying Target to come to Mohave County.

So that got me thinking... just what is the estimated population of all of those communities??

I used figures and here is what I came up with.

I started in Bullhead City. Notice the estimated population numbers for 2006... the number is 19.1% higher in population than the more official numbers taken from the year 2000. did not give these estimated figures for ALL of the other communities such as Mohave Valley or Laughlin. So I've decided to add 20% to those figures in the rundown below.

Bullhead City, Arizona = 40,225
Mohave Valley, Arizona = 16,433*
Laughlin, Nevada = 8,491*
Needles, California = 5,330

Total estimated population count = 70,479

*denotes a figure derived by adding 20% to the reported population figure from 2000 according to

Again, these numbers are estimated and I'm only using the resources from to arrive at the figures above.

Now, let us look at the Kingman area that includes Kingman, New Kingman (Butler), and Golden Valley using the same resource and percentage increases as seen in the Bullhead City numbers. I'm going to use a 20% increase even though shows that the population in Kingman increased at a rate of just under 40% from the year 2000 to 2006. I realize this isn't the most scientific way to do this but I'm trying to give Kingman every disadvantage that I can... with one exception.

I was looking for traffic counts on Interstate 40 and came across an ADOT website (Arizona Department of Transportation) and found a reported number of 22,000 vehicles a day traveled through Kingman along this major Interstate... in 1998. Yet an estimated 40% of those vehicles were 18 wheeler's, truck drivers, and the like. So I removed the amount reported for truck traffic. Keep in mind that this is daily traffic.

Taken from ADOT's website...

In 1998, Interstate 40 east of Kingman carried an average daily volume of 22,000 vehicles per day, of which 40% is truck traffic.

Let us just look at the numbers, later you will be free to call 'bullshit' if you must.

Kingman = 27,271
New Kingman/Butler = 17,772*
Golden Valley = 5,418*

Total estimated population count = 50,461

Interstate 40 Traffic = 13,200**

*denotes a figure derived by adding 20% to the reported population figure from 2000 according to

**denotes a figure derived by subtracting 40% from ADOT's daily traffic estimation of truck traffic

So there are the numbers. I added the traffic count simply because it is more than possible that most of the traffic on Interstate 40 is NOT local traffic, certainly much less of a percentage than the traffic counts that pass by the property where Target is located in Bullhead City. In a given year according to ADOT's 1998 figures, more than 4.8 million vehicles that aren't tractor-trailers pass through Kingman using the Interstate.

The population counts between the Bullhead City area and the Kingman area are different by about 20,000. Not really all that much, but certainly Bullhead City has the population advantage.

To make up the population difference, Target or other retailers (or other forms of commerce) would only have to attract 0.416% of the traffic that runs through Kingman along I40 a year.

Now I'm under no impression that even a slight minority of drivers using the Interstate will simply be drawn to a place like Target just because it is in Kingman with freeway frontage... but there is a ton of potential with an asset like I40. It is a huge advantage over our neighboring communities in Mohave County. Given the right access, it is more than possible that Interstate traffic can be courted for shopping, eating, entertainment, and even fuel sales in greater numbers than what Kingman is experiencing today at this moment.

Another benefit for the locals would be that this traffic wouldn't have to necessarily utilize overcrowded streets such as Stockton Hill either. Imagine a commercial center with easy access on and off the Interstate a mere stones-throw away... local traffic would hardly be impacted... and it actually could be improved in some places.

Now, if you are a local Kingman resident, raise your hand if you've shopped at the new Target in Bullhead City. Oh I see many hands. Raise your hand if you shop at other places such as the outlet mall in Laughlin, or catch a movie, or even enjoy a nice meal. Wow, many hands are still up, in fact others have raised their hands to join. Now... how many head out to other destinations and find themselves shopping for goods they don't have a choice for in Kingman?? I'm seeing plenty of raised hands still. These raised hands represent lost dollars in terms of sales tax revenues. These hands also represent lost revenue to local business, and I'm talking 'ma and pa' types of shops as well as other locally owned franchise opportunities.

Just a couple of weekends ago, while visiting my sister's family in Las Vegas and watching my nephew play a little league game, I ventured off to Target and spent a little over $30 bucks on some items I cannot get in Kingman (I've looked). After that adventure it was off to catch a bite at one of my favorite sandwich shops known as Capriotti's (I ordered the Bobbie and it was better than good, it is a great sandwich). I only mention this because Capriotti's is a franchise and one of the franchise owners sponsored my nephew's little league team. He told me that the company is looking to add another 500 locations throughout the west. How much does anyone want to bet that I see a Cap's in Bullhead before we see one in Kingman?? This might just be one more reason to spend money in another town, unfortunately.

I love local food joints and always will. The Kingman Deli makes a great lunch and now that Senor Taco is open again I'm finding that my exercise regimen needs to be taken up a notch or two (as I have no more notches left on my belt). Local places like this will only see more business opportunity as the area grows on the back of a growing economy. They will welcome competition because they will have to continue to produce a good product and the exceptional service. As of right now, I doubt either location is noticeably benefiting directly from the traffic that passes through Kingman on the Interstate as neither is located right off the highway. Both examples will attract the local business opportunity and more business will come when there are more locals living in Kingman.

All in all, this isn't only about Target. Yeah, Target has some products in stock that I prefer over Wal-Mart and K-Mart... but I'm not living in misery because Target was courted by a group of people to open up shop in Bullhead City. Target probably made the best decision to locate in Bullhead at this time for themselves. Bullhead is doing just fine with the decision, I thought that I read that the city is expected to receive nearly $840,000 in sales tax revenues in the first year of Target's operation (with the other new retail venues in that commercial center it won't be tough to believe that BHC will benefit over $1 million dollars a year, funds that will hopefully be used to better services in that community).

Once again, the city made a horrible decision in 2005 when Target was actually very interested in locating in Kingman (for whatever reason that may have been). There was a development plan in place with letters of intent signed to develop property along the Interstate... I say again... along the Interstate. A development agreement that would have put a large sum of money into the city treasury, a public infrastructure improvement, and the means to millions of dollars of sales tax revenue.

This horrendous mistake was followed by vocal locals opposing a lesser proposed development agreement to do similar improvements. The window that was wide open to real opportunity only three years ago is getting slammed shut by other factors that aren't controlled by local issues. The national economy is now lagging, we have the credit crunch, high fuel prices, and higher prices on staple goods we all rely on. No fault of the vocal locals on this, but it has to be clear that better opportunities for Kingman are in the rear view mirror. Alarmingly similar as the rear view image as 0.416% of vehicles that pass through Kingman see every day on their way to spend money somewhere else.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Homework assignment for the new City Council

There has to be at least one issue out there that could possibly bring this community together, as fractured as it seems to be at times. It has been my plan to speak to the city in regards to issues surrounding renewable sources of energy... mainly solar and wind powered sources.

I mean... if you are in Kingman right now... look outside and notice the sunshine and the very breezy conditions. I've lived here for a number of years now and I find the current view very typical.

Honestly, I'm tired of the tree hugging zealots probably as much as the next person. The Al Gore's of the world are idiots and more importantly... hypocrites. I'm not sure I buy the notion that somehow this planet that has been around for 4.5 billion years (give or take a few million years) is suddenly threatened by our mere human existence because we drive some cars around. Sure, I've just oversimplified a tad, but as a South Park Conservative I get very cynical when it comes to media driven panics and manias about things. It is difficult to escape the onslaught... I even see articles about the so called effects of so called Global Warming on TV stations dedicated to sports... just give me highlights and box scores of the game dammit!!

However, even with this poor attitude of mine... some things simply make sense. It has been proven that electricity can be produced by sunshine and wind... and golly Martha... it sure is sunny and windy here in these here parts.

This also means that it gets fairly HOT in months like May, June, July, August, and September. Sure it can also be hot in other months as well... but in the months I listed, I often find myself turning on the air conditioner that was included in the purchase of my home. I hear that AC's are a burden on the power supply in the summer months and, honestly, that makes sense. That unit runs at all times of the day... well at least the moments I am in the home.

In my world... the only thing that suffers is my checkbook when I have to write larger amounts on the checks to the utility company in these often hot summer months. I'd rather write the smaller amounts I typically do in the more cooler months.

I suppose that I could just install one of these new personal use wind power generators in my yard... uhh... actually I can't in Kingman. You see, I have a decent sized lot upon which my home sits. Plenty enough room for me and my wife... however not large enough to allow me to utilize the one thing Kingman has plenty of... wind... to help with my electricity needs.

So this would be homework assignment number one for the new council elected to look out for the 'regular' folks here in these parts. Please look into the zoning restrictions and ordinances to prohibit a regular bloke like me to install one of these wind powered units on our property if we so choose to. While I have a lot nearly 8800 square feet in size... I'd be please if there was an allowance for half an acre minimum at first if this is too scary of a change, but only if there was some sort of promise to include smaller lot sizes as 30' to 40' foot windmills proved to be reasonably safe for surrounding neighbors and property.

That takes of the windy side of things.

I'm under the impression that there isn't anything stopping me from putting up some solar panels on my rooftop, in terms of city ordinances at least. I hope I'm right on this one, but I haven't checked. However there is one thing that is stopping me from doing so at this time... the expense... the up front expense (if you haven't noticed the real estate biz has been a touch slow for the last couple of years so I'm kinda broke when it comes to taking on large expenses at the moment). Solar panels worth a darn seem to cost in the $10,000 to $20,000 range (I read such things on this here Internet anyway).

Kinda pricey. While I wouldn't ask anyone to purchase such a system for my home -- especially the government, I have been made aware of a program that has been approved in Berkeley California (of all tree hugging places).

I'm not going to go into too much depth on what the folks up there are doing... instead I'm going to link four items below for you to read and react to. From what I have read it seems that the program that received authorization from the Berkeley City Council is about to begin. It may be a model that can be copied, or improved upon, or tweaked in some other fashion that could benefit the residents of Kingman. Heck... it could even lead to a revenue source for the city.

Here are the links...

Berkeley Offers Residents Unique Financing Option for Solar Power

Berkeley To Finance Solar Installations

City Council Unanimously Approves Solar Financing District

Berkeley Breakthrough on Financing Solar Energy

In the above reading material, I tried to be fair and included some of the criticisms that this plan is/was faced with... but the information above is a good start.

Anyway, it is the new Council's homework assignment.

If the readers here happen to favor 'green' energy a bit and see the favorable implications moving towards this kind of energy would have... please drop an email to the new Council letting them know... or better yet -- let them know how you feel at an upcoming Council meeting in person during the call to the public.

There will be a presentation made tonight in front of the city Planning and Zoning Commission on parts of this subject matter, FYI.

New RE blog in Mohave County...

For certain... we are not alone.

While there may be other real estate blogs in existence, uncharted by me at this time, in Mohave County... someone that I have come to respect over the years has started a blog in Bullhead City (our neighbor to the west WITH a Target store).

Visit the blog at this link.

I put the blog over on the sidebar blogroll last week but I wanted to bring attention to the site with this post. I find the blog very well written with plenty of solid information. The author may have a few differing views at times, but this is expected... let me explain.

The host of Bullhead City Blog is Evan Fuchs. Evan was the first president of the new(er) regional MLS that was put together over the last few years. That meant that we were both involved in organizing WARDEX right from the beginning. Along with the many others that were as involved, Evan did a great job for the new(er) organization and his dedication to the effort was inspiring.

With that said, on occasion Evan and myself were at odds with each other at times on issues relating to the new(er) organization. We both held our convictions close and on a few occasions had to raise our voices... but at the end of each meeting or conversation I felt a mutual respect between the both of us. It is acceptable to disagree, makes for a good Board of Directors meeting for certain.

Evan is the broker of Bullhead-Laughlin Realty. While I know other Realtors from his community, if or when I have clients that can be better served by someone from Bullhead... I would refer the client to his office. I just know the clients would be well served.

I've come to find out that Evan is actually a few years younger than me... not a bad thing in the least... but more impressive is the time he has already given to represent other Realtors throughout the state of Arizona by serving as local Association president (at least once), serving as the WARDEX president (as mentioned earlier), served as Region 1 Vice President of the Arizona Association of Realtors (a position that I hold currently... but not doing as fine a job that Evan did not doubt), and serving in other capacities on state level committees.

As a Realtor that is serving in similar capacities there is no question that Evan has earned the respect that I give him... which is why this post is longer than I first intended.

So please check out what Evan has to say from time to time. Leave some comments as well, he'd enjoy the discussion.

Evan... to you I say happy blogging!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Kingman missed the 'Target' (again)

If you missed the Sunday paper yesterday, you missed an article about Kingman missing out on a new retail store named Target. Actually missing the target on Target this time was in response to a rumor that had been making the rounds the last few months.

Here is the link to the article.

Lets take a peak at some parts of the article and add a few comments...

Anna Goeppinger is the Target spokesperson who confirmed the news. She said when looking to open new locations, Target searches for communities of 100,000 people or more.

There you have it folks... the RAIDers were right I guess.

But why did Bullhead City get a Target??

Though she was unable to confirm why Bullhead City had been selected as a Target location, Goeppinger noted population isn't the only thing the company considers.

"Another thing we look into is transportation - how accessible is this location to both guests and distributors?" Goeppinger said.

In other words, Bullhead City's placement between Lake Havasu and Kingman, as well its adjacent position to Laughlin may also have had played a part in its selection.


The Bullhead City location for Target is right on their long and winding Hwy. 95 that runs from the very north part of Bullhead City towards the very south parts of Mohave Valley. Also the Bullhead Parkway basically feeds right into the location. For Bullhead City and the immediate area this is probably the best location there is.

For us wanna-be Target shoppers in Kingman a better location would have been around the airport area and the business park in that area, and for the Lake Havasu Target shopper... they'd probably would have liked the location better on the south side of Mohave Valley. My guess is that Target didn't open up business with the other Mohave County communities first in mind though.

Go back to the year 2005 for a minute. A group of developers had approached the city of Kingman to inquire on the resident owned 168 parcel located in the vicinity of what is known as today as Kingman Crossing. The developers were in negotiations with the private land owners on the north side of Interstate 40 for about 110 acres... but wanted to also purchase land on the south side to the tune of another 110 acres. If successful... the developers looked to build an interchange for Interstate access bringing the potential for high amounts of traffic from all directions.

I'm sure you know the rest of the story as to how much money was going to be sought from tax payers in Kingman to pay for the construction of said interchange (if you need a reminder... the answer was zero dollars).

The developers knew, back then, the advantages of Interstate frontage and the value it would have for the project. Retail giants like Target were interested in opening up right here in merry old Kingman... as long as they could have access to the Interstate.

Before any new local readers get ready to blast the local community group that is currently protecting us all from runaway tattoo parlors and rogue slaughterhouses for the demise of this project back in 2005, relax... it wasn't them that put a halt to the proposed project. No, we can thank a former city manager more than anyone else on that matter.

That is right, the city turned down market price for some land that is not being used (to the tune of some millions of dollars) AND turned down a 'free' public infrastructure project.

Now this is just a guess... but an offer like that will come around again sometime in... probably never. Even though there is still a proposal out there for an interchange at the Kingman Crossing vicinity... the now land owners and developers (a different group than the ones that made the proposal in 2005) aren't willing to build a true connecting interchange for free AND the other proposed interchange to the east of Kingman Crossing will rely 100% on tax payer funds if it is to ever be built (yeah 70% of those funds for phase 1 would come from the state highway department ADOT... but those funds still come from tax payers like you and me).

I didn't start this post to lament about the past... even though I just did lament about the past.

Mostly it was about why Target may have settled on Bullhead City. The location is as good as it gets for that community and was likely the reason they went forward even though there isn't the 100,000 people in the community. But I wonder if the location in Bullhead is as accessible as a location along a major Interstate?? The Target spokesperson above implied that access was a big deal, big enough anyway to look past the population count of the community.

I suppose that the only way this question is answered is when there is some land in Kingman that comes with Interstate access. I'm sure Target has no plans to locate in Kingman, but it sure would be interesting to see what reaction (if any) from major retailers would be if it were ever announced that a deal has been struck to improve public infrastructure along the Interstate.

Meanwhile shopping and entertainment choices will likely be limited in Kingman until either some Interstate frontage is developed or... until 70,000 more people move within the city limits.

Now that the 'new' Target rumor has been officially debunked... maybe the editor at the Miner can get someone out on all those rumors about the out of control tattoo parlors and slaughterhouses set to invade our fragile village.

If you click on the article link... be sure to read the comments that have been posted so far. Good stuff.

May Sales Report (2008)

Yep, Yep... the market still favors the buyers by quite a margin. While we are busy looking for positive signs that the local market is coming back to a state of normalcy again, time keeps on ticking... and we keep on searching.

Before we move on to the funky charts try to keep one thing in mind. It is more difficult today to qualify and obtain a loan for a home purchase than it was in 2005. I use 2005 because that was the top of the market in terms of total units sold. So even if there were as many buyers on the market today as there were in 2005, many of the would be buyers would not qualify for a home loan to purchase a home. Yes, sellers... even the buyers are feeling some pain these days... you are not alone.

Also... back in 2005, there weren't nearly as many sellers with property for sale on the market as there is right now. There also wasn't nearly as many 'foreclosure' homes competing with the other more traditional sellers impacting the situation.

Lastly... back in 2005, many people thought that Kingman and the surrounding areas were considered a 'safe' place to invest in because of the growth potential. At some point it became apparent that Kingman was NOT all that it was supposedly cracked up to be... large employers shifted away from the area, projects to enhance growth opportunities were nixed by the city, and some in the media screeched with glee and supported a movement to 'slam the brakes' on continued development.

All of the above has helped play a hand in the following charts that you are about to see... after the disclaimer of course...

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:

The gap between new listings and actual sales is still too wide on a month to month basis even though new listings are trending lower over the last year. It is difficult to see, but SALES are actually trending lower over the last year as well. Have I mentioned before that our market has an inventory problem??

Average listings and sales averages chart:

New listing average prices have been courting the buyers by reducing the initial asking price year over year by just under 17% less this year than in May of 2007. However, successful sellers sold for 20% less than the previous year. Both trend lines are heading in the same direction, aggressive sellers will do well as compared to seller that are just feeling out the market.

The foreclosure activity that I wrote about last week should be considered in the class of aggressive sellers. For as long as this market continues, the more a seller can think aggressively the better the sellers chances are at attracting a buyer (or hopefully two or more) in short order.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

For the third month in a row... sellers have outpaced the previous years mark. Before we break out he 'bubbly' on this, keep in mind that we are beating 2007's numbers. And if we really want to compare the pace so far in 2008 to the worst complete year by my data gathering (2007), since the beginning of the year... 2008 has not performed as well for the first 5 months of the year and is 25 units sold behind in comparison.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

The yo-yo effect might play on your senses a bit, but the trend line so far this year for average sales prices continues to head down. The trend lines for 2006 and 2007 were basically flat by comparison. There is no confusing which way average prices are going this year... just like there was no confusing which way the trend line was pointing in 2005.

The average sales price for May of 08 was down 20.4% as compared to the May of 07.

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

The median price for May 2008 was off 24% as compared to the May 2007 figure.

The price range of units sold for May was between $44,000 through $560,000.

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in May had 3.08 bedrooms, 2.08 bathrooms, a 1.93 car garage, included 1,543 square feet of living space, and was built in 1995. The average hold sold for an average of $110 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 152 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 192 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $15,379 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $9,328 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in May was $24,708 (12.67% total reduction).

Bonus Charts:

The average price per square foot fell 12.7% as compared to the year before.

This chart is clearly telling all of us (including the real estate professionals that are representing the sellers) that we are still too slow in adapting to the buyers and/or still being too stubborn given the state of the local economy.

If you are thinking of selling a home in today's market you do have a couple of choices. First you have to ask yourself if you are really trying to sell AND can afford to sell your property without having to cough up a pile of money at the closing table. If the answer is yes, then your choice is to put the property on the market at a very competitive and aggressive price that coincides with actual sales data and price levels. Simply put, it is easy to beat the competition right now. The other choice is to join the hundreds of offerings on the current market, reduce the price every 60 days or so, and still let the buyer beat you up and concede your proceeds further.

If you are paying a monthly mortgage, you will likely save thousands of dollars by entering the market with an aggressive price. Sometimes this is a consideration that sellers overlook when putting their property on the market. With fewer buyers out there in the market today... you don't want to attract one buyer... you want to attract at least two. When the buyers are finished bidding against each other, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that your property didn't suffer price reductions OR price concessions when all is said and done.

Happy hunting!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The local foreclosure market...

It is no secret that there are many foreclosure (or bank owned, or lender owned, or REO -- it is all the same) properties on the local real estate market. And yes... these properties are having an impact on the local market. I've been tracking listings in the MLS that are listed with the foreclosure tag since the beginning of the year with the idea that once I had a decent set of data I would share my findings with the readers here at MOCO.

Before I get to the boring stats and figures I wanted to share parts of a recent blog post from Bloodhound Blog, written by Greg Swann. Click on that link and read the whole thing it is quite good. It is a different perspective than what you might normally see and I'm going to copy a few bits right here to add to the discussion...

If you’re looking for the bottom of the real estate market in Phoenix, chances are it’s right up the block. It’s that house with the jungle of overgrown weeds in front.

It used to be for sale. Then it was a short sale. By now it’s lender-owned. A year ago it might have been listed for $250,000. Now the price has been slashed to $120,000 — maybe less.

While Mr. Swan is writing about Phoenix, I'm sure many here in Kingman have noticed similar instances in our neighborhoods as well.

What is your home really worth right now? It’s worth as much as the lowest-price lender-owned comparable plus the cost of returning that home to turn-key condition plus a small convenience premium. In other words, if the lender-owned house sells for $120,000, and if it will take $10,000 to make it as nice as your home, then your home is worth $135,000 — $140,000 at most.

The reason I'm copying that passage is because it would take me about 10 paragraphs to state the same thing that Greg did in two sentences. I'm saving both me and you time and effort.

And finally...

And if you’re not willing to sell you home for that price? Get it off the market right now. It will not sell for more, but the surplus of over-priced inventory is a false signal to buyers that the market has not found its bottom.

If you must sell into this market, you’ll sell at the market price. If you can afford to wait, you will almost certainly do better after the market has turned.

If you are currently trying to sell your property on the market right now, I ask that you read the above to yourself a few times and let it sink in. Go ahead... I'll wait.

Okay?? Good, we'll proceed.

I'm about to share some facts from the research that I have done using the MLS... this means... of course... 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.

Now that's out of the way. I'm going to compare single family homes listed as 'foreclosed' against the regular data that I share in my listing and sales reports.

On June 1 of this year I posted that there were 596 SFR's listed for sale in the current market. Of those, 56 are listed as 'foreclosed' (or about 9.4% of the active listings). So practically one home in ten on the market is a bank owned property. I've never tracked this kind of data before so I have no historical data to compare this against. I can't say for certain if 10% of listings is more or less than 'normal'. It does, however, seem like a high ratio to me.

Now since January 1 of 2008, my geographical research area has shown me 195 total sales through the end of May (not an official number since I haven't finished the final May sales report as of yet). Of these 195 unit sales... 59 of them were tagged as 'foreclosed' (or about 30% of the units sold so far in 2008).

Banks... are NOT human. Banks and lending institutions that have had a borrower default on them become the owner of record of a property. Banks won't live in those properties, all banks want to do is get the non-performing asset (liability) off the books. Banks are WILLING to take losses, drastic losses in some cases, because there are just so many non performing properties.

Banks do not read this blog so they really can't revel in the fact that they are mopping the floor against humans in the race to sell property in the current market. Banks are an easy mark for the right buyer... and the banks simply do not take it personally. Bank owned properties are easier to sell (at the moment), easier to negotiate against for an even better 'deal', and are practically impossible to compete against. The numbers simply do not lie.

More comparisons...

Lets take a look at what I posted about the new listings in May...

The average newly listed home in May has 2.99 bedrooms, 2.04 baths, a 1.99 car garage, with 1,641 square feet of living space and was built in 1979. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $130.

Now let's compare that with the active 'foreclosed' listings on the market...

The average 'foreclosed' listing on the current market has 3.14 bedrooms, 2.07 baths, a 1.77 car garage, with 1622 square feet of living space and was built in 1994. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $96.

Non-humans are asking an average of $155,422 dollars to part with the property.

Humans are asking an average of $213,108 to part with their property.

For all things considered... the properties are comparable... the asking prices?? Not so much.

Humans are asking 27% more dollars than non-humans for a similar home. Fellow humans... I thought we were supposed to be smarter than non-humans, more creative, or at least more responsive. Apparently, we did not get the memo.

Now let's look at actual sales figures and I will use the sold data from Jan 1 through the end of April (since my May report is not done yet).

The average home sold from Jan. 2008 though the end of April 2008 had 3.1 bedrooms, 2.0 baths, a 2.0 car garage, with 1599 square feet of living space, and was built in 1994. The average price per square foot of living space was $112.

The average price for each unit sold was $180,110.

Keep in mind that the above figures INCLUDE the sold listings that were tagged as 'foreclosed'. The figures below are only sold listings tagged as 'foreclosed'.

The average home tagged as 'foreclosed' sold from Jan 1 2008 though the end of May of 2008 had 3.27 bedrooms, 2.19 baths, a 1.83 car garage, 1604 square feet of living space, and was built in 1991. The average price paid per square foot of living space was $93.

The average price for each unit sold was $149,401.

Again, we are not seeing that big of a difference between the actual homes that non-humans and humans sold since the first of the year. Yet... hooray for humans here because they are getting 17% MORE dollars for their property than non-humans.

Let's keep one thing in mind about non-human owned property. It typically is in a state to some degree of disrepair, or in other words these properties are not usually in peak marketing condition. Often these bank owned properties need a bit more than just 'a little TLC' as often stated in advertising. I used to market property for Homesteps (part of the FreddieMac deal) and the homes I listed always needed some work (and the bill for repairs sometimes reached into the thousands of dollars).

However, that was a different market and non-human banks were actually trying to get very top dollar in a market that was increasing in value by the minute (it seemed). Banks were willing to invest $3,000 to $5,000 in a property to bring up the listing to a better standard for marketing because they'd probably get double that amount in return once the property sold. While I do not list bank-owned property at this time, I'm willing to bet that very little is being done to 'improve' the property. In many cases a buyer is buying a home 'as is', and I fear what 'as is' looks like in this market.

One last set of comparison numbers to gander at.

Price reductions and total concessions... yes... this market favors the buyers so much that even non-human banks have been pinched in negotiations. Bank owned properties that sold in 2008 conceded an average of $26,627 dollars. Human owned properties had to reach just a little deeper to the tune of $27,355 dollars so in essence ALL sellers are together in the beat down they are getting at the hands of the buyers. The difference is though... the banks can always concede more without feeling the pain the humans sellers will. Losses to banks are merely 'written off' (sucks for bank CEO's and other levels of management I'm sure... but alas... CEO's are human and feel pain).

Yet here we are human sellers... fiercely competing against each other (9 out of 10 listings are human owned) while the non-human banks are capturing 3 out of 10 sales. By my estimations (and they are approximate at best), there is 11 months worth of human owned homes on the market right now in the Kingman area... while only about 5 months worth of non-human bank owned listings.

The question most asked of me over the last year or so has been "so when will the prices bottom out??" and I can't say that I've actually ever had a good answer. I'll give it a shot this time though... I say prices bottom out once non-human banks begin the process of competing with human sellers for MORE dollars than what they are willing to take today.

For now though, the non-humans have some advantages working in their favor (as evidenced by the rate of sales compared to the human sellers). When the banks begin competing for more dollars is not a guess I'm willing to make. Banks are listing basically the same home a human seller is for 27% less dollars, banks have less competition at the current market levels (based on price), and banks can reduce price further if need be to get the liability off the books.

So where are we?? If you are a seller... or thinking about selling in today's market... I ask that you read Mr. Swann's article again. I've offered up plenty of facts and figures about our own local market here today. Apply these facts and figures to the formula Greg spoke about in his post. See where that puts your property. Can you afford to sell at that price?? If the answer is NO, then you may want to rethink your decision to sell... for now at least.

If you liked this data on 'foreclosed' property, I'll probably run a recurring report in addition to sales and listings reports. Probably on a quarterly basis, especially since I don't have a ton of historical data saved up. In the meantime, if you want a report sooner than that email me a request and I'll get one out to you (time permitting) with the data I do have.

Oh noes!! RAID writes a letter...

Looking at the calendar and I realize that it has been some time since I last had to offer something up on my favorite community group known as RAID. There's been some back and forth discussion at the KDMiner's web-site on the subject of... "who died and made RAID King of Kingman". Even one of the reporters for said publication wrote a column (and a blog post) defending RAID's good name.

Well a newly released letter to editor appeared a couple of days ago... and I found it worth retorting to... just for old times sake. The letter to the editor was authored by former city council candidate Harley Pettit. In keeping with my own self imposed rules... the following retort is not a personal attack in any way shape or form. It is merely a disagreement... and couple that with my sense of sarcasm... I can see how others may infer that I am picking on a RAID member in a personal way, but I tell you now that the following is NOT personal... it is just business. (Besides, the times I spent with Mr. Pettit on the campaign trail I came to respect the person known as Harley Pettit... yet I just found myself in disagreement at times)

Here goes...

Letter: Get your facts straight on RAID

Sunday, June 01, 2008

You just don't seem to get it, do you? RAID has nothing to do with detouring development. RAID deals with zoning issues; what fits, what doesn't.

Actually I do think I get it and have got it all along... I just can't seem to remember who or what gave RAID the authority to decide what fits and what doesn't. I won't speak for the rest of the community, but RAID's anti-tattoo parlor stance is well understood. In fact, it is comical at this point.

In the case of Short/Bowers Investments, their request doesn't fit. Even though the General Plan designates the area as industrial, the fact is that the Airway Avenue underpass was not in place when the plan was voted on.

I think it was Johnny Cochrane that first used the 'it doesn't fit' routine and no doubt that it worked out well for his client... but who are you kidding here??

My question is what does a newer underpass (built after the initial city General Plan was voted on) have to do with the General Plan?? I wonder if this RAID member thinks that perhaps the General Plan needs to be changed?? If so... wouldn't that be grand irony given the fact that RAID used the "people voted on the General Plan" as a reason to defeat a different land use designation on community owned property.

My... how those goalposts move around.

Now there is more access and several housing developments in that area. It simply doesn't fit to change the existing zoning from residential to anything else.

So let it be written... so let it be done. RAID hath spoken.

Also, remember that there is two miles of commercial frontage on Bank Street about a mile away. As far as industrial needs, the airport is the industrial corridor. Who wants a truck repair shop in their neighborhood? There are also inherent dangers with industries such as hazardous spills, fires with toxic smoke, etc.

Wow, Mr. Pettit... you are right. What were we thinking when we passed the General Plan?? Put the hazardous spilling industries on Bank Street. There are no homes around there or anything.

As far as shopping centers, RAID has never spoke against them. The fact is these companies look at demographics such as population and income, for example, and Kingman just comes up short. The city is constantly seeking companies to do business here, but it's hard to ask them to invest millions for returns in the thousands.

Again, another funny. Mr. Pettit spoke out against more shopping centers a little over a year ago. He said that Kingman did not need 75 more Wal-Marts or something like that. He also stated that retail giants like Target wouldn't be coming to places like Mohave County.

Anyway, Mr. Kielsmeier, you may need RAID's help when someone wants to put a slaughterhouse in your neighborhood next door to your house.

I'd be the last to argue with a recent column by a reporter at the Miner, but if I could ask him one question it might be if the above is not-not a scare tactic (or something along those lines).

I bet Mr. Kielsmeier will have no problem asking for RAID's help... only after he kisses the ring first of course... if someone wants to put in a slaughterhouse right in the neighborhood. Wake us up when that happens. I mean come on... we've seen how great RAID has been in thwarting all the many hundreds (if not thousands) of tattoo parlors that were scheduled to pop up all around Kingman, no doubt that RAID can be useful when 'slaughterhouses attack' this great community.

At the May 5 City Council meeting, it was Tom Spear who challenged Ordinance No. 1615 for a restaurant on Bank Street.

Now who's holding up development?

Harley Pettit

That is funny (again). Once upon a time, former councilman Tom Spear voted to change the land use designation on the General Plan. A move that could have helped led to a sale of Kingman resident owned property (and an influx of capital to the city treasury), which would have no doubt led to development, and then to a very real possibility of a new area for commerce to take place (somewhere else than Stockton Hill Road for instance).

RAID challenged councilman Spear's (and the majority of the rest of the council's) decision via referendum. RAID used propaganda such as using the resident owned property for a drainage ditch, to use the property as Kingman's version of Central Park, and needed senior citizen centers. All of course is baloney and forgotten now.

Now Mr. Spear's challenge to the property owner on Bank Street was likely politically motivated (although I can't say for certain). I'm only guessing, but with less than one month to go in his term of service to Kingman, Mr. Spear gummed up the works against a property owner that called Mr. Spear and the rest of the council a bunch of monkey's (among other disagreements over the past few years).

Last night, the newly elected council voted to approve the zoning change request... just one month after Mr. Spear challenged the zoning request. Wow... one month... for one restaurant. Meanwhile... thanks in part to RAID... the community waits for a solution to Stockton Hill traffic, the creation of commercial property fronting the Interstate, alternative access routes through the city (via the underutilized Interstate that splits this city), and a woeful economy.

But we will all rest easy tonight because we all know that RAID is protecting us from tattoo parlors and slaughterhouses. Carry on I say, carry on!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pravada Approved at Mohave County

The master planned development known as 'Pravada' has just received approvals for a Minor Amendment to the Mohave County General Plan, a Minor Amendment to the Golden Valley South Area Plan, and for a Specific Zoning Plan that includes a Development Agreement, Development Standards and Land Division Regulations, and a Rezone... the approvals were made today by the Mohave County Supervisors.

What does that all mean?? Well, it does appear that Mohave County has blessed the new proposed master planned community. I don't know for sure, but there are some other hoops still waiting to be jumped through at the Arizona Corporation Commission before just everything is peachy... but from what I hear... it all looks very promising.

This project has been in the works now for over three years just to get to this point. The developer had to endure very public attacks along the way, but finally there appears to be a very large investment coming in our communities direction.

Today's news is good news... but I still have my fingers crossed and they will likely stay that way until I see some physical activity out at the property known as Pravada.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

May Listings Report (2008)

Okay... June 1 falls on a Sunday this month. That means I'm up early to on a normal day off, a morning that I would be making my Italian red sauce (marinara... only better). But I know that many readers want the sales and listing report information so here I am reporting numbers, later I'll make the sauce.

Before any of that happens... 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.


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 596 (downward path from 633 on May 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in May was 3.8. Compared to last years total listings available on the market are down 20.6%.

There were 118 new listings taken in May (pretty much the same as compared to 125 in April). The average asking price for the new listings is $213,108 (up from last months $199,847). The median asking price is $189,000 (sharply up from $164,250 previously). Newly listed units are down 22.4% from last year and the average initial offering price dropped 16.9% as compared to May of 2007.

The average newly listed home in May has 2.99 bedrooms, 2.04 baths, a 1.99 car garage, with 1,641 square feet of living space and was built in 1979. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $130. Lastly, 24 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker. 7 units listed last month are already under contract and 3 already closed.

The original price of new listings last month was from $75,000 through $599,900.

Units under contract:

As of today there are 87 total units under contract (down a good amount compared to the number of 117 last month).

53 units entered into contracts in the month of May (about the same as the 56 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $176,582 (down from $188,689 last month) and the median asking price for May was $149,900 (down from the previous months $169,900 figure). Units entering contract are down from May of 2007 by 8.6% and the average marketing price is down 19%.

The average home that went under contract in May has 3.08 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, a 1.98 car garage, with 1,626 square feet of living space, and was built in 1995. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract this month is $108. It was also priced $15,496 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $15,439 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 175 days (from 235 last month).

The advertised price of units that entered contract was from $69,900 through $429,900.


Well, some numbers are good... total listings on the market has come down from the peak of 758 back in October of last year, the market is down under 600 for the first time since I began to track this figure (June of 06). So inventory is down and that is good... but...

Sellers are still listing homes for far too much as compared to the the successful part of the market. That number is bad no matter how you cut it. All anyone has to do is compare the listing prices to the eventual sales prices to see the void. There are buyers out there and they are waiting for PRICE to appeal to them. Sellers are constantly conceding price just to get a contract, and conceding even more to close the sale.

Time to make some red sauce and meatballs so I'll see you next time.