Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So lets get this out of the way, shall we??
For me, Todd Tarson, 2008 was the year of living dangerously. New experiences led to new educational opportunity. In 2008 I ran for public office and remained in the real estate industry... danger-danger.
Before I cover the boring political stuff, lets move to the exciting real estate stuff. A look at the market over the past year.
In the first monthly sales report of the year, I reported that the average price per square foot of living space sold was $116 per. Earlier this month, the listings report showed the new sellers asking for an average price per square foot lower than the sales price per at the beginning of the year. While it wasn't the first time this year it happened (August sellers asked $109, and in September sellers asked $116), sellers simply took way too long to respond to the market.
Now that homes in the Kingman area are averaging $91 a square foot when sold, will sellers catch on quicker next year?? I'll keep an eye on it.
The resulting affects of this lack of understanding of the market, sellers were not able to sell their property even though there are more properties for sale now than at anytime in the boom years.
If buyers and sellers figure out each other in the New Year we will see the bottom of the market. For buyers... please check out the bank owned property to establish the low price you would pay for a home. From there you should expect to pay a higher premium for a nice marketable resale owned by a real person (not a bank).
For sellers... please talk to a real estate professional or two (or three) and ask them to mine the data of SOLD properties and separate the bank owned from the human owned. Take a good long hard look at comparable properties and price accordingly. The market has proved itself to be right each day, month, and year. You simply cannot beat the market. Waiting for just the right buyer to like your listing at your price (not the market price) is simply folly. It will cost you more money in the long run.
If you've read reports here at MOCO for any length of time, you know that I can pull data to customize it to your property. Give me a chance to give you a figure that your home will sell for... if you don't like that price... you don't have to hire me.
I'll have more on the real estate market in the coming days. The listings report for December will be out tomorrow and then the sales report later in the next couple of weeks. Also look for the annual report in January.
Care to make any guesses at the percentage point drop in average and median price in 2008 compared to 2007?? Leave your guess in the comments or email them to me. Winner gets a prize (to be determined, but it won't be expensive).
Alright, lets do some political stuff...
All in all, 2008 was not as politically charged as the year before. Yeah, even though there were a few elections of note, at least locally the rancor was limited.
2008, living dangerously, me... that would be my choice to run for city council. I would like to thank all the folks (just over 800 of you) that voted for me in the primary election, also would like to thank the other 8 candidates for a very respectful campaign, for one last time this year. It was the kind of experience and education that you simply can't purchase.
I realized that more activism is needed on an ongoing basis. And no, it doesn't have to be the over the top sort of activism. Simple stuff such as voter registration drives, meetings or town hall type of events on individual issues, mining relevant information from all sides of issues (you know the sort of thing that CIVIC was doing until the Miner and others attacked that group and its members unfairly).
2008 will also draw to close another year that nothing will be done with 168 acres of land that sits up next to the Interstate that splits town. No plans for a new park or drainage ditch like one political action committee used as possibilities when they worked their referendum in 2007. Yet on the other side of the freeway a new hospital is moving along quickly towards completion and many on the southern side of town won't be able to access that life saving property in times of emergency because there is no sensible access.
As luck would have it, in today's paper comes a wish list the city has submitted to the President Elect of the country. On this list is the proposed interchange... there is no such thing as a free lunch. No matter what folks, we will pay for infrastructure improvements... the key is doing it in a way that has the least impact on our pocketbooks. Relying on the Fed is not it.
Water as a subject was not covered with the panic we saw in earlier years, that is until a recent decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission gave the go ahead for a master planned development near Kingman in Mohave County. Now I'm getting emails that say I don't know anything about water and that I shouldn't be representing the people of Golden Valley that are concerned about their water. Well those Golden Valley folks are in luck as I have not been appointed or elected to any office that would equal representation of Golden Valley folks that are all panicky and think that one golf course will mean the death of life in an arid valley.
Before that recent decision... we saw water levels rise at Lake Mead and Lake Powell for the first time in years.
2008 also marked a year will a very interesting national election for president. I had a visitor in my office the day following when Barrack Obama won the Iowa primary. The young man that was my guest and I had a pretty nice conversation about the happening. I remember telling him that while I wouldn't have voted for Obama on that night (or for any election) that the results were, to me, very American of this country. Obama obviously went on to win the ultimate prize and while I may disagree with his politics, I sincerely hope he finds success in managing this great country (and funds the Kingman Crossing interchange... lol!!).
Obama has already done one 'solid' for the folks of Arizona. He's chosen our governor to head up some cabinet position. Cool. Time for the republicans in this state to show some leadership in terms of spending cuts and managing a budget. What a great chance, and hopefully it is not wasted.
Social networking has become a big deal... and did so a couple of years ago really. I am just starting to catch up and I have to admit that it is at times overwhelming. Every time I think I've found a platform that I like and have mastered to a degree that is usable... something new rolls out and all the cool kids move along.
I have come to like (and be an addict of) Facebook in recent months. Over on the sidebar there, you can click on my info and add me as a friend... I'll accept. Once you friend me I'll send you an invite to a group pertaining to Kingman and positive growth efforts.
And you know... it has started to feel like that. This year I attended a real estate conference and one presenter spoke on social networks, Yvonne talked about it in a post a couple of months back. There was also another conference I attended and basically what was said is that in the not too distant future, all consumers will rely on their own network when making decisions on products and services to use and purchase.
While I work on the commercial use of social networking, in the last year through Facebook and other networks I have been able to reconnect with people from my past, really good people. Next year is my 20 year reunion and I wasn't really that excited about attending... but then folks from those days long gone by started friending me and now I can't wait to attend.
Welcomed in 2008...
Delaney Olivia Linn... appeared in June for the first time. Delaney is the third 'granddaughter' and all are beautiful (prolly because they aren't actually blood related).
I was also blessed with a niece... Jordynn Mae Hernandez was born in March.
Missed in 2008
We lost Arlene Stevenson back in the spring. The family will never be the same, but we feel her spirit often and she is never far from our thoughts and favorable memories.
Just a handful of hours left in this year known as 2008. It may not have been the best year on record, but it is a year I won't ever forget. I have respect for 2008 (hey, the Phillies won the World Series so I can't hate in total), but yeah... I'm curious to see what happens in 2009. I'm feeling positive about many things. I'm 'hope'ful for 'change'.
I'll be tipping one back later this evening, I'll be cheering for you -- the readers and contributors of MOCO. Stick around, I have a hunch that 2009 will be good for at least a few laughs.
Happy New Year!!
From this link...
Chris Gray of Marvel Golf Club in Benton, KY, winner of Rain Bird's second annual intelligent Use of Water honor, developed a water-harvesting program that captures not only rain, but run-off from roads and the waste discharge from the 513 residences surrounding his course. Residential water is gathered from separate septic tanks, then treated through aeration and mixed with surface drainage water in a holding pond – enough so that the 175-acre golf course is entirely self-sufficient, as reported by Golf Week.
Important to get some information out about this kind of thing before the water worry folks get all uppity (probably too late though).
Monday, December 29, 2008
Here is an article from the KDMiner stating the local average is $1.87.
I understand economics just barely enough to know that at times like these, profits are being taken. I'm cool with that... expected holiday traffic can come with a bump of price at the pump.
But then I see this... gas in Phoenix is down to $1.50 a gallon. Both articles appear on the same day. I filled up in Las Vegas on Christmas for $1.70 a gallon.
Since I relocated to Kingman in 2000, gas prices were traditionally lower in Kingman than in any other area in the near region. Just not the case these days.
But hey... don't forget to shop local!!
Included in that price yesterday was blowing snow and sub freezing temps!!
One share for today. IndyMac is about to be bought up. That is correct, somebody is going to buy that bum of a bank.
Paulson & Company, led by John Paulson, has been one of the biggest winners in the subprime mortgage crisis, having reaped billions of dollars by betting against risky home loans. Paulson recently indicated to investors in his hedge funds that he was prepared to start buying up low-price debt like prime mortgages and investing in financial institutions.
Buying low, and probably selling high some day. The same as it ever was.
Soon, sometime, I bet we start seeing investors buying up low-priced property in the Kingman/Mohave County area. It is only one of our advantages in our region. Lots of money is sitting on the sideline... and we obviously have more to go to attract that money here. Supporting more infrastructure projects would likely make it happen sooner.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Here is the bit for Arizona, should not be shocking...
Arizona -- In Recession
Flagstaff, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Prescott, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Tucson, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Yuma, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area -- In Recession
Looks like there is a lot of work needed to be done across the state... and at least a decent opportunity to get our own house in order to begin the process of recovery in the new year. The question is will we??
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This article by Roger Kimball really gives it to big media (NY Times) and congressional democrats (mainly Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) and rightly so. It is a decent sized read so if you don't have time now, come back in a day or two and read all of it.
I'm not normally into dragging national issues to this blog, and I do not proclaim to be any sort of expert on big time political issues. It basically comes down to this... I've been reading about the 'blame' game for a long time. Real estate bubble bloggers, and more recently the big media types, have been blaming the real estate industry and/or registered republicans for all this mess for longer than this mess has been apparent and in our face nationally.
I consider myself to have an open mind so I have read many media reports, blogs, and anything else that I put in front of my eyes on all sides of the issue. I'll admit that I never heard of the Community Reinvestment Act in detail before this year, but for all the reports and words I have read Mr. Kimball's article sums it up the way that I have come to see the entire issue.
Please understand, I'm not playing to my own sensitivities as a real estate professional or even as a registered republican. While I love the industry I'm in, I can leave anytime I want... and I also do not consider myself a 'good' republican (I voted for some D's last month). Anyone is free to bash Realtors and/or republicans all darn day if they'd like, it bothers me not.
I'm not writing this to put the blame on anyone, I've only been searching for the possible causes and eventual affects. The thing that kept coming back to me was this quote I read back in September taken from comments from some publication (I often copy and save things just to have around... I don't remember where I got this though).
All pressure to reduce vetting of loan qualification has the cumulative effect of weakening the probability for loan repayment.
It is all right there. It was only a matter of time, and that time has passed.
Again, to me, the story of the year is how big media propagated the myth that these economic issues we face today were solely the fault of some republicans. There's plenty of blame to go around and I frankly don't care... I'm more interested in who has the solutions that will work. I seriously doubt the media or the elected politicians can be counted on for those.
Monday, December 22, 2008
See foreclosure listings here
Also, if any of these listings included interest you and you choose to hire me as your representative on the transaction, I will sweeten the offer by giving you back 1% of the final sales price at the close of escrow. Some restrictions apply, contact me for more information.
Low prices, low interest rates, take a look at the link and see if there is a deal for you.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Both Dave and Ric Swats (from earlier post) seem to have been the only media outlets with coverage of this very important decision from this weekend. The Hawkins article has some different quotes that I'll copy and comment on below...
Commissioner Kristin Mayes cast the dissenting vote after failing to pass an amendment that would have stalled construction of the golf course until enough homes were occupied to generate effluent to water the course. She said it would be "immoral" for Rhodes to waste groundwater on a golf course in the parched desert.
"Anybody who drives through Golden Valley knows this is the area where we need aggressive conservation," Mayes said. "Unfortunately, what we did today is we blessed off on the use of 900 million gallons of groundwater in Mohave County for a golf course."
First I feel that Kristin Mayes has had a bug up her rear end about this project from the beginning. Back in the summer of 2006 I was invited to speak at an open meeting at the ACC and gave my thoughts on the benefits to Mohave County that a master planned development could bring to the area. In my opinion watching the meeting that day, Ms. Mayes and another commissioner seemed hardly interested in what any of the public that favored new development in our area had to say.
Makes me wonder if golf courses in say Maricopa County saw this kind of scrutiny... and there are plenty of places to chase the little white ball around down there.
Luckily there were other commissioners that spoke to some facts...
Chairman Mike Gleason and Commissioner Jeff Hatch-Miller said there is nothing wrong with using groundwater for the course. Both said Rhodes and his staff had proved a sufficient water supply and that he is legally entitled to use the resource to build an upscale development unrivaled in the area.
"Mohave County generally hasn't had that luxury, a large master-planned community with a golf course and other amenities that people really want," Hatch-Miller said. "This (Pravada) affords that opportunity."
I'm sure people will disagree, but it IS okay to use groundwater to provide luscious green grass to play golf on. Although I'm not for certain, there seems to be popular belief that the city of Kingman picks up the water bill tab for the local course in Kingman and the water is just regular groundwater (I reserve the right to be wrong on this). However, the use of effluent on golf courses is gaining popularity in this new eco-friendly world that we are being dragged into. At this point I'm indifferent on the issue.
But why are we even talking about effluent and golf courses here?? I thought this ACC ordeal was to decide if an entity was worthy enough to serve as a utility, in this case for water services, for a planned development where people will one day live. The commissioners above had said the property owner is legally entitled.
Be sure to read the rest of the article linked at the beginning, good comments about the developer placing importance on water conservation by limiting the amount of turf on residential properties and use of water conservation products in the homes that will be sold there.
The overall good news here is that the developer is in the best postition now to decide the fate of the development, now it is basically just the developer vs. the market. There may be some approvals needed at the county level, but this ACC decision has been in the works since 2005 believe.
Hopefully there will be more reports on the intentions of the developer in the days ahead.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Ric Swats has a timely article on the whole thing... please follow this link from MohaveBusiness.com.
The decision makes it viable for Rhodes to begin developing infrastructure necessary to move forward with the construction of homes.
Friday, December 19, 2008
This is the first such bold prediction post I've seen so far. It comes from Frontdoor.com.
The link to that site is here, and below I'll copy a shorter version from another site which just so happens to be the National REALTOR Association website.
* Sellers will continue to face falling home values in the new year because they’ll be competing with banks and builders who are slashing prices to sell off the still-huge inventory of foreclosures and new homes.
* The Obama administration will act on its plan to crack down on abusive lending practices.
* Mortgage holders in danger of losing their homes will receive more assistance from a variety of programs since the Senate's Joint Economic Committee has predicted two million foreclosures in 2009.
* Banks' restructuring should bring increasing calm, making loan modifications and short sales easier to obtain. Eventually this will lead to a decrease in the number of bank-owned properties on the market.
* Mortgage applications will continue to receive a comprehensive review, requiring borrowers to provide extensive income and debt documentation. Those with the best credit will get the best rates.
* The foreclosure crisis has created wiser consumers, with a deeper understanding of real estate, mortgages, and credit enabling better decision-making going forward.
* Green is good with increasing numbers of buyers opting for smaller homes that are within walking distance of school and work.
* Buyers and sellers will be more and more tech savvy, relying on tools like video, webcasts, and mobile search. Consumers and practitioners will benefit from being ahead of the curve.
* Prices will be low as will interest rates, creating great buying opportunities, and likely, inspiring reluctant buyers to make their move.
* The recession will end and buyers will regain confidence in the market.
I basically agree with five of these predictions, and I'm not either comfortable or confident enough with the rest. Read from the link above to get the whole take on each.
Read it all here... and I like this quote the best...
The downturn in the economy is a difficult thing to live with, Peterson said, but it is also a time to act to take advantage of the situation.
“There is a ton of opportunity right now,” Peterson said. “We’ve see a lot of prospects we thought we’d lost to other higher-cost areas come back and take another look at Mohave County. They see an advantage to our lower costs.
“We compete as a low-cost provider. In times of economic decline those areas of the country that are low cost providers see the most benefit.”
Here is the report on the new development, including...
Southwestern Energy will build a regional headquarters in Conway, employing as many as 450 people in the second major economic development project announced for the city this year.
The announcement was made Thursday at Hendrix College, which is building The Village at Hendrix, a 100-acre "new urbanism" development where Southwestern intends to build its 100,000-square-foot, $25 million facility.
And of course a telling quote from the Governor of Arkansas...
Governor Mike Beebe, speaking at the announcement, said it's "not an accident" that Conway has played host to two of the year's largest projects, saying that "Conway ends up successful in so many areas because of people," and "so often it's the local effort that makes the difference" when it comes to attracting large-scale businesses like Hewlett-Packard and Southwestern Energy.
And don't call it a sell out either...
Southwestern energy is getting "some performance-based incentives" for building a regional headquarters in the state, according to Beebe, but no incentives were offered by the city to entice the business.
"There were no discretionary incentives used in this deal," Lacy said. "They truly weren't out to get a lot of money on this; it wasn't incentive-driven for them. I think they do like it here and we like them, so it's a good partnership. I can't say it enough, they've been great corporate neighbors."
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Now is the time to start thinking about smarter economic development, Vicki Pratt Gerbino said.
Gerbino, president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, is floating a proposal for local government and business leaders to create a new strategic plan for the region's economic development effort.
"What we don't have is a plan that flies at 30,000 feet," she said.
It is well passed time to begin efforts for smarter economic development locally.
She sees the plan as examining the kind of projects and programs needed to attract and retain the most -- and most desirable -- companies.
One example, she said, is that many people have told her the area's property taxes are outrageously high.
That's not true -- she comes from western New York, where property taxes are much higher -- but the perception must be taken seriously.
To lower property taxes, some communities have shifted toward a sales tax. To make a sales tax really work for a community means boosting tourism, shopping and convention traffic.
And that, she said, would mean more dollars spent on projects to lure tourists and travelers.
These are discussions that should happen now, she said, because the coalition's workload has eased as the economy has slowed.
I didn't emphasize convention traffic because we don't really have large conventions in Kingman.
I'm done with this type of posting... until I find more in spare moments.
Expanding economic development becomes more important - yet difficult - during a financial downturn. Annika Schilke is ready for the challenge.
Schilke took on the new role of assistant city planner and economic development specialist for Urbandale on Nov. 10. The position has a starting salary of $39,080.
"I was particularly interested in the economic development aspect of this position," she said. "Plus, I've fallen in love with this area."
Thats the introduction... now for future plans...
Planning for future
In addition to current available retail space, Urbandale has 1,000 acres of land for new commercial development along the Interstate Highway 35/80 corridor. While there isn't a high demand for that space right now, Schilke sees that changing during the coming decade.
"As Urbandale and the western suburbs continue to grow, demand for retail space and services will be higher, so we'll be able to fill all that space and more in the future," she said.
Schilke believes Urbandale's response to economic development has been as aggressive as surrounding cities. To continue this, she hopes her new position will "allow the city to be more proactive, and be better able to execute its marketing plan, respond quickly to inquiries about land use and incentives and better track available land and buildings."
"We really want to make the process at the city level more user-friendly and inviting," she said.
Be nice to see more of this kind of talk, wouldn't it??
From here reports the increase in fees...
LOCKPORT — The Town Board approved a sewer rate increase Wednesday and confirmed the appointment of the town’s first economic development director.
More on the latter below after the rate increases.
Councilman Paul H. Pettit cast the only vote against the sewer plan, which takes effect Jan. 1. It increases the minimum quarterly charge to $30 from $25 for all users and also adds a residential usage fee for the first time.
Residential customers’ quarterly fee will cover only the first 15,000 gallons of water they use, and then they will pay $1 for every 1,000 gallons above that.
I don't know how much volume on average a residential unit typcially goes through in a month or a quarter. But it appears Kingman isn't the only place raising rates.
Now for the econ development director stuff...
Also Wednesday, the board confirmed Smith’s choice for the new economic development director— David R. Kinyon, former president of Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce — at a salary of $65,000 a year.
Councilwoman Cheryl A. Antkowiak told Kinyon, “I’m excited that you’re coming aboard, and I have two words: park pavilion.” She wants Kinyon to find grant funds to construct one at Day Road Park.
Thats just part of what economic development departments do folks.
"2008 has been a busy year," Clearfield County Economic Development Corporation's Executive Director Rob Swales said at Wednesday's annual luncheon. "We are spearheaded to be the anchor of alternative energy in the area, and we're looking for a bright future here."
Then this from that states (Pennsylvania) Lt. Gov.
Lt. Gov. Joe Scarnati also spoke.
"We have to get through what is probably the worst financial crisis, that not only this nation, but this Commonwealth, has faced in decades, and it's going to be done with cost cutting and with efficiencies," Scarnati said. "No business, no county, no community, no state can plan one year at a time. We truly need a vision, and we need a vision that gets us to a point in this Commonwealth where we can have consistency, stability and continuity in all of our policies, our plans and our taxing. That is what I believe is the most important issue facing Pennsylvania today - to have a vision of the future and articulating that vision so that Pennsylvania job creators know where the Commonwealth is headed."
Nicely put L'Gov. Mind giving that speech here locally??
"Introducing Another Energy Boost for Faulkner County ... Conway's Latest Economic Development Project" reads the custom-printed label on a can of energy drink mailed Wednesday to news media and other stakeholders in whatever new project is coming to Conway.
Lacy was tight-lipped as to the nature of the project, saying only that the development will, in some ways, equal the Hewlett-Packard facility being built in The Meadows Office and Technology Park, though it won't equal H-P in terms of employment numbers.
Alright, benign enough. Now this...
The latest announcement also bears a warning: "Does contain a significant number of new jobs, high salaries and otherwise general healthy economic conditions. Not recommended for citizens against exciting news, opponents of a vibrant local economy or people allergic to smart choices."
LOL!! Would so much love to see something like that printed around these parts.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tornillo Access Road Creates Shortcuts, More Economic Development
Jenn Dombrowski-KFOX Las Cruces Bureau Reporter
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 – updated: 6:12 pm MST December 16, 2008
TORNILLO, N.M. -- The small East El Paso County community of Tornillo prepares for a big boost to its economy.
Tuesday, they broke ground on a new international bridge and access road, linking the town to Mexico.
The groundbreaking gives truckers a shortcut away from the busy highways of Juarez and El Paso straight on through to the east, and it brings the possibility of a major economic boost to Tornillo.
By spring of next year, the access road should be complete, and that’s when the community could see other businesses move in.
“It's an economic engine. The County of El Paso will own the bridge so it will be another source of income for the county. The potential economic development of this entire region is going to be full of warehouses and factories out here.
Residents said their farming community is ready for a change.
“There's no work here. All the people are leaving to other places so they're leaving their homes and families behind,” said Tornillo resident, Luis Sarinana.
They said a bridge and new jobs will open new opportunities.
Georgia like the rest of the nation is suffering through the recession. But a group of state economic development leaders on Tuesday said Georgia is well positioned to weather the storm while still expanding its global reach.
That’s because they say key ingredients remain strong in Georgia. They point to workforce training, ability to attract a young population, and Georgia’s transportation infrastructure.
“The goal is to get projects accelerated,” Bartz said. “We’ve identified $350 million in projects ready to go.”
He said the country’s infrastructure is crumbling and that these public works projects are important.
“It will save jobs and get people back to work,” Bartz said.
Engel said the government needs to continue to create an environment to attract new businesses to the county.
“We have to concentrate on bringing in new dollars,” she said. “The county has become business-friendly and over the last year the attitude has changed.”
Oh but I know... hide in the shell until this all blows over.
Bustle said some real estate people are telling businesses not to look at Manatee County because of a perceived anti-business climate.
“We need to overcome that reputation,” he said. “We also need to look at impact fees and everything that affects creating a successful business.”
Engel said there needs to be more diversity in the types of businesses the county is trying to attract.
Sounds a little familiar.
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors tonight passed an emergency ordinance to reverse a recent increase in water and sewer connection fees.
County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett said the action was taken "to encourage continued economic development in Henrico County during the current economic slowdown."
County officials previously said the increases, recommended in a recent rate study, were necessary to keep existing customers from subsidizing the expansion of the utilities system.
Just a little something to pass the time while it snows.
NORTHWEST DESERTS-Be careful out there. We are closing our office for the remainder of the day.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...KINGMAN...GOLDEN VALLEY...
HUALAPAI RESERVATION...DOLAN SPRINGS...VALENTINE...WIKIEUP
1207 PM MST WED DEC 17 2008
...WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW IS IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM
THURSDAY TO 11 AM MST FRIDAY FOR SOUTHERN MOHAVE COUNTY INCLUDING
THE TOWNS OF KINGMAN...VALENTINE...AND THE HUALAPAI MOUNTAINS.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LAS VEGAS HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW FOR SOUTHERN MOHAVE COUNTY...WHICH IS
IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM MST THURSDAY.
SNOW WILL INCREASE ACROSS SOUTHERN MOHAVE COUNTY TODAY AND
CONTINUE THROUGH THE NIGHT...TAPERING OFF BY MID MORNING THURSDAY.
TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO 16 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED AT
ELEVATIONS ABOVE 3500 FEET. LOWER ELEVATIONS WILL SEE AMOUNTS AT
LEAST BETWEEN 2 AND 6 INCHES.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP
WARM CLOTHING...AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR
VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Read more about that here.
Rate hikes shouldn't come as a surprise in our current economy. Somebody has to pay for the improvements that are needed to the system, and since the community has fought so gallantly against growth for the past couple of years... we certainly could not pass that cost on to anyone else but the current users. We are getting what we voted for. It is the price of thwarting new development and further prosperity.
A few bits from the article linked above...
The imposed changes are expected to jump the average residential monthly water bill from $21.24 to $26.08 and the average wastewater bill from $14.44 to $21.37.
It could have been worse I suppose. Probably means one less movie to see a month at the re-opened movie theater (later this week).
But here council responds to development issues...
Included in the new water rate is an extra $2 base-rate increase designed to produce extra revenue to cover the difference if Council decided next month not to raise the city's water and wastewater development investment fees, as recommended by an October study published by the Red Oak Consulting firm.
At a workshop meeting on Nov. 24, Finance Director Coral Loyd presented the study in which Red Oak recommends the city raise its water investment fee for the most common meter size from $1,200 to $3,370, with corresponding increases among larger meters.
Several council members were concerned that such an increase would drive off new development and fail to bring in any new revenues.
Well then maybe they should consider drastically reducing the current fees, since new development is practically a contradiction in terms at the moment. I mean, there isn't a line out the door down at the city to pull permits for new projects today. If the city wants to induce development to help pay for costs... some of something is better than all of nothing.
This goes for other items included on the development investment fees. The community risks nothing by lowering the fees, if indeed the fees in the first place are keeping builders and developers from even proposing projects at the moment. It is just basic economics.
Vice Mayor Janet Watson said raising rates was not something the Council wanted to do.
But it was necessary to increase revenues to maintain operation and maintenance costs, and to prove to the finance authority that the city could raise enough revenue to pay back the $35 million loan.
Again, the voters over the recent years are getting what they voted for. Increased cost burdens.
Councilwoman Robin Gordon noted, however, that the infrastructure would have to be paid for whether new growth occurs or not. She said new growth, especially consistent growth, was not a guarantee in the current economic times, and that depending on income from development investment fees could be a recipe for disaster down the road.
Depending on income from development fees is a disaster right now.
"We're ensuring that we have the money to pay for the infrastructure, it doesn't matter if we have the growth or not," Gordon said. "We have no way of knowing how long this current economy's going to go on."
Yep, we don't know how long the current economy is going to go on for... but we could take steps to do something about it. Since we, the community, has to pay for infrastructure no matter what (she is right, there is no free lunch)... it is time to figure out a way to do that that uses our best assets (Interstate 40 for example) in a way that lessens the burdens. Most communities across this country are engaging in public/private partnerships. Let's at least start there to see if a solution can be found.
Hello, interest rates have dropped again! 4.500% on a 30 year fixed with one point! I cannot remember a time when rates were lower. Some restrictions apply, FICO score, LTV and etc. What a great time to buy a home or refinance. Don’t wait until it’s too late, they cannot stay this low for long.
UPDATE: Thought I'd share a few more in the 11:00am hour from my office. It is actually snowing harder now and there is even a winter storm warning in effect. Please, locals, be careful on the roads. I doubt the city has dispatched the salt trucks or plows (I doubt we have such things).
The Christmas tree lot across the way. Today only, free snow effect included with purchase!!
Oh... and my hockey league is canceled tonight in Havasu... sucks.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Also the appetite for buying a foreclosed home is dwindling, according to the release.
The flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people's computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.
Now I'm no expert, but I have been avoiding the above browser as often as possible. I'm partial to Mozilla's Firefox.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Again, there are six good bits of information to consider.
3. “It’s going to be a buyer’s market for a long time”
This is a biggie. The mistake here is not whether or not you know when the market will balance out or shift to a seller’s market, but thinking that you should wait for it to do so. Is it going to be a buyer’s market for a long time? Who knows? Everyone has an opinion, but the fact is that it is a buyer’s market today. Do you want to be a buyer in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
Watch CBS Videos Online
I'd love to hear from local lenders as to how many Alt A and Option ARM's were written locally after the wave of sub primes, in terms of percentages at the least. Sales in terms of units has been off drastically as compared to 2005 and according to the 60 Minutes piece, the Alt A and Option ARM's were more the rage in 2006 and 2007. Of course in those years, many new homes were sold that may not have been represented by Realtors and therefore appeared on the MLS and hence did not show up on my monthly reports.
If lenders won't chime in... feel free to add any guesses or provide any data that you may have.
One of my favorite passages...
I’m willing to concede that I might look at the world through rose-colored glasses if you are willing to concede that my way of seeing the world is simply better. That, whether my way of tilting at the clouds of gloom may be in some way incorrect — according to some imaginary arbiter — nevertheless my way is the way that things get done. It’s always raining somewhere, but if you have time enough to care, you’re not working hard enough.
It's from Greg Swann at BloodhoungBlog.com.
Friday, December 12, 2008
by Jesse Herman
Mesothelioma Cancer Center
Asbestos Removal and Green Alternatives – Path to a Healthy Home
When remodeling, foreclosing or purchasing an older home, there are many things to consider in the real estate industry. Used for more than a century as a form of building insulation and piping, homes built before 1980 have the strong potential of containing asbestos.
With increasing awareness and technology, there are a variety of insulation alternatives and building materials which easily replace the need for asbestos. Potential and current homeowners should be aware that exposure to asbestos fibers becomes a health concern when high levels are inhaled over a long period of time.
Used in millions of homes, asbestos insulation can be a real problem for homeowners due to causing a variety of lung ailments, such as malignant mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. Recent studies indicate that over 2,000 to 3,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United States alone. Workers and real estate’s-man all over the world are now receiving the proper indications and information towards the risks they face.
The United Nations Environmental Program states that the use of recycled building materials such as cotton fiber insulation can reduce energy use by 25 to 35 percent. The numbers continue to improve as more eco-friendly options become available. These kinds of figures have attracted those who were unaware of eco-friendly construction.Asbestos removal in public facilities, homes and workplaces must be undertaken by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor if the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) are not violated. Once the removal is complete, green insulation options should be given serious consideration, such as: Cellulose, Cotton Fiber and Lcynene. These asbestos alternatives will not only reduce energy costs, but allow for a clean, healthy home, free of health damaging materials.
Thanks for sharing Jesse.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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:
I can't get over how symbiotic the two lines shown above seem to be. The last three months basically mirror each other, as one goes up -- so does the other. Keep in mind that these are two different sets of data. The blue line is new listings that appeared in the month, the red line represents closed transactions for the month. If the oversupply of inventory is ever to be corrected... these lines will have to intersect and actually switch places for a length of time.
Average listings and sales averages chart:
I mentioned the one large dollar transaction at the top of this post. If I take that unit out of the equation, the remaining units sold in November averaged $139,351 each. Prices are still falling, on average. Price your new listing accordingly.
2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:
And thus ends a nice little three month winning streak in terms of unit sales as compared to last year. 2008 will now likely end lower in total single family sales in units than was seen in 2007. In order to end the year higher, 50 units would need to close in December. Christmas miracles, anyone??
2005 through 2008 average price chart:
"Hello down there Light Blue line."
"Hello up there Orange, Yellow, and Pink lines," said the lonely Light Blue line.
"You look lonely down there Light Blue line."
"I won't be lonely down here next year," guessed the lonely Light Blue line.
Something like that.
The average price of closed sales fell 26% compared to sales recorded in November of 2007.
2005 through 2008 median price chart:
The median sales price for closed transactions is off by 31.5% as compared to November of 2007.
The price range of sales for November 2008 is $69,900 through $535,000.
Average SFR statistics:
The average home sold in November had 3.11 bedrooms, 2.2 bathrooms, a 2.2 car garage, included 1,648 square feet of living space, and was built in 1997. The average hold sold for an average of $91 per square foot of living space.
It took an average of 82 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 116 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.
Sellers reduced price on average $19,006 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded and average of another $16,684 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in November was $35,690 (19.18% total reduction).
In terms of units sold, of the 36 sales reported for November -- 16 were listed as foreclosed on (44% of units sold).
The price range of foreclosed units sold for November was from $69,900 up to $176,200.
The average price of foreclosed units sold for November was $123,488 (17.9% lower than the overall November figure).
The median price of foreclosed units sold for November was $109,900.
The average foreclosure home sold in November had 3.06 bedrooms, 2.1 bathrooms, a 2.3 car garage, included 1,546 square feet of living space, and was built in 2001. The average home sold for $79 per square foot of living space. Owners of foreclosed on homes conceded 18% off the initial offering price.
Traditional sellers actually out sold bank owned sellers in November. I also have noticed a plateau of sorts from the bank owned sales on pricing. This either means that the banks have reached their threshold of pain in this market, or another round of price reductions are coming. No matter which one, newly listed homes still hit the market priced too high for the current market so I suspect further reductions in price to lure more buyers.
Otherwise it is more of the same... can buyers afford to buy?? Can sellers afford to sell?? Only you can answer that question.
Lastly, the only other conclusion I have today is to wish you all a warm and friendly holiday season. My family celebrates Christmas, but I bid you good tidings however your family celebrates. No matter how we celebrate, it is the season to be of good cheer and a good neighbor.
See you back next month for the December wrap up and the year end report. Here is a quick preview... the average sale of a home in Kingman in 2008 will be at a lower level than it was in 2005 by a healthy amount. Yet the Kingman market will only see a little over 40% the amount of units sold compared to 2005.
The advice comes from the Arizona Real Estate Notebook, here's just a bit from that post...
Get pre-approved by your mortgage professional. While there are a lot of great deals out there, getting credit is becoming more difficult, and it’s taking longer and longer to complete a transaction.
Click and read the whole thing. It's not long.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Today in this article from the KDMiner.com about how the city is already tightening it's already tight belt, comes the following quote...
"The shopping venues we have in Kingman are more of the mainstream shopping opportunities," (Finance Director Coral) Loyd said. "People are able to meet their basic needs here ... (but) our markets don't necessarily draw, I would guess, a lot of out-of-town shoppers."
I'm not using the quote as an indictment on Ms. Loyd or anyone else at the city. But I do find it odd that the community has an interested party knocking at the door with a plan for a new shopping center, a huge Interstate cutting through the city with more than 5 million vehicles a year on it (not counting semi trucks), and an economy that leaves us talking businesses in jeopardy/people losing jobs/folks leaving town for hopefully greener pastures. We've also seen the city coordinate an effort to remind locals to shop local for their holiday shopping... even if it means heading outside the city limits to other 'out-of-town' locations within the county.
Yeah, no kidding... it is not adding up.
Not for nothing, but next year I hope we see wall to wall coverage of non stop public workshops, public hearings, and ongoing negotiations with any interested party looking to bring improvements to this community's situation.
I'll go out on a limb and say that the majority of the folks that live in Kingman won't rest easy with talk of increasing sales taxes. Surely the talk of bond measures won't put folks in a good mood on a grand scale. Adding a property tax to the mix will be a non starter.
So what is left??
How about beneficial development meets with the path of least resistance for a change?? Help the market by removing unnecessary obstacles that don't seem to be meeting their intended goals. Let others put their money where their mouth is. Some of something would be better than all of nothing.
While we're at it, let's get rid of the 168 acres of land that isn't doing anyone in the community a bit of good other than those that use it for a dump-site. Auction it off and let someone else come up with a vision since together... we have none for this property (where's the talk about the Kingman version of Central Park anyway?? As suspected, that talk was just a convenient political ruse) .
The 'nice' weather is just not enough of an attractant to bring people here. We just had a glorious fall season weather wise and I bet more people left town than located in Kingman. The money supply shrinks for many reasons, but none bigger than a net loss of people with a buck or two. And as Ms. Loyd correctly pointed out... this ain't no shopping destination. Kingman must find a way to bring money here given the situation we have voted ourselves into over the years.
But I digress...
I didn't vote for the man (The One)... but the words 'hope' and 'change' still resonate with me at this time I guess. Thanks for reading.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Of the sessions I attended, one thing stuck out as a prevailing subject... the expectation of growth throughout the state. (Well, I did attend one breakout session that had to do with Open Meeting Law and Conflict of Interest and growth wasn't really the subject there.)
Of course Arizona is a very diverse state and many communities are in various stages of development. Some of the subject matter was focused on transportation improvements via light rail solutions, something I seriously doubt that Kingman is planning on or is even applicable at this time. Some of the principles covered that would apply to Kingman though I felt were the following...
The encouragement of regional, community, and stakeholder collaboration. This one fits nicely with my overall outlook... calling on the community to come together to identify shared values and common vision for what we want the community to be and making the information accessible leads to greater public involvement and transparency. I think I even wrote a letter to editor some time ago on this subject matter. From that link...
On July 16, I spoke to City Council and briefly shared a vision where an inclusive group of community leaders could collaborate together to provide a list of solutions that would make the decision process a bit easier on the elected officials. The intention was to send a strong signal to the community that we all have a golden opportunity to make a real impact on the future of Kingman. By working together, we could create a friendly path to take that would already have the full support of all.
The next couple of principles could be combined the way I see it in our location... mixed land uses and the creation of walkable neighborhoods. One of the underlying themes to the overall theme of growth was the reduction of the dependence of automobiles for transportation (reduction, not elimination). I believe that new communities/developments in the city will most likely keep this in mind and lead to new kinds of demand for housing in our area. We will likely see such terms as healthier lifestyles, environmental concerns, and energy conversation get thrown around as Kingman continues to grow and develop. Supporting the implementation of mixed land uses and walkable neighborhoods will be key in this regard, if simple support is not enough then the city may want to consider some sort of incentives.
The above principles lead to the next principle in some manner, the creation of a good range of housing opportunities and choices. Housing needs are diverse, no doubt, and I don't have a feel at this time for how good the current choices are in meeting the demands that people have. At this time, it is mostly about affordability for most, given the current economy. Having a nice range of housing options near employment centers will be key going forward.
The next principle covered was fostering distinctive and attractive communities with a strong sense of place. Community characteristics are one driver of economic development. Communities with a strong sense of place must reflect the character and values of the people who live there. My question... are we achieving this in Kingman??
The last principle from the presentation I attended that I felt applied at this time to current events in Kingman is making development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective. I'll just quote from the materials...
Development tends to follow the path of least resistance, so the development that is the most desirable should be the easiest to do. There should be as few barriers as possible to restoring historic buildings and creating infill development. Design and construction standards, review and approval processes and finance and fee strategies should be clear for all types of development. Uncertainty creates misunderstandings, aggravates disagreements, costs developers money and ultimately serves no one in the community.
To me, the above hits on many tones here in Kingman currently.
Lastly, one other term jumped out at me in the materials I collected... public/private partnerships.
It was an interesting conference and I was glad to be able to attend. I look forward to my appointment and the duties that come with it. I'm sure I have plenty of learning to do along the way.
Thanks again to the many that have called, emailed, or even stopped by to congratulate me.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
My time is up as a serving board director for the Western Arizona Realtor Data Exchange (WARDEX). We are having our annual shareholders meeting today and it marks my last official duty as a member of the Board of Directors.
As some may know, I have been serving as a volunteer for local and state Realtor Associations/Organizations since 2002 (where has THAT time gone??). During this time a new Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Organization was formed that combined three local Realtor Association's MLS's into one regional organization. This sort of collaboration of services is not new and our group didn't invent the wheel on the process. In fact, at some point in the future, there will likely be more collaborative efforts made with other organizations/services. Such is life in the Internet age.
Locally, I remember the first informal conversation about forming a regional MLS in 2004. I spoke with an Association leader from the Lake Havasu City Realtors Association and she made a remark about perhaps working towards that kind of goal. Again, it was an informal conversation and I didn't think it would necessarily lead anywhere (or maybe it was that I didn't want to make an effort at that time, whatever).
Later on, in the summer of 2005 as vice president of the Kingman/Golden Valley Association of Realtors, I attended a local 'Brokers Council' meeting. The subject was brought up by some of the brokers in attendance. I made a note and proceded to make a call or two to the other local Assoiations (the aformentioned Lake Havasu group and the Bullhead City/Mohave Valley Association).
Depending on how history views those moments, what came after was plenty of heavy lifting done by many volunteers that continues to this very day. Hopefully history will be kind.
Here is further reading on the subject as I had written about them before on this blog (here and here).
Somehow or another, a new organization was formed and a new service was unveiled. To say the road was well paved and easy to manuever on... would be lying. The founding members faced many obstacles then and there are still plenty of growing pains today.
I stayed on as a director from day one, was officially appointed to the board for a two year term thereafter... a term that expires basically today.
The overall effort is something that I am very proud to have been a part of. It was a fairly large undertaking made by many volunteers working towards the benefit of the whole of three different local Realtor Associations.
Most importantly for me were the friendships that were made through the entire experience. In some cases it was friendship through fire. Many times I wanted to bang the table with my shoe to get a point across. I lost more arguments than I could count (probably a good thing), but always in the end mutual respect found its way. I doubt that I'll know how much impact the experience has had on my life, career, or otherwise until some time passes and the dust clears (and my schedule opens up a little more).
For any WARDEX members that may stumble across this post, yeah -- I know -- things aren't perfect with the service or even the organization, but my time is up so the time -- now -- is yours. Hopefully you will be inclined to help make the organization better as time goes along. A little goes a long way. And if you can't help, that is okay -- just remember that the folks that are serving are doing so on a volunteer basis and do their best for for the whole.
I was going to post the names of the many that have helped over the years, but I worry that I will leave someone important out. So I'll simply say that I've enjoyed the spirit and the commraderie through it all.
For those that continue to serve, and those that are now coming on to fill the vacant seats, I wish you all good fortune and my gratitude for the time and service to all the members. May you continue with beneficial progress on a long and winding sojurn.
I'll go out on a limb and say the last dude on the list has as good of a chance to be appointed (to Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission) as Ralph Nader did to win the election for president of the United States a week ago.
Well this morning I received a phone call from P&Z Commission Member Allen Mossberg informing me that I was appointed to the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission by the City Council. After checking my email this morning I find that MOCO commenter Loyd had left me a message of congratulations for the appointment. I didn't think that I would be considered after the last P&Z meeting when they made their recommendations and left me off that list.
Hey, I'm honored and humbled.
I just watched the video of the meeting last night (linked here, it appears early in the meeting and they wrap up the appointments for P&Z within the first 10 minutes). I appreciate the kind words offered by Mayor Salem and the motion made by Council Member Deering.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Without further delay... 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.
As of December 1, total listings available for single family residence equals 569 (down from 592 on November1). The total number of units that are listed as 'foreclosure' listings is 92. The rate of new listings taken per day in November was 2.8. Compared to last years total listings available on the market are down by 19.6%.
There were 84 new listings taken in November (down as compared to 100 in October). The total number of units listed as 'foreclosure' listings for November was 30. The average asking price for the new listings is $185,483 (down from last months $201,437). The median asking price is $129,000 (down from $151,900 previously). Newly listed units are down 16 units from last year and the average initial offering price dropped 22.6% as compared to November of 2007.
The average newly listed home in November has 3.08 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, a 2 car garage, with 1,650 square feet of living space and was built in 1992. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $112. Lastly, 11 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker. 4 units listed last month are already under contract and of those none had closed in November.
The original price of new listings last month was from $44,000 through $675,000.
Units under contract:
As of December 1 there are 62 total units under contract (down compared to the number of 75 last month). Of these, 29 were listed as 'foreclosure' sales.
38 units entered into contracts in the month of November (off from the 47 the previous month). Of these, 21 units were listed as 'foreclosure' sales. The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $130,848 (down from $164,844 last month) and the median asking price for November was $114,900 (down from the previous months $134,200 figure). Units entering contract are actually up from November of 2007 by 8 units and the average marketing price is down 33.5%.
The average home that went under contract in November has 3.1 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 1.77 car garage, with 1,468 square feet of living space, and was built in 1990. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract in November was $89. It was also priced $19,742 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $14,753 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 99 days (from 125 last month).
The advertised price of units that entered contract was from $49,900 through $451,000.
I typed the word down many times in comparison to last month and even last year in this report, but not all of those figures are down-ers... if you are a buyer. A couple of highlights to review...
The inventory number (listings available) has dropped a touch under 20% since last year at this time. Still... inventory is high, too high, but hopefully on the right road to recovery (the road is long though I must warn).
New listing average price is also down over 20% since last year. That means that sellers are entering the market more aggressively, like they should, but might still have some more to go. The good news here is that sellers are at least responding to the market. I'm certain that foreclosed listings have a large part to do with that.
More listings took a contract than the year before, even in this down year... which simply points to a more acceptable price for buyers.
Sellers continue to offer price incentives (discounts) in order to attract buyers. The average home that took a contract last month discounted nearly $20 grand from the time they entered market to the time they accepted a contract. The market is working.
We are in what is traditionally the slowest part of the year for sales. November, December, January, and into February we won't see record breaking production but hopefully we will see similar production as last year at these times. Perhaps establishing a bottom. Stay tuned for those results.
Foreclosures will continue to put pressure on prices as there were more of those listings available than in previous months. If you are selling, do the best you can by improving the condition of your home and price it accordingly as a premium offering. Condition, marketability, location, and of course fair market price will be your friend on your quest to sell.
Buyers... hey, I know you're out there... I don't know what to tell you in certain terms. If you are able to obtain an advantageous financing product and prospective homes are in the affordable range for you, then it may just be a great time to buy... for you. Only you can answer that. I simply do not know what will be available heading into next year with a new federal government taking control. I will do my best to bring you the latest information as it reveals itself.
I have my fingers crossed that next year will improve in terms of units sold, but I'm not placing any bets (especially on the Philly Eagles).
See you next month!!