Saturday, January 31, 2009

And that dress your are wearing...

With only day to go before the big event... the monthly listings report for January (oh... you thought I meant the football game thingy?? No silly) I found a great take that I'd like to share about what some are dealing in this thing we call reality.

Come to us today from the BloodhoundBlog by Thomas Hall
. Please read the whole thing.

Here is a snippet...

My conversation with my client earlier today started off rather pleasant, really.

Our talk was lighthearted - what were the plans for Superbowl Sunday, the latest buzz about work - the winter weather in Chicago and the prospects of warmer weather arriving soon - hopefully. It wasn’t the reason for my call, but the banter was really my attempt to put off the inevitable. I needed to have “the talk.”

“Your child is ugly.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

The union of the snake

The title above is in reference to the likely fact that I have been listening to way too much 80's pop music on my iPod lately. However the title of the song has the word snake in it and it also appears as part of a word in a local infrastructure project known as the Rattlesnake Wash interchange.

This morning an article covering the recent city council workshop appears in the website.

Before moving on to post the part of the article I found most interesting, I want to say once again that I am in favor of this future project and hope that five or six years from now it will reach completion. I feel I have to do this because so many folks in the area seem to be either 'for' or 'against' this project or a different proposed interchange project, Kingman Crossing. For years now I have been 'for' both projects. The way I see it, both are equally as important for long range benefits to the community.

Now, from the article...

"This would really be beneficial for the city and the public at large, and it would also put a lot of people to work once this interchange is put into place, once it is constructed," (Kingman Mayor John) Salem said. "At this point, it would be my opinion that perhaps we could go to bond for this or we could come up with some other type of a tax mechanism to earmark some kind of funds for this project."

Emphasis mine above.

On the first part, this notion that jobs will fall from the sky once the interchange is completed rings kind of hollow to me. I've seen this talking point quite a bit in comments at other sites in reference to the benefits of the project. The thing that escapes me though, is how do we know that all these jobs (high paying jobs as many of said) will magically appear (and by that I'm assuming they mean at the industrial center at the airport)?? What folks seem to imply is that here in the early part of 2009, there is a certainty that jobs will show up... in five plus years from now.

Look, I'm all for job creation and hope to see more companies take a chance on Kingman and the labor force, but I hope they do so TODAY. Looking around TODAY and most of us can observe that folks are moving out of the area to find work TODAY. So if the airport authority, other interests, and city officials really believe in the promise that this new road from I40 that will lead to the airport will bring jobs five plus years from now... why not they do something about it TODAY?? If that road is the only thing standing in the way of all these new jobs... why even deal with ADOT or their schedule?? Let someone else play sugar daddy.

As for the second part I emphasized above from the article... really no surprise there. I wrote about what would likely happen back in 2007. While I may have the dates and years off by a bit here and there, I intimated that the movement to defeat the bonds in 2007 was to preserve the bonding capacity for this Rattlesnake Wash project whenever it may be needed in the future. The same folks that were telling the citizens of Kingman that the city shouldn't be planning for an infrastructure project that would help developers and/or landowners (including all of the citizens of Kingman that own 168 acres of Interstate frontage) in another part of town, will now be asking the same citizens of Kingman to aid their development plans and improve their property by funding this infrastructure project. Certainly not shocking, but nonetheless hypocritical.

I'm not going to chide the mayor for any of this. I know he is up against it and has been since he took office. I know he is in favor of improving the economic conditions of this city and would love to do so yesterday. Economic development is a joke in Kingman as it stands right now though, an oxymoron... a contradiction in terms (save for that shop local promotion I suppose). As an aside, come Monday there will be one less place open for business to collect sales tax dollars from in Kingman.

If anything, I'm pleased to see that this project is on the minds of the locals right now. I wish to see it be debated openly and perhaps other solutions to cover costs might be revealed because of it. For now, I'll just look forward to when I'm 42 years old... that is how old I'll be when the interchange at Rattlesnake Wash opens for convenient passage.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The difference between a short sale and a foreclosure (explained)

I get a question from time to time, folks want to know the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure sale. Instead of reinventing a quality post for some detailed information, I found one already written and ready to share. (I love the Internet)

Click here for more information from the AZ Foreclosure Blog.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

History lesson...

If history has taught us nothing else, it is that these hard times, too, shall pass. In fact, periodic downturns that constitute the business cycle share much in common with growing cycles that farmers deal with every day, thanks to factors like wind, drought and pests. To every thing there is a season, even misery.

My country, like my company, has weathered the worst of everything and managed to prosper. That’s what we do. We’re Americans, the genetic beneficiaries of adventurers, explorers, optimists. We endure and then we succeed, and the more of us who can maintain our confidence and perspective, the faster this season of misery will pass into prosperity.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A MOCO response

Our pal with the new blog at the Miner's website has offered up something that I thought I'd bring back to MOCO. Unfortunately for Loyd, he is many years late in publishing a common theme that has appeared on thousands of real estate 'bubble' blogs. While the tired rhetoric has the very real feel of 'been there - read that' to it, since it has a bit of a local slant... I figure what the heck.

Before moving on, I do find Loyd's writing style pleasing. He chooses descriptive words and terms very creatively to move his thoughts along. I love his sense of imagery, in fact I wish I had a bit more of that in my writing.

The following will contain some minor disagreements and perhaps some mere reminders, and I'm not offering a harsh rebuke or admonishment... just a little fun writing to start the week.

Find the entire post linked here.

[T]he recent article in the Miner titled "Realtors see light at the end of the tunnel" by James Chilton, is an absolute gem.

When the real estate boom hit here in 2005-06 the Realtor euphoria just could not be contained. They flocked here to the tune of 600-650 souls by some counts just like the California Gold Rush.

What Loyd won't tell you is that the number of Realtor Members of the local Association really has no defined bearing on how many properties change hands. He has even said himself that he has never used the services of a Realtor, yet he seems to indicate that he has either purchased or sold property on occasion over time in his life.

Loyd guesses that Association Membership swelled to 650 at one point, but he has no idea how many other folks in the area that were issued a license to act as an agent to a party on the sale of real property (attorney's also have the ability to represent a party in a property transfer). Not every person with a government issued real estate license is a Realtor.

While I do not have any data to back the following up, I have heard many times that in Mohave County only about 40% of all real property transfers are made by a party (buyer or seller) that has hired representation services of a Realtor. If true, this means that 6 out of 10 transactions happen without us 'pesky' Realtors involved at all.

I cannot speak for any other Realtor or licensee, but I have never been the sole reason that a person of free will has ever decided to buy or sell property. Each and every time I have answered the phone, an email, or have been visited in person by a potential client at my office, after greetings and pleasantries have taken place they always start out with the same following four words... "I would like to"... and end with either "purchase or sell property". That is as true today in this slow market as it was in the booming market.

The point really is, with or without the 650 Realtor Members (at one time) property would have changed hands at break neck speed.

Skyrocketing real estate prices carried the illusion of get rich overnight and every lot and shack for sale in Kingman got labeled. "Just no way to lose" seemed to be the rallying cry to every "house flipper", "speculator" and "rent to riches" tycoon and slum lord within driving distance.

And a few even called me to help them with their transaction. Others certainly called on other Realtors and non member licensees. Still many others turned properties without the need for services.

I was working in my front yard a lot during that time frame and if I had just $10 for every quick buck artist with Nevada plates that pulled up and offered to buy my house, I could just about pay the run up in property taxes I've been hit with.

Yet we are left guessing as to how much his taxes actually went up. Here his words say a lot, but actually don't tell us anything. For all we know his taxes only went up $31 dollars which would 'just about' pay his increased taxes if three vehicles with Nevada plates pulled up and offered to buy his property.

A Realtor or Realtor associate (licensed to sell) is a proverbial Cheshire cat – always smiling, upbeat, and positive – just bubbling with enthusiasm.

Don't forget that Realtors are business owners, and I can't think of a business owner that checks his or her enthusiasm when they open up the office or shop for the day. Loyd has told me that he was a one time business owner himself. Now I'm left wondering if he was downtrodden, sullen, and negative around his customers and if that improved business or not. No way, I'll bet that the sound of a cash register still brings somewhat of a smile to his face in some Pavlovian manner.

By nature, they are a resourceful bunch. They may haunt the Chamber of Commerce for new prospects scoping out Kingman to possibly relocate; or they might cruise the hallowed halls of the Superior Court looking for those divorce settlements that are so just right for down payments. And they are always trolling the Internet looking for the slightest nibble.

When they find one they will spirit them away in their $50,000 SUV and probably assure them they know the address of their dream home and the investment of a lifetime.

Wait, wait, wait. I drive an SUV... are you saying it is worth 50 grand?? It is for sale if so.

Now what else did he just say, that business owners use marketing in the hopes of attracting more business?? Who'd a thunk that?? As for the creative examples he offered, I only market on the Internet.

At the top of the bubble or at the bottom of the crash, the story is always the same.

"There's Never Been A Better Time To Buy!"

This applies to any business owner in some respect. Lawyers will say there's never been a better time for a lawsuit, Wal-Mart will tell us that prices are slashed so don't miss out on the sale of the century, even the kid at the Kool-aid stand will make some kind of encouragement to passers by that may not even look thirsty. It is called free enterprise and I don't begrudge anyone that gives it a shot. Sure beats waiting in a bread line by many accounts.

Now for the record, as a Member of the National Association of Realtors... I absolutely hate the marketing pitch that includes the 'never been a better time' crap. I detest it so very much. I do not use it in my marketing, in fact I go to great lengths to offer an easy way for people to determine if now is a good time to buy for them by way of my monthly sales reports that, in my opinion, offers very revealing data about the current market.

And even though the data still looks pretty bad on average at this time -- the phone rings, the emails come in, and kind folks walk through the door to my office and at some point utter four words to the beginning of a sentence... "I would like to"... either buy or sell real property.

If it's going up – It will never be any cheaper

If it's going down – The turn-around is just around the corner

If it's hit bottom – There's nowhere to go but up

Actually if it has hit bottom, then wouldn't it be fair to say there's nowhere to go but up??

When the mad rush is on, no matter what the rush is for (especially pertaining to issues involving the chance at financial improvement), it is started when actual people observe other actual people that have improved their financial lot... not some lame brained industry marketing ploy.

Seriously, do you believe a marketing effort or a neighbor that says they cleared 50 grand (the value of my SUV, as Loyd has indicated, that is now for sale) on the sale of their property?? Very few neighbors are saying that today at this moment, and sales are down quite a bit even with the continued marketing ploy. I see a relation.

For the short time I have been in real estate, I have yet to hear a client or potential client come to me convinced to buy or sell because of NAR's marketing efforts. However, most all of the real estate investor clients have shared an anecdote about a neighbor, friend, or even family member that found 'riches' when buying or selling property (that is if finding 'riches' is the goal, often times the transfer of property has nothing to do with attaining 'riches'). The ones that haven't credited neighbors, friends, or family for the epiphany tell me they've done it before themselves.

Whatever is going on, the tendency is to paint it with a rainbow and try to convince that it is the best decision and investment ever made. Homeless millions will disrespectfully disagree.

Those millions to be made homeless can thank government that meddled and then failed to regulate, opportunists that manipulated mortgage instruments, greedy developers that capitalized on easy credit and a real estate industry with a "Gold Rush" mentality.

Empty rhetoric.

Loyd, I know you watch TV and maybe even listen to the radio at times. When I happen to enjoy these media outlets I am inundated with commercials to invest in gold (or Obama dinner plates). So what do you think Loyd?? Is now a good time to invest?? The ads certainly make it seem like it is a can't lose opportunity.

If I get burned on a gold investment, will you please write a blog post damning the people that 'made' me invest by painting rainbows and convincingly leading me to believe that it would be the best investment ever made?? After all, judging by what you wrote above, there will have to be plenty of people to blame for my decision.

And, here we sit – assured that very soon – just as soon as those pesky foreclosed homes are all bought up – we can start all over again.

Frankly, I'm just thrilled at the prospect – how about You?

You mean that no doc, no down loans will be back again??

The only way anything starts all over again will be due to greater demand for property in this area. I don't know what would be the incentive used to bring back at least some level of demand for certain. However I do believe that it will likely have to do with progress and the community working with interests that can help improve the area through job creation and other forms of development that spur on even more opportunity. In other words, risk takers are needed.

Yet the way that risk takers are treated here locally, especially over the last couple of years, it is doubtful that Loyd has anything to worry about.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looks like fun...

I heart traffic interchange discussions

While I was away attending to other things on my schedule, I noticed a lengthy letter to the editor at the website. The subject is a favorite of mine and I thought that I'd examine the letter here and make a few comments as needed.

Find the letter in its entirety here.

First I want to say that I'm merely commenting on some things to perhaps add more things to the discussion. I won't be 'fisking' in harsh disagreement. I think it is better to simply have more discussion than it is to dig in and take sides until the public has been exposed to as many facts as possible.

The subject is on future infrastructure, namely traffic interchanges proposed along Interstate 40 in Kingman. The author of the letter is making it known that he sides with the future plan for the Rattlesnake Wash project and is against the other proposed project known as Kingman Crossing.

The first part of the letter details his observation of the current condition of the two possible locations of the projects. One project is in the midst of existing residential areas and the other is out where there is no development at this time for the most part.

So I'll skip ahead to the discussion of costs for each project.

Then there's the cost of the projects.

Rattlesnake Wash has a price tag to the city of $12 million. ADOT is picking up the other 70 percent of the cost. This is called Phase I and includes the interchange and arterial roadways from Louise to the airport. Phase II has a price tag of $12 million which connects Louise to Hualapai Mountain Road with no ADOT participation. So now, the city has a completed project for $24 million. But wait. I looked on the map, and with the completed Rattlesnake Wash traffic interchange and connection to Grace Neil Parkway, we have roadway that goes from Hualapai Mountain Road on the south to Stockton Hill Road on the north/west near the college. Talk about access! Wow!

I'll also add to this that Mohave County has offered up $2,000,000 to phase I of the project according to this link. I also look forward to the completion of the Grace Neil Parkway and the eventual connection to the Rattlesnake Wash project as I think it will allow for more convenience as the area develops in the future. The Rattlesnake Wash project is very important and hopefully solutions for local funding will be revealed in a timely manner to not give ADOT, which is under the budget microscope from Arizona legislators, any excuse to remove the project from their plans.

One thing that is left out though is the fact that ADOT won't even be taking bids for construction until after the next presidential election. This project is many years away from possible completion as it is structured at this moment. It would be a mighty long time before the community sees any benefit from the new infrastructure, although I remember attending an ADOT public meeting where it was said that the project could move forward sooner if it was funded by a private source... with reimbursement at a later time on ADOT's schedule.

On the other hand, Kingman Crossing would cost the city $24 million just for the interchange with no arterials. But the cost doesn't end there. Vanderbilt and Vestar said they'd front the cost of Kingman Crossing and charge the cost back to the city.

A local citizen estimated the real cost of Kingman Crossing to be closer to $50 million with the interest paid to the developers.

At best this is speculation and the public has not seen any proposals to draw any conclusions. We do not know how much risk the developers are willing to take on in any agreements, so there is nothing to chew on to make any kind of decision. We do know about other public/private partnership agreements that have been made with this developer and other municipalities or governing bodies, but we don't know what is being considered as it may apply in Kingman. Hopefully we will start to hear about the possibilities in the near future. That way an honest debate will be able to take place.

I can't find a way to take the estimate from an unnamed 'local citizen' source as anything worth considering at this time, your mileage may vary. Local citizens are free to say anything they want, I'm looking for citizens that have some information to back them up for their 'estimates'.

But here's where things are going. The hospital doesn't need Kingman Crossing traffic interchange to operate. I know this because I asked them directly.

Correct me if I'm wrong, hospitals are one sort of business where the patrons are sometimes 'dying' to get in, so to speak. While the hospital may not need an interchange for its implementation of a successful business plan, there may be more than a few 'customers' that might find the convenience of a connecting interchange from one side of town to the other rather important. I don't think it matters much even if lives aren't on the line, a person with a broken hip or arm would probably choose less time in route to an emergency room 99.99999% of the time... but that is just my guess.

The only ones who need this are V&V for their shopping mall project. It seems to me this is a cost of doing business, and the cost should be born by the developers and not the citizens of Kingman. I've heard the developer say the interchange benefits the city. I think it benefits their project.

I agree that the developers would want and probably actually need Interstate access to improve their future development. Interstate frontage without access is not worth nearly the same value as Interstate frontage with access to them and possible future tenants.

However, I do believe that the developers are right in saying the interchange would benefit the city. Currently the city is promoting a 'shop local' program as a way to ensure that they collect every sales tax dollar possible... as it is the main source of revenue the city generates. With Interstate access, the developer would likely have a greater opportunity to attract the kind of shopping interests that many in Kingman are hoping for so that many shoppers aren't faced with a choice of perhaps going out of town to spend... plus perhaps tens of thousands of more sales tax opportunities from people passing through on the Interstate.

Again, the city is doing its 'shop local' promotion now in the immediate time frame and I'll guess that they weren't looking forward in doing so with the same urgency for another six years or more (the time it will likely take to complete the Rattlesnake Wash project and develop possible commercial property that can generate sales tax dollars).

I predict that if the developers get their way and get a commitment from the city for the interchange, the property will go up for sale and the city will be making payments for a traffic interchange to nowhere.

Again, the public has yet to see any proposal drawn up between the city and the developers. From what I know about possible public/private partnerships and how they might work is... the developer FRONTS the money for the infrastructure taking on some dollar amount in risk. The city negotiates the repayment of the money out of funds generated by the commercial development.

So let's stop right there. Let's say that the developers spend millions to build the interchange, if the prediction goes as the writer says and the developer instead sells the property and no money is being generated on the property, the developer is not getting paid back. It would be a monumentally stupid business decision to make that kind of agreement on the part of the developer.

None of it matters at this point anyway as there is nothing on paper worth even debating in regards to any partnership considered.

V&V have already cancelled some of their development plans at other locations, to date, and that's understandable with the current economy the nation is facing. Rattlesnake Wash traffic interchange makes a whole lot more sense than Kingman Crossing traffic interchange. I'd rather partner with ADOT than a private entity, but that's just me.

The writer would rather partner with a government entity that may not have funds for future projects more than four years out... this is how I interpreted the comment. No matter though as both projects are different and ADOT is not even considering the use of taxpayer dollars for Kingman Crossing. Basically a moot point is being made.

I think it is easy to forget that ADOT uses Arizona taxpayer money for projects, ADOT is not some philanthropic entity just handing out huge wads of dough. It is possible that legislators, elected by taxpayers (the bulk of them NOT in Mohave County), could demand to change some plans... there are no guarantees. Public money is... well... very tight these days.

Again, I support both projects and hope they come to fruition as I feel both will benefit the local community for decades to come.

With some help from the property owners in the Rattlesnake Wash project, the cost to the city will undoubtedly be less. I know one of the owners involved said he'd pave the roadways if the city graded the way. That's got to be a savings.

Details though... what are the details??

Yes, there is a development agreement on already on record at the city complex that speaks to this. However there is another component to the existing agreement that would trigger the landowners to come up with the money for the paving. I'll venture a guess that if the economy is in the very same sorry shape it is in today (and there certainly are plenty of nay-sayers around here that speak to many years of gloom and doom ahead), and even with a completed Phase I of Rattlesnake Wash project completed many years down the road, the trigger may not be pulled to help with the Phase II part of the project (would have to be understandably cost effective for the private party of the agreement). Unless Kingman finds its growth 'legs' again, I don't see how Phase II of the overall project happens before the year 2020 (and I hope I'm VERY wrong about that).

The other owners will see an increase in their property values, so their investments will come back to them in the long run. This city has the wherewithal and talent to complete our own projects. It creates local jobs and keeps the money in Kingman.

I have to be honest and say that I'm not following this logic. Not a shot against the writer (it is probably the reader), but how is this 'our own project' when 70% of the funds and the final decision to move forward comes from a state government agency??

Another way to help finance the Rattlesnake Wash project is to take Kingman Crossing traffic interchange off the Capital Improvements Projects list.

The CIP is merely a wish list, if there is no money for any project... removing one from the wish list won't magically make funds appear for another. At this point in time these projects are not competing with each other for city funding.

The city is actively looking ways to come up with funds for Rattlesnake Wash as they have real time lines to make with ADOT (a lot sooner than those bids for construction go out in 2013). It may come down to perhaps looking for a voter supported bond measure to get those funds (purely a guess).

For Kingman Crossing, the only thing I'm aware of that the city (at the request of the developer and landowner) is examining the potential of some sort of a public/private partnership funding mechanism, the details of which probably aren't even on paper yet... not even for a first draft. There may yet be other possible solutions that ultimately do not put the risk on the local taxpayer, but NOTHING has even got close to the point to make such a determination.

I suppose this is why I follow these issues so closely. It seems that the critics of Kingman Crossing simply do not want to see the project ever happen... no matter what -- for whatever reason. Sure, they'll use some comments along the way that point to something about finance but they aren't making a determination based on any sort of fact. The facts have yet to reveal themselves. As much as I'd like to see an interchange be built at Kingman Crossing, I haven't made up my mind as whether to support a funding mechanism... ANY funding mechanism... because NONE EXIST. It is difficult to make a determination without facts, and thus far the critics of Kingman Crossing haven't presented ANY.

Think I'm crazy?? Here are some more reasons this person is against Kingman Crossing...

The voters approved Rattlesnake Wash but not Kingman Crossing.

This is incorrect, but instead of harping on this I'll offer a challenge to anyone who wants to take me up on it. When was Rattlesnake Wash approved by voters?? I know the answer I'll get will be the mention of the General Plan 2020. So those who wish to answer in this manner need to reference the page where I might find exactly where this was approved by voters via this link to the General Plan. It is true that there is no mention for funding an improvement plan on the Kingman Area Transit Study (part of the GP) for Kingman Crossing... it is also true that there isn't one for Rattlesnake Wash either. There's a huge list of projects on the implementation of the recommended plan but no mentioned of either future project. My conclusion is that the voters did not approve the Rattlesnake Wash project.

Kingman Crossing traffic interchange was slipped in six months after the General Plan 2020 was voted in, as a minor change to the General Plan. A look back on the records will show who submitted the amendment. I guess I just don't like things forced on me. When we vote, regardless of the outcome, it is the will of the people. It doesn't matter if we agree or disagree on the topic; the fact is it went through a legal process. Not that the amendment didn't go through a legal process, but it involved only a handful of city personnel and usually little to no public input or respect of the public wishes.

Not really shocked that this went to the General Plan discussion (see previous comment).

First of all, nothing is or was forced on anyone. As we saw not even a short couple of years ago, the voter can have the final say on amendments proposed to the General Plan. Short of that though for a major amendment to the General Plan there are many public meetings held for debate and input, a commission panel decision (made up of citizens), and a vote of two-thirds of the voter elected city council before any approval is granted to change the General Plan (even then it is subject to referendum).

The General Plan was approved by the voters, this is true. We shouldn't forget though that nowhere in the General Plan is there anything to do with moving forward on public funding for municipal projects. It is a plan and that is it. It is NOT authority to spend taxpayer money.

I believe if Kingman Crossing had been put on the ballot, it would have failed.

Perhaps. And perhaps it will one day make it to a ballot for consideration by the voters. Up to this very moment in time, Kingman Crossing has never been on the ballot (and neither has Rattlesnake Wash).

I feel compelled to say again that I am not taking issue with the person that wrote the letter to the editor. I fully support his premise of the benefits the eventual completion of the Rattlesnake Wash project would offer the community. I look forward to the day when it might be possible to utilize the infrastructure.

But I also see possibilities for another infrastructure project that I believe will have many of the same kinds of benefits for the community. Benefits that may be derived before the year 2013 when the Rattlesnake Wash project goes out to bid for construction (and as long as ADOT is still playing sugar daddy).

Of course it will depend on what kinds of burdens would be placed on the community to afford such an infrastructure upgrade. The city must be careful not to put itself out to too much risk, and certainly not take on every ounce of the risk that could be involved in such a high dollar commitment. Any financing plan would have to be clear and understandable with obvious community advantages before a big dummy like me would support it.

Lastly, I love this sort of discussion and hope that more and more folks will join in and help it continue. Would love to see more articles about these issues in the local media as well. Hopefully it will be more than possible to disagree -- agreeably -- if we so choose along the path of any eventual decision.

Also, there is a town-hall type of meeting on the subject of the Rattlesnake Wash project. It will be held at the library on Tuesday night at 6:00pm according to a speaker at the last city council meeting.

Blogging was light...

Blogging was a bit slow this week as I took my annual trip down to Phoenix for the Realtor Professional Standards Committee workshop on Wednesday and attended one of the many Executive Committee meetings for the Arizona Association of Realtors in my role as Region 1 VP the following day.

My schedule remained busy on Friday as calls came in from potential buyers and I followed up on a listing that I've been working on.

Hopefully that kind of business activity continues.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sometimes winning takes time to learn...


The Cardinals fans who left diesel fuel messages in the lawn of Donovan McNabb's Chandler home also left something else - a box with a postage sticker that listed the suspect's name and address.

Click on the link, one of the jokers even wore a Cardinals hat in the booking photo.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not as I had hoped...

Happy for the fans of the Cardinals for their effort in the NFC title game yesterday, but I am obviously not thrilled by the outcome (as an Eagles fan).

No excuses either, the better team won that game. Executed a great game in the first half and did enough in the final minutes to earn the victory.

I will be rooting for the Cardinals in the big game. I think it is great to see the state of Arizona have another shot at a pro sports league title. I still remember game 7 of World Series back in 2001 when an AZ team won it all. There was an NFL football game played that afternoon in Phoenix as I was in attendance (still remember the B-2 bomber flying over the sky before the baseball game started as I began the drive back to Kingman), and I would have preferred the same outcome between those two teams yesterday however.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not something you see everyday...

Here is the headline...

Prescott Valley manager declines pay hike

I don't post that as any kind of shot at our local officials, elected or otherwise. City workers have already been subject to hiring freezes and the like. It is just something nice to see in this day and age given the set of circumstances we face. To me is shows leadership over self interest.

Those that work in the private sector are being asked to work and do more for less and I hope those that work in the public sector adapt to the kind of leadership that one person in Prescott Valley has shown.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Urban Land Arizona conference...

Yesterday I was following along Arizona Republic writer, Catherine Reagor, as she was twittering from the Urban Land Arizona conference. And earlier today I remembered to follow up and look for an article because the tweets were pretty good.

Here is the article and a few lines...

Top analysts and economists at Urban Land Arizona's annual conference Thursday said that the Valley's real-estate market will continue to slow this year and in 2010. A significant increase in home prices and sales likely won't happen until 2012.


As long as foreclosure rates climb, recovery of the Valley's housing market will be delayed.

"Another tsunami of foreclosures is expected," said Wall Street housing analyst Ivy Zelman, one of the few analysts who early on warned of a dangerous housing bubble in the U.S.

Zelman said lenders need to find more ways to help struggling homeowners find lasting solutions to reduce the projected 5 million to 8 million more U.S. foreclosures expected by 2011.


Valley home building has fallen to 1992 levels, a fraction of what it was during the boom. But all the analysts agreed this is a good thing.

"The last thing Phoenix needs now is more new homes," said Gadi Kaufmann, a national analyst with Washington, D.C.-based real-estate consulting firm Robert Charles Lesser and Co. Zelman said only 2,000 new homes should go up in metro Phoenix this year. Fewer than 18,000 new homes were built in metro Phoenix last year.

"Banks are telling builders to stop construction for a while," said Tim Sullivan, a national housing analyst with Sullivan Group Real Estate Advisors of San Diego.


One of the more startling statistics was how much Phoenix's job growth had slowed.

Phoenix ranked above only Detroit for job creation on a list of the nation's top 25 metro areas, Rosen Consulting said.

"Phoenix has been in the top five for job growth from before there was even a list," Margon said. "This is strange."

He said the low ranking is due to Phoenix's dependence on industries that are "ground zero" for the recession.

"But the outlook for Phoenix job growth is phenomenal," Margon said. "We don't think Phoenix will crawl back up the list. It will leap back up."

Phoenix's key industries will get help from anticipated federal spending on infrastructure projects and the housing bailout.

Nothing really earth shattering in any of that, but interesting to me to want to share. The main reason I wanted to share the above is because the reporter is/was at another function this morning and again was sharing some tweets... that now I'll share.

at az road to recovery conference about 4 hours ago from mobile web

john Lenio - CB Richard Ellis Natl- econ incentive not firms first priority when expanding about 4 hours ago from mobile web

cb lenio speaker says incentives not a giveaway about 4 hours ago from mobile web

companies growth hot points - logistic, labor. real estate, incentives about 4 hours ago from mobile web

labor most impt for cos. looking to expand about 4 hours ago from mobile web

CB's Lenio says AZ not agressive in ECON Development about 4 hours ago from mobile web

Lenio - AZ needs to be hungry growth wont just come here anymore about 4 hours ago from mobile web

steve partridge, former, az econ devel, now w/charlotte chamber is speaking about 4 hours ago from mobile web

improving quality of life underestimated in econ devel. says Steve Partridge about 3 hours ago from mobile web

Barry Broome head of greater phx economic council speaking about 2 hours ago from mobile web

az now 49th in job growth about 2 hours ago from mobile web

GPEC focusing on Solar to turnaround job growth about 2 hours ago from mobile web

GPEC head says AZ more dependent on housing than Michigan on cars about 2 hours ago from mobile web

Okay... now I didn't include each tweet that she offered, as there were many, but I found it interesting to follow along for this days events. No doubt there will be an article posted on the AZ Republic website soon to fill in more details.

While I have a Twitter account, I haven't found a consistent use for it yet. So far I am finding good information (links to information) at convenient times, but I haven't found it useful to get information out or to communicate back and forth.

The 'green' mobile home

Call it what you will... 'pre-fab', 'modular', 'mobile'... whatever, but perhaps in the not too distant future we will see dwellings such as these around these parts. Taken from this online Popular Mechanics article...

The result was the Clayton I-House, an innovative prefab home that can be powered for a dollar a day, thanks to Low-E windows, solar augmentation, high-efficiency appliances, and superior insulation. The solar panels on the roof don't supply all the home's needs, but they do cut electricity consumption in half. There's also a tankless hot-water heater, and a cistern that collects rainwater from the roof for use in gardening, car washing, or other outdoor uses. Floors are made of fast-growing bamboo, and paint and insulation are low- or zero-emission.

Read the whole thing for more information on the conceptual design. More of this please, is what I say. Advances in other technologies for use in traditional site-built homes will equal more affordability and higher demand as well.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eagles fly into Arizona...

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb celebrates Sunday, as does Cardinals QB Kurt Warner on Saturday. They'll meet next Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, in Glendale.

As you might imagine, the Eagles fan that I am, I snooped around for tickets to the big game coming up this Sunday here in Arizona. No avail. Tickets are going for much more than face value and I'm sorta tapped out on the entertainment budget at this time (after spending money for Eagles game tickets in Minnesota).

I'm obviously thrilled to have had the opportunity to see the Eagles begin their playoff march in the NFC a couple of weeks ago, and certainly it is surprising that the match up this week ends up being between these two teams (lower seeds usually don't make it this far).

But here they are and here I am in Arizona and while I'm happy to see the fans in Arizona come alive for their team after decades of less than stellar performance, I'll be cheering on the team in midnight green (of course).

I've hoped for success from the Arizona sports teams since I moved to this state. It normally takes some success to establish a loyal fan base, that and perhaps a generation of folks that grow up with a home town team.

Each year I try to catch a Diamondbacks game when the Phillies come to Phoenix for a regular season series... and I always see a decent amount of Phillies fans there. Same can be said anytime I've made the trip to Phoenix to watch the Eagles visit... many fans cheering on the Eagles. The worst is heading to a NHL Coyotes game when the Red Wings from Detroit visit, half the stadium -- at least -- has a rooting interest for the out of town team.

Only success and a new generation of fans will change that. The D-Backs won a world series in 2001 and I think that has helped them hold a majority of fans for those games (unless the Yankees or Cubs come to town). And I say this with all sincerity, the Cardinals just need a title to finally establish the needed following...

... but, man alive, NOT AT THIS TIME.

I know that I'll be a loyal fan of my original home area sports teams the rest of my life, that won't change. I may be being a bit selfish right now coming off the Phillies World Series title... but a Superbowl win at this time would be real nice for this Eagle fan.

Win or lose though, I wish the Cardinals and their fans well. And if by chance they best the Eagles, I will be hoping that they bring home the trophy... but not this week... not for this game.

While I may not be able to attend the game in person, it looks like many Iggles fans will be making the trip this way. Birds fans travel well. Hide the women and children.

What a mess...

Foreclosures up 208 percent in Arizona, 81 percent nationwide in 2008

The report also shows 1.84 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 54) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.03 percent in 2007.

Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 303,000 U.S. properties in December 2008, up 17 percent from the previous month and nearly 41 percent from December 2007. Foreclosure activity for the fourth quarter was down nearly 4 percent from the third quarter, but up nearly 40 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007.

Arizona’s 2008 total of nearly 117,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings was third-highest among the states, trailing only Nevada and Florida. Foreclosure activity in Arizona increased by 203 percent from 2007 and 655 percent from 2006.

Rounding out the top 10 foreclosure rates for 2008 were, in order, California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A flat fee I'd gladly yield further negotiations on

I'm sure I'm not the only Realtor getting this email, but since I'm a little short on prospects with $15 million dollars to throw at a property these days I figured I'd share this with everyone. The 'commission' or the finders fee in this case would certainly help make up for any losses in production over the last couple of years.

Hello again Todd!

One Million Dollars is still available to give you. That’s right! I cannot wait to hand it to you personally for simply finding the buyer for my beautiful property.

Oprah showcased me on her show as an eligible millionaire bachelor. Shortly afterward I "inherited" a gorgeous parcel of land on a golf course complete with a house, health resort, restaurant/bar, and acreage for expansion.

It's the Southern California Dream - Live, Work, Play, and NO commute!

So why am I selling it after 11 years?

Well, my dad will be 90 in February and it’s time to take him traveling. So now I'm doing something totally outrageous! GIVING AWAY $1 MILLION!!

Check out: It’s new w/YouTube video!

Send this site immediately to all of your friends/clients. I make no mention of the million dollar finder’s fee, the identity of the property, or any contact info. That way they must contact you.

You never even have to see my estate near San Diego, much less show it. Just send me the buyer. It sells, you're a millionaire! That simple.

I hope to write you the $1 Million check. I’ve done it before and I can’t wait to do it again!

With pen in hand,

Paul A. Walton


Castle Creek

Feel free to help this dude out if you want.

Pretty good take...

From this post at Chicago Boyz...

California has followed the grim path of the Great Lakes states.

As I wrote before, those states where once the industrial dynamo for the entire Earth, yet they destroyed that enormous economic dominance by political policies hostile to economic creativity. Likewise, California had a golden era as an economic and cultural dynamo. Well up until the late 1980s California was the place to go to make it big. People moved from other states to California. Now, internal migration has reversed. California looks less like a dreamland and more like basket case waiting to happen.

Emphasis mine above. Read the whole thing (not long and the comments are good too).

Depending on how you choose to view what was said, this could be a good thing for Arizona and also it is hopeful that Arizona doesn't continue to follow the goofy political policies of the failing state.

Found via Instapundit.

Entertainment options tonight in Kingman...

If you haven't heard, the old movie theater is open once again right here in jolly old Kingman. As of this moment I don't know what movie choices are available there but the movie about the dog and the family... well I'll admit I got a little misty towards the end (darn those Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows movies of long ago... and I don't even have a canine companion... I'm getting soft).

Also on tap is the season premiere of that singing show that so many millions of people are drawn to. You know, karaoke used to be fun until this show became popular... now everyone at karaoke shows up and sings their heart out. Almost like a try out for the show. For those like me practically tone deaf and without a singing voice that even includes one octave, it is not worth working up (or drinking up) the courage to belt out my favorite Sinatra tune (It Was a Very Good Year).

Well, if either of those two options don't float your entertainment boat... don't forget that tonight is my premiere as a panel member of the planning and zoning commission. We are talking about probably a couple of hours of raucous diversion from your otherwise scintillating affairs on a Tuesday night. We have nine items on the agenda, that is right, nine. Rezones, conditional use permits, and preliminary subdivision plats... oh my!! And don't forget that it is two for one night when you drag someone along, not only will you get in free but so will the other person... I don't know how much longer they can keep that promotion going, really.

In the words of Maximus Decimus Meridius "Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"

2008 Listings and Sales Activity Wrap Up...

Another year has gone by the way-side and of course this means tabulating the data for housing in the Kingman market. You may want to hide the women and children, and if you are squeamish you should be warned that the following is not for the feint of heart (especially if you are a seller).

I'll make some comparisons to data I shared last year in this linked post throughout this report. I'll also be adding a chart that looks back at the average priced sold home figure in each month going back to 2004. I even learned how to make an HTML table to put some data in a easy to read format (with hopefully less spelling errors).

Before we begin though, of course comes 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.

Let's get started, and please click on any chart for a larger view.

2007 Listing Activity Report:

In 2008 the Kingman market saw 1,393 listings enter the fray, that is down from the year previous (1,563). Just over one quarter of those listings closed which is up 5% from 2007. There are even a few more pending contracts from listings taken in 2008 than in 2007. Expired listings rate is up, sellers withdrawing or canceling is down, and sellers that have temporarily taken their home off the market is negligible.

I'm just going to guess that the success of the banks selling their distressed assets at cut rate prices is what led to an increase in percentage of closings per listing in 2008.

The market for sellers is still very much crowded and competitive, there isn't any balance in our market. Buyers still have the luxury of waiting sellers out for more price concessions. In other words, the market is hardly any different than it was in 2007 for sellers entering the market (other than values have been plummeting).

I know that in some year in the future the chart above will look much different with a bigger piece of red pie, but not yet.

2007 Sales Activity Report:

As you can see both unit sales and total dollar volume came in lowest on record here at MOCO Real. Total dollar volume is off 22% from 2007 (and 62.6% from 2005... yikes!!). Unit sales are off just a tad compared to 2007 but off 59% from 2005 (again... yikes!!).

It just isn't possible to escape the national news about real estate markets in general and the above charts obviously will give credence to those reports. There is little doubt that our local market was 'pumped and dumped' - to use a phrase - during the boom years, but I still feel that the fall did not have to be as bad as it has been (and may yet be). I'll resist the temptation to go on a local political rant as to the reasoning of my opinion at this time, but I know the severity of our fall is not being felt in every other market in the country. We must do better as a community... and I'll leave it at that.

So now the one we've been waiting for... just what was the average priced sale in 2008??

Last year I mentioned a lag in the average figure and it appeared in the 2008 average unit sale. If my lag theory is correct, and the community continues to do nothing about the local economy, then look long and hard (that's what she said) at the sales in units chart above again. Bottom forming this year (towards end of year) and runs through the following year at similar levels... that is my best guess based on this data. Again, that is if my theory is correct and I always reserve the right to be wrong when speaking about the future.

The average price of a sold home in our market dropped nearly 21% in 2008 compared to 2007 and with all the foreclosures still coming I will not be surprised to see that figure fall again in similar fashion.

Yet even with all the gloom and doom (looks like even I caught that dreaded disease), Kingman is still the place to be as far as I'm concerned. And it will be even more affordable in due time.

Below is that running chart logging each months average sale going back to 2004 up to last month...

I look forward to next year to stretch this out further and see where it goes.

Now for those data tables (and my first shot at overcoming some HTML anxiety).

Data tables for all sales tracked in the year 2008

Price Data
Average Price per Unit Sold $162,072
Median Price per Unit Sold $142,500
Average Price per Square Foot $103

House Data
Item 2008
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,571
Year Built 1995

Marketing Data
Days on Market to Contract 114
Days on Market to Close 152
Price Reductions on Market $16,660
Negotiated Price Concessions $10,068
Total Price Concessions $26,728

Not bad eh?? Next year I'll add a column to compare the previous year. I'm simply too overwhelmed coming up with this initial table. I plan on using tables like this for listings and sales reports throughout the coming years. Hopefully it will allow for easier reading (and posting).

In Conclusion:

No it is not the end of the world as we know it (that tune was on my XM radio just now), but the above data is reality.

For sellers, the only advice I can offer is the same as it has always been... price accordingly (as you can). Stay in tune with the market, feel free to drop by this site on a monthly basis or simply keep in touch with your favorite real estate professional (even if I am not that person). Be warned though, there is a clear trend in the direction of future pricing and if you plan to wait the market out for better days -- be very patient (and try to get more people to move to Kingman). Remember that you should expect a premium for a well taken care of and marketable house.

For buyers, well the ball is even more in your court than it was last year at this time. I see low interest rates available at the moment, but have no idea when that may change (contact your favorite lender for that information). It can always be the best time to buy (had to get a little Realtor spin in here somewhere), but only YOU can determine if it is the best time. You will want to ask and answer some questions of yourself and your situation. You will have to have a plan. You will have to have the ability to afford the home and all that comes with home ownership. If price values are a concern, you will have to look long term. Not sure how long you plan on living in the area... probably a wise decision to hold off on that new home. There is also time to take advantage of the extremely reasonable rental prices/costs at the moment if you can't determine where you will be.

But if you are ready for purchase, I'm ready to serve you. It's two ton's of fun representing buyers in negotiations at this time. I have the data and am more than willing to use it in your favor. Negotiating from a position of strength is just my game.

I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead in 2009 and beyond.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rezone approved at county meeting...

This morning the Mohave County Supervisors approved a rezone to allow commercial property to be developed near the master planned community Pravada.

I'll copy these comments from the new District 1 Supervisor from yesterday's Kingman Daily Miner article...

Watson has also spoken with residents and planners about the proposed Aztec Commercial Center, which would be located at Bolsa and Aztec roads in Golden Valley. The project was originally denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission early last year, but it was then approved a few months ago by the commission. It was denied by the Board of Supervisors a few months ago and former Board Chairman Pete Byers brought the item back for reconsideration last month. The project is on today's Board agenda.

The project would include warehousing, storage and retail spaces.

Watson said he can understand the work that went into creating the County General Plan and the Golden Valley Area Plan and the desire to see commercial business stay near Highway 68.

"These area plans have to be flexible," he said. "Aztec will eventually be a five- to seven-lane road, 55 miles per hour. My question to those folks is, 'Why not a commercial zone between (the master-planned community) Pravada and (Highway) 68?' It makes sense to me."

"But with this influence (Pravada) it changes," he said.

Although the project appears to be spot zoning, residents within 300 feet don't appear to have any objections to it, he said. And it makes sense to have additional services between Pravada and Route 68.

So the Aztec Commercial Center received approval this morning.

Noticed at the meeting...

The anti-growth folks were outnumbered. More residents spoke in favor of the rezone change than against. It wasn't even close.

The anti-growthers also wouldn't know a coherent argument if one was handed to them. I think that many people in the county have tired of their antics and tactics. I know that they have threatened local business people that don't agree with them first hand, as I have been a target of their antics via emails forwarded to me (the threats are laughable at best).

I believe the county elected leaders spoke out today in favor of property rights and also represented its citizens all at the same time. Cheers to them and I hope that there is a momentum shift towards an open minded approach that welcomes investment and a sense of entrepreneurial spirit in our region.

The sky only falls when it is allowed to.

Friday, January 09, 2009

December Sales Report (2008)

2008 is now all set and done as far as tracking real estate related data on this blog, and the year was a stinker. I've now collected data for four years and 2008 is the worst in terms of unit sales and total dollar volume. That won't surprise anyone that has been following along. The only mild surprise is the median sales price fell to below the $100,000 level in December (and lower than any month in 2004).

I'll post the year end wrap up later next week and I also plan to break down sales figures for both bank owned (foreclosed sales) and traditional (human sellers) sales for 2008.

In the meantime... the disclaimer...

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

Listings and sales in units chart:

I do find it interesting that the last four months of new listings and sales figures have ebbed and flowed practically in unison. I have no explanation for this and only wish to see the blue line come down and the red line go up in the next year (as always).

Average listings and sales averages chart:

Lowest average sales price figure since April of 2004, and I've only kept listing average price since 2006 so the December figure is the lowest asking average... but it is still obviously way off the market price. Average sales prices are trending down at a faster rate than are asking prices. At some point sellers AND Realtors need to grasp reality.

If not for one closed transaction of $430,000 last month, the average price would have come in under $120,000.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

Don't let the number '40' fool you, once again over half the sales in December were of the foreclosure variety (more on that in a bit). Easily the worst year for sales for traditional sellers.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

I guess I'll be adjusting the scale on the axis for this chart next year.

The average price of closed sales fell 31.6% compared to sales recorded in December of 2007 (and just under 40% from the same month in 2005).

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

Take a real good look at this chart and keep in mind that half the sales last month were had for less than the amount shown.

The median sales price for closed transactions is off by 40.6% as compared to December of 2007.

The price range of sales for December 2008 is $42,000 through $430,000.

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in December had 3.15 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.73 car garage, included 1,447 square feet of living space, and was built in 1987. The average hold sold for an average of $87 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 71 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 104 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price on average $16,877 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded and average of another $8,493 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in November was $25,370 (16.76% total reduction).

Bonus Charts:

Foreclosure Impact:

In terms of units sold, of the 40 sales reported for December -- 23 were listed as foreclosed on (57.5% of units sold).

The price range of foreclosed units sold for December was from $42,000 up to $290,000.

The average price of foreclosed units sold for December was $113,759 (9.7% lower than the overall November figure).

The median price of foreclosed units sold for December was $95,000.

The average foreclosure home sold in December had 3.3 bedrooms, 2.1 bathrooms, a 1.6 car garage, included 1,483 square feet of living space, and was built in 1993. The average home sold for $76 per square foot of living space. Owners of foreclosed on homes conceded 16.7% off the initial offering price.


The conclusion this month is thank goodness that year is over. Besides that, sales prices are sliding down a steep slope and sellers will need to keep up. Actually sellers need to get ahead while they can most likely. Is there any bit of news right now that says the trends reverse course anytime soon, especially here in Kingman Arizona?? That is the only reality check you need.

One other thing to keep an eye on is the spread between the average sales price overall vs. the foreclosure sales price was in the single digits in December after being nearly 20% the three previous months. Banks are definitely selling property with some success and perhaps they are finding a bottom. I'll watch that in the coming months.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My first P&Z ride-around later today...

The agenda for my first P&Z meeting as a panel member is out on the city website (linked here). Today is the ride-around and the commissioners get an on-property look at the items on the agenda. Learning process for me no doubt.

Perusing the agenda and I see one agenda item dealing with a wind turbine. That is probably as much I can comment on the agenda at this point. The meeting is next Tuesday night, come on by -- should be fun.

The view belongs to who??

(I realize that the proper use in the title is 'The view belongs to whom??', but 'who' rhymes with view better)

This morning I was rummaging though my Facebook home page and found a link to this article from back in April of 2008. Mainly the article is about a very up-scale residential development located south of Las Vegas in Henderson high up on a hill/mountain.

Here is a photo of the view from the link...

No doubt the view is nice and all that, but I took something else from the article a property rights issue.

From the article...

It is the project that you can see from just about anywhere in the valley, the cuts into the mountain looking like stairs toward the clouds. (Opponents down in the flatlands see it more as a disgraceful defacement that has forever destroyed a view enjoyed by millions for the benefit of a few hundred rich people. But more on that later.)

Emphasis mine above... and my initial reaction is quit whining to the 'opponents', whoever they are. I lived in Vegas for a number of years and the least striking view of the surrounding mountains from the valley was towards the south, where this development is. I realize that my view is objective and others are free to disagree if they want, just like I have just now with the 'opponents'.

So I ask, the view belongs to whom??

Not everyone is thrilled about the exclusive community. Preservationists have opposed the project, saying it has obliterated the mountains’ natural beauty. Over the past four years, a battle has been waged regarding blasting at the site, with neighbors below complaining it shook their homes, even cracking windows and foundations.

Those complaints led to lawsuits, a series of sometimes contentious meetings and, eventually, changes to Henderson’s blasting laws.

Now, however, the blasting is nearly complete. All permits needed by Ascaya have been received.

Okay this is better... while we don't know who the 'preservationists' are, we know they oppose the project.

The rest of the folks making a complaint at least had a valid argument. Blasting caused cracked windows and foundations and that does infringe on the rights of others. But at least there is a transgression against another persons rights.

But again, we are right back to my question... the view belongs to whom??

The land that the development is on appears to be owned by a private entity... with property rights. Anyone that wanted those rights and that land could have purchased. Sounds to me that the 'preservationists' needed to pass the hat when they had a chance.

Last time I checked, 'views' cannot be purchased. They are at best a feature that could come with land and property rights, but certainly not something that can be protected... unless those that want the view of a mountains' natural beauty protected bought the property and the rights that come with said property.

I often side with the property owner on issues and the property owners that were subject to damage caused by the blasting were entitled to have their grievance heard, and it sounds like lawyers got paid. I'm cool with that.

But 'preservationists' (whoever they are) don't have a leg to stand on. They can bitch, whine, and complain all they want... but they can't interfere with the rights of the property owner.

Volcano photo... err... I mean sunset photo on Miner site

Pretty nice photo found at this link.

Only thing that would make it better is if there was a wind turbine at the top of the hill (I keed).

Look who has his own blog now...

Sometimes frequent commenter 'Loyd' has his own blog digs at the Kingman Daily Miner. Find Loyd's blog at this KDMiner link and under Local Color. Hopefully he will update his blog more often than some of the others listed there, in other words Loyd I hope you do more with it than just sit and wait.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What I was reading...

Some of you may know that I was out of the Kingman area for the holidays. My travels included a plane ride to the land of 10,000 ice rinks as I call it this time of year. As customary I purchase an issue of The Economist for reading on such trips that begin at an airport. This time I picked up the issue The World in 2009 special rather than the weekly issue.

As I read the various articles and opinion pieces I found the last paragraph of many interesting and perhaps telling. So I decided that when I got back to Kingman I would put together a post of some of my favorites to share.

All of the following can be found at the link above. Again, all the copied text is from the last paragraph of the articles.

The year of unsustainability

Governments and businesses alike have talked up their commitments to sustainability in recent years. In 2009 both will have to show whether they really meant it.

Come to order

After intervening on such a grand scale, the state must use 2009 to prepare for the day when it can credibly say that it no longer guarantees everything. And that, in turn, will call for a restoration of the balance in which investors are confident enough to lend their money, but fearful enough to ensure they lend it wisely. Just now, many people will criticise regulation for being too lax. But remember that regulation can also be costly and distorting. And who will suffer if finance works badly? One thing that became agonisingly clear in 2008 is that we all will.

The audacity of change

The biggest danger for the Obama administration is that, after an initial burst of goodwill, it will simply drift, lacking the money to deliver its promises, battered by tough economic and international circumstances, and torn between Mr Obama’s desire to adopt post-partisan positions and the unforgiving logic of Washington partisanship. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate Mr Obama. In 2008 he took on two of the most formidable politicians in Washington—Hillary Clinton on his own side and John McCain on the other—and beat them. In 2009 we will see a remarkably gifted politician confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges.

Pick your scenario

There is a third scenario: the collapse in confidence reverses as rapidly as it occurred. As liquidity returns, investors conclude most banks are solvent. Opportunists pounce on undervalued mortgage paper and bank shares. Credit-spreads narrow, lending resumes and pent-up demand for homes is unleashed. Growth is sluggish for a few quarters before briskly resuming. Implausible? The American economy has repeatedly surprised itself with its resilience to shocks. Perhaps it will do so again.

About 2008: sorry

The world is, of course, wonderfully unpredictable. Our biggest hedge a year ago was to stress that some of the most important events of 2008 would be entirely off our radar screen. How true.

No more business as usual

The mood in many boardrooms will be defensive, but 2009 will offer opportunity for some firms that take bold contrarian bets. It is often in tough times that the greatest fortunes are made. To the brave, the spoils.

A new economic order

In 2009 we may not know the absolute answer to the fundamental question of how the new map of economic power will be drawn. But the question is the most important of this relatively new century. We are living through a pivotal time in establishing a new economic order. What matters is that globalisation has started and in my view it cannot—and indeed should not—be stopped.

The upside of a downturn

Those victims of downsizing who do end up launching their own businesses will have no shortage of role models. Michael Bloomberg, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell are just a few of today’s business behemoths who were thrown out of a job at some point in their careers. Like them, some of 2009’s crop of corporate outcasts will go on to prove that triumph—and millions of newly minted jobs—can be born out of adversity.

Intensive scare

In sum, 2009 will be a crucial year for health reform. Not only will the politics of health care be taken up by the new American president, which is sure to disrupt business as usual, but emerging technologies and business models also promise to turn up the heat. Happily, all of these changes—cheaper pills, more convenient clinics and online records, and the option to save money by travelling abroad for care—promise to benefit the long-suffering patients even as they punish the dinosaurs.

No end of trouble

Amid the gloom, some will do better than others (see article). The gaps between strong and weak institutions will widen further. Stronger banks will attract more deposits and will have the pick of the strongest borrowers at favourable terms. At the opposite end of the spectrum, weaker banks will face a double whammy of higher costs and a deteriorating credit pool as their best customers migrate to competitors. Governments will help to accelerate this polarisation by making it clear which institutions they will stand behind and which they are prepared to see disappear. Bankers used to complain bitterly about state intervention. In 2009, the thing they fear most will be state abandonment.

Lessons from a crisis

Though it seems hard to believe these days, the market-based financial system has made a big contribution to global growth. Reverting to fragmented, nation-based and over-regulated banking markets is not the answer. What we need is greater resilience via sophisticated market participants, as well as stronger market infrastructure and supra-national structures for the regulation and supervision of the global financial system.

It is probably an understatement that 2008 was interesting and that 2009 will be more of the same. I spent $10 bucks on this particular issue of The Economist and read it cover to cover. The 3 hour plane ride was hardly noticed and I reread some of these articles again on the way home. I'm keeping this particular magazine to reread again towards the end of the year.

I'll have the December sales report up in a couple of days and the year end wrap up in the next couple of weeks. Besides reading, there's plenty of other stuff to catch up on for now.

Monday, January 05, 2009

More this in 2009...

From this article in Sunday's Miner...

Interchange work continues

And while much of it remains behind the scenes, (Mayor John) Salem maintained that work is continuing on both the Kingman Crossing and Rattlesnake Wash traffic interchanges.

"We're moving forward with Kingman Crossing," he said. "We have found an attorney to represent the city with a proposed development agreement and fiscal impact analysis on the proposed development."

I'm hoping for weekly updates this year... I'll settle for monthly.

Eagles win...

Fans in attendance. Had a great time. Luckily this game was played indoors.

More photos of the game shared on Facebook.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Next gen wind turbines...

Link here shows a newer version of a wind turbine designed to produce electricity. Check out the video at that link.

I'm sure this design or something like it will be available someday for personal property use. Better days ahead.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

December Listings Report (2008)

The first post of 2009 is a review of the last month in 2008, in terms of new listings and pending contracts. The anticipation might have been the reason why there was such a party last night... just let me think so, okay?? Alrighty then.

Before I forget... there is a guessing contest I'm running that asks you to guess what percentage has the single family average and median home price increased (don't guess in that direction... hint) or decreased in 2008. I'll have the answer in the year end wrap up sometime later this month. I still haven't determined the prizes, but I promise they will be cheap. Maybe even something homemade... who knows. Leave your guess in the comments or simply email me.

Now... on with the show after 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 January 1, total listings available for single family residence equals 514 (down from 569 on December 1). The total number of units that are listed as 'foreclosure' listings is 89. The rate of new listings taken per day in December was 2.8. Compared to last years total listings available on the market are down by 27.4%.

There were 86 new listings taken in December (fairly steady as compared to 84 in November). The total number of units listed as 'foreclosure' listings for December was 33. The average asking price for the new listings is $171,308 (down from last months $185,483). The median asking price is $124,550 (down from $129,000 previously). Newly listed units are up 21 units from last year and the average initial offering price dropped 15% as compared to December of 2007.

The average newly listed home in December has 3.12 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, a 2 car garage, with 1,660 square feet of living space and was built in 1994. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $103. Lastly, 14 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker. 11 units listed last month are already under contract and of those none had closed in December.

The original price of new listings last month was from $31,900 through $925,000.

Units under contract:

As of January 1 there are 71 total units under contract (up compared to the number of 62 last month). Of these, 33 were listed as 'foreclosure' sales.

46 units entered into contracts in the month of December (up from the 38 the previous month). Of these, 30 units were listed as 'foreclosure' sales. The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $125,725 (down from $130,848 last month) and the median asking price for December was $113,900 (down but steady from the previous months $114,900 figure). Units entering contract are actually up from December of 2007 by 21 units and the average marketing price is down 39%.

The average home that went under contract in December has 3.13 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, a 1.7 car garage, with 1,521 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 in December was $82. It was also priced $13,951 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $19,742 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 79 days (from 99 last month).

The advertised price of units that entered contract was from $47,900 through $354,900.


The numbers that jump out are found in the new contracts in December. 30 of the 46 new contracts were of the foreclosure variety. Total domination by the banks. Banks are reducing price in less volume of total dollars (priced close to right from the start) and are moving inventory much quicker. The big number of course is the drop in price from last year, units taking contracts did so while being advertised for 39% less than in December of 2007.

I'm sure plenty of us are somewhat glad that 2008 is now over. One of the silver linings of last year is the no doubt movement in prices. While many have called on sellers to price their listings to market even as far back in 2006, it was only when the foreclosures became prevalent the sellers responded. According to many, there will be many more foreclosures to come in 2009.

I can't state to what level prices will ultimately fall to, I simply do not know. Inventory numbers look better than they have since excess inventory became a real problem in the market, but we are still a long ways to find balance.

The local economy obviously is something to keep an eye on. The new hospital promises higher paying jobs and it might mean some new neighbors coming to town. A couple of steel mills and a mine offer some hope. Builders are still saying that it is cost prohibitive to build in Kingman because of development fees, if that gets tested (by the reduction of fees) and builders come through that could have a nice effect on the economy. If any kind of positive momentum starts to kick in this year... it will no doubt be the year of the buyer.

Happy New Year folks... cheers to you!!