Thursday, April 30, 2009

State education funding

A hot button issue in Arizona right now revolves around education funding. I'm going to admit that I don't have strong opinions on the matter for the most part and am using this post just to pass along some information sent to me via Facebook email from Arizona state senator, Thayer Verschoor (district 22).

From the email...

Here are some interesting fact taken from AZ Dept of Ed reports:

ADM went from 859,023 in 2004 to 951,117 in 2008 a 10.7% increase.

Number of Administrators went from 2,804 in 2004 to 3,305 in 2008 a 17.9% increase.

Number of Classified Managers went from 2,374 in 2004 to 3,030 in 2008 a 27.6% increase.

Number of Teachers went from 47,396 in 2004 to 53,883 in 2008 a 13.7% increase.

Average Teacher salary went from $42,324 in 2004 to $49,331 in 2008 a 16.5% increase.

Superintendents salaries went from $12,837,427 in 2004 to $19,188,361 in 2008 a 49.5% increase.

Total state aid went from $3,179,994,562 in 2004 to $4,453,747,156 in 2008 a 40% increase

I don't know what an 'ADM' is, or a 'Classified Manager' for that matter... but looking at the above stats it is clear to me that teachers (you know the folks that are actually charged with educating the children of Arizona) are getting the short shrift over the last four years.

Locally I couldn't name the Superintendent or anyone on the school board off the top of my head, so this isn't an indictment on them. Also, I don't have any children in the school system so this subject doesn't normally rate all that high on my list of concerns... again I'm hardly the expert.

It's just that the figures seem to me, at least, to be top heavy with administration, i.e. bureaucracy. Judging on history bureaucrats aren't all that productive so that is probably where the state should focus on for education budget cuts.

Update: Cool someone agrees with my point of view. I pulled the following off of Facebook as well from one of my FB pals...

Cutting out the education middleman

Today at 9:00am
by Clint Bolick

Last fall, voters rejected several efforts to consolidate school districts. While the supporters had a kernel of insight--it's wise to capture economies of scale--they pursued the wrong approach. Instead of making school districts bigger, we should abolish them.

School districts are obsolete, especially in a state with a student-based funding system and statewide open enrollment. Their bonding powers distort equal student funding. Their boundaries and wildly divergent sizes make little sense.

We should replace the political bureaucracies with regional service providers that would offer goods and services that can be provided more efficiently through a centralized pool, such as transportation, textbooks, insurance, accounting, and specialized services for students with special needs. Schools could purchase such services from the regional provider or privately, creating competition that would keep costs low.

At the same time, power over budgets, personnel, and educational mission should be devolved to the school level, increasing the influence of parents, teachers, and principals as well as the responsiveness of public schools to their students' needs. Each school would be able to pursue its own priorities, whether increasing teacher salaries, improving physical facilities, or providing cutting-edge technology.

Maintaining school district relics exacerbates inequality of opportunity while perpetuating an unnecessary level of bureaucracy. Abolishing school districts is a classic case of addition by subtraction. At a time when our state is urgently looking for ways to both save money and improve educational opportunity, this is one idea that accomplishes both.

Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

I might be able to find a link to this, and if I do I'll include that.

Holy Moses!!

Last week I put up a post about the demise of a proposed interchange project in the Kingman area. I'm not going to dwell on that bit of information and simply say it is what it is.

However, according to the article that covered the news of ADOT pulling the project off their 5 year plan (at least for now) there was this nugget of what I consider good news...

Fortunately for Kingman, at least one local ADOT project remains funded and will see completion sometime this summer. The repaving of the city's section of Interstate 40 from Holy Moses Wash to Rattlesnake Wash is scheduled to go out to bid on May 18, and will be awarded at the June 17 board meeting. Once the bid has been awarded, Beggs said, the pavement preservation should begin within a month.

And you know what, I'll take it. The stretch of Interstate 40 through Kingman is in horrible condition. I've recently traveled the entire length of I40 in Arizona and truly, this stretch is by far the worst. It is probably dangerous to a higher degree as well, it certainly cannot be good on tires or for vehicles.

So at least that bit of news is encouraging.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Latest podcast is up

The latest podcast on local real estate related issues (and much more) is up at Mohave Real Talk (click on that link for more). Will be recording the next installment later tonight. Give it a listen.

Bowling at the national tourney in Vegas

I spent Sunday and Monday in Las Vegas bowling in the USBC National tournament. Had a great time but didn't actually score very well. Actually it was rather humbling. Lane conditions were tough for me and I simply was not up to the challenge. So I won't be posting scores because frankly I've already done a great job at forgetting the rather forgettable scores.

The motley crew above represented Kingman (and Flagstaff)... and I think most all were all too happy to see this event come to an end for us. Maybe next year!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

That new solar power plant and the things beings said

By now most locals have already heard about the news of a $1,000,000,000 private investment venture coming to Mohave County in the form of a solar powered thermal plant.

Here are some links and some copy of some of the things being shared...

Arizona to get billion dollar solar thermal plant

Albiasa Solar of Spain and the Arizona Department of Commerce are set to announce the building of a $1 billion solar-thermal power plant near Kingman, Arizona, next year, which will provide power for up to 50,000 homes when fully operational in 2013.


The solar-thermal plant in Kingman will create 2,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, according to the Arizona Commerce Department.

Stuff we know already, but a nice photo is up at that link.

Arizona surges ahead with new $1B solar plant

The good news for Kingman and local residents is that the project should deliver 2,000 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs in the plant itself.


There is some concern that Arizona doesn’t yet have the infrastructure necessary to transmit the energy produced by the Kingman plant. But the state has hefty incentive to remedy this problem. If it can get enough solar plants up and running by next year, it should qualify for a generous chunk of the stimulus funding allocated for renewable energy sources under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act — and the jobs that will surely follow.

Jobs?? Certainly will be good news.

Energy co. to build 200MW solar power plant near Kingman

Assisted by the Arizona Department of Commerce, Albiasa's projects will create up to 2,000 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs for Arizonans.


"Arizona is a natural location for our first major US project due to the solar and transmission resources," said Jesse Tippett, Albiasa Corporation's U.S. operations director. "We look forward to doing business here, and thank the Department of Commerce and business attraction manager Verily Keenan and Mohave County for all they have done to make us welcome."


"We are excited to welcome Albiasa Corporation to Mohave County," said Gary Watson, District I Mohave County Supervisor. "This project will provide excellent jobs and substantial capital investment for our region of the state, and we anticipate Albiasa's presence will better enable us to attract additional renewable energy projects and allied operations."

Good things happen I suppose when you have an economic development program at the local government. Now the city of Kingman needs one, if anything just to help spread the word that our fair city welcomes new investment and development.

Arizona lands $1 billion solar plant

The Kingman plant will create 2,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, according to the Commerce Department.

"The arrival of Albiasa Corp. is yet another big step toward establishing Arizona as a leader in the sustainable-industries sector," Gov. Jan Brewer said.

And from one of the comments at that link...

I only wish it could have been built closer to the Valley so as to benefit our economy and not BFE Kingman. That said praise to the Europeans for figuring it out.


Wouldn't Kingman be better suited for a wind farm?


Isn't Kingman getting some of it's electricity from Boulder Dam?

The comments had me laughing and there were others so click on that link for more. I get the feeling that folks down in Phoenix don't take too kindly to us folks up 'round these here parts.

Well I applaud the Albiasa Corp. and sure do welcome them to our little humble area. I wish the project much success.

Also, I hope that the readers saw a common theme with what I shared from the links. It is precisely why I favor development and investment in our local area. Plenty of good people in our parts sure could use a few more opportunities. My sincere hope is that those who proclaim, yet won't define, 'irresponsibility' will at least begin to take note the benefits of development... especially after the clear affects of thwarting other opportunities over the last few years.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Was it worth the risk??

The risk I'm talking about was relying on the tax payers of Arizona to fund and develop a traffic interchange along Interstate 40 here in Kingman near what is popularly described as Rattlesnake Wash.

I have to admit that I haven't seen any solid reports delivered by any local media outlets (this blog is not an official media site), so all I'm going on is an eyewitness account of the mayor announcing that Rattlesnake Wash was pulled off the ADOT 5 year plan (scroll to the bottom of that link).

If the eyewitness account is true (and I have no reason to believe it is not), then this news is really bad news... but news that was not all that unexpected. For the last year or so all the reports out of the state government was that there is a budget crisis and the state basically has no money (to spend in Mohave County for primarily Mohave County citizens to be more accurate). The federal government promises money in the form of a stimulus package that is given to the state government, and the state government applies that money to projects in the Phoenix area. Really, are you shocked??

I have been supporting both this proposed interchange and another one referred to as Kingman Crossing since I first heard of them (many years now). Both projects would mean opportunity for our community. Both now are severly threatened by all kinds of forces, espeically economic forces.

I ask if it was worth the risk to rely on the state taxpayer because if the news is correct, now there won't be an interchange in 2014 (or thereabouts) that will connect the Interstate to the airport area, or even connect the southeast bench area to an almost finished hospital that is in clear eye shot of the residents that live on that side of town. This was THE project that had the promise of better than retail paying jobs. It was also the project that would have led to more truck stops being built (if that is your bag, baby).

So now what?? Well first, I hope and pray that the reports are false or that someone at ADOT was simply having a bad hair day and today or tomorrow come out to fess up and say 'my bad'.

The state taxpayers just told us 'NO'. Our local risk was relying on the state taxpayer to pick up 70% of the Rattlesnake Wash project. Highly doubtful that the Kingman taxpayer will step in to pick up that portion, and frankly I wasn't too confident that they would pick up the other 30% portion either.

Meanwhile there has been this other deal in the works for some time. A deal that if negotiated correctly would put the onus of risk and financing on some other entity other than the tax payer of Kingman, Mohave County, or Arizona. And that would only be one way to make that project move forward. Another idea all along has been to sell the property on the south side of I40 (the 168 acres that the city of Kingman owns) to a private property owner and use the funds to help pay for projects that will bring growth opportunities, no doubt jobs, and many other benefits to the community.

Kingman and the powers that be have whiffed badly so far on opportunities that would have not saddled the city or its community residents with that much risk. Will it turn around?? Well I think the count is no balls and two strikes at this point. But as any good hitter knows, there is still a chance to hit a home run.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Coffee at the college...

I get emails on occasion from a local lender that is putting on a bit of a seminar dealing with credit, lending, and various other financial stuff. Since it is a free seminar I thought it would be nice to at least pass along the information so that if you have any questions at this time (thinking of buying a home and need financing, that type of thing) you could check it out.

Come to this Free Consumer Couseling Seminar and get Pre-Qualified to buy a home!

You can find out at the end of the seminar when you can go /SHOPPING/ for your NEW HOME!

Let us show you how to take advantage of the **First Time Home Buyers Credit (up to $8,000) Stimulus Rebate** and the unbelievable LOW interest rates!!

The seminar is this Wednesday night out at Mohave Community College (1971 Jaegerson Ave.) from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Lisa Davenport of Premier Mortgage is the hostess and you can reach her at email address ldavenport 'at' to RSVP if you are interested in attending.

Coming for rural water resources...

A very interesting column appeared in the Miner yesterday. Click here to see all of it. Below is the meat and potatoes of it and how us folks not located in Maricopa County could eventually be affected.

As we look to develop our vast groundwater reserves - the only remaining water available to us - SRP's response (and the central Arizona interests it represents) is to claim they own this water supply, not us. SRP's idea of returning the favor to rural Arizona is to pick off our communities one at a time, dictating how much water we can have and where we can get it. For example, SRP prevented Payson from accessing local groundwater supplies, capped William's groundwater withdrawals at 700 acre-feet of water per year, and is attacking the water rights of individual property owners in the Verde and Salt River watersheds.

Now they are coming after Prescott and Prescott Valley. By defining surface water in a way unrecognized by any state court, SRP is challenging the communities' ability to pump groundwater from a well field more than 20 miles from the Upper Verde River. If we apply SRP's definition of surface water, every groundwater well in the state is at risk.

SRP information can be found at this link.

I wrote a couple of years back about how the main threat to water resources in our area actually wasn't new development in our area... it is new development in another part of Arizona. The author is making a pretty good case, don't you think??

And sure, while none of the above mentions Mohave County, you just have to know that if SRP and other Maricopa County interests want to make it so... they will. To me it is more concerning that any new developer with grand designs here in this county (specifically in and around the Kingman area).

Rural Arizona must pay attention to what is happening here. SRP has set its sights on controlling every drop of water in the state, with little or no regard to the needs of our rural communities. If SRP wins the battle with Prescott and Prescott Valley over the Big Chino Water Ranch Project, they will lock up all the groundwater and with it, rural Arizona's economic future.

The groundwater here in Mohave County will either help fuel the growth and therefore the economy here more locally... or it will help fuel the growth and local economy of another area of the state.

What SRP is doing to rural Arizona is not right. It is not fair. SRP should take a lesson from our battles with California over the Colorado River; water is to be shared - not owned. The biggest straw in the system should not dictate how we manage the state's precious water supplies. It is time for rural Arizona to unite on this issue and send a clear message to SRP that it doesn't get to control all the water in Arizona. It is SRP's turn to work with rural Arizona to ensure that we all have the water supplies we need to sustain our futures.

Nicely done and I hope folks around here are up to it.

More new potential taxes in the works...

Ah... the state of Arizona this time. The following is copied from a newsletter I get called the Capitol Insider.

Currently Arizona imposes a retail sales tax on all tangible items, except
those specifically exempted by law. Services are generally not subject to the sales tax.

However the state is now considering extending the sales tax to include services as the state grapples with its severe fiscal crisis.

This week Tom Farley, AAR’s CEO and Chief Lobbyist, has been down at the Capitol lobbying against a tax on services.

He reports that it has been a frustrating process to say the least! To cut to the chase, the mantra of broaden the base and lower the sales tax rate has moved from a slogan to a very real potential tax policy.

And the strongest proponent of taxing services – a Republican REALTOR® who is the Chairman of a powerful committee in the state legislature!

If this new tax passes a number of services used when property transfers ownership, all of which are already paying income taxes, would again be taxed including the services provided by the REALTOR®, the title company, the home inspector, the surveyor, the escrow company, the real estate appraiser, the marketing materials and advertisements created by the printers, the home d├ęcor staging vendors, the lending institution mortgage, etc.

In this type of economy, the services people use from the business sector are necessary, not optional. Just think of all the services that would be affected by this new tax—health services, child care, elder care, child tutoring, auto repair, funeral services, plumbing repairs, etc.

There are some who believe that by taxing services and getting rid of business taxes, they will create new jobs here in Arizona. All taxing services will accomplish is increase the tax load on Arizona’s citizens because even more consumer purchases will be taxed.
Unbelievable. The problems we face are due to overspending, not under-collecting.

Monday, April 20, 2009

City Council Liveblogging...

I'm watching the show via the city website. You can also find a link to tonight's agenda at the same place. I will try to update this blog with my observations as events unfold.

I like reading other live blogging events (such as presidential speeches, debates, etc.) and just thought I'd bring the experience down to a more local level. Last time I tried something like this I found it more difficult than imagined and settled for a review of the meeting instead. Maybe I'll be able to keep up this time.

Here goes...

5:54pm... I'm looking in now on the live link, not on the first try though. Hoping for good internetz tonight.

5:58pm... I have audio, still no video yet. Sounds busy there. AND now I'm getting some hesitations in the audio.

6:00pm... Mayor starts the meeting.

6:03pm... Looks like a ticket scalper was needed to get in.

6:04pm... awards and proclamations time. First up the folks that make up the 'Volunteers in Policing' service program. 15 fine community member will be recognized including former fellow city council candidate Harley Petit. Well done folks and thank you.

6:09pm... Mayor reads proclamations about May being Route 66 Appreciation month. Then the week of April 13th through 19th this year as National Animal Control Appreciation week.

6:12pm... yucks -- having video link issues.

6:15pm... at the end of the animal control part, Ray Lyons pointed out that this proclamation came a bit late.

6:15pm... Call to the Public: First up, (I didn't get the name) brings up that this isn't a good time to raise taxes.

6:16pm... Next up Tom Spear, former city council member. Sounds like a report on the RT. 66 Fun Run and other Rt. 66 Association information. Talked about a workshop held in Flagstaff on issue of forming a scenic highways (or bye ways??).

6:20pm... Next up Harley Petit -- announcing the next Town Hall meeting at the Library next week.

6:21pm... Paulette Dollarhide (sp??) from a volunteer food bank spoke on their efforts. She was great.

6:26pm... didn't get the name but a nice lady says that people should use local contractors. Evoked our president who calls for change.

6:28pm... again, didn't get the name, but this nice lady is talking about the KART service, apparently she heard that KART service might end. Appealing to council to keep the service. (I only heard that service on Saturdays was going to be cut)

6:29pm... consent agenda time. Passed.

6:30pm... Item G on agenda. Rattlesnake Wash related so Mayor and Councilperson Deering excuse themselves.

6:40pm... a discussion clarifying the difference between the ADOT agreement verbiage and Kingman's resolution wording. Is it an up to amount or an estimate?? Council approves the agenda item, 4 to 1 with 2 abstentions.

6:41pm... Mayor moves item 7a, under new business, to this part of the meeting. This is the agenda item about the 2010 Census. Government has hired 200 people in Mohave County to map properties (@ $12/hr and .55 cents a mile). Interesting... but long... presentation.

6:54pm... Still the Census gal, but the video link seems strong at this time and has been since the the last time I commented about it.

6:56pm... Item number 6b is also being moved up on the agenda. Public auction of a parcel out at the airport.

6:58pm... bidding opened. Going once... going twice... sold to a company that will be making custom VODKA's!! They will have tours!! Sign me up.

7:00pm... back on agenda -- item 6a under old business. Economic development stuff expanding the numbers of members on the EDTC from 7 to 9. Council agreed.

7:02pm... agenda item 6c under old business. This is the ordinance involving car repair shops. Would allow repairs outside of an enclosed structure as long as work was complete by end of business day. Tabled to make a change in the wording.

7:18pm... council approves selling water to a rural water company at a wholesale rate for an emergency period of time. Item 7b on the agenda... the agenda is all over the place. I shouldn't have left the room to check scores.

7:19pm... Item 7c, change of special event permit process. Mayor says that public gatherings like the Tea Party would not be affected by this change in the process. Heard some 'conspiracy' talk about this earlier over the weekend... council is putting that talk to bed. A preemptive strike so to say. City attorney says that this permit process does not infringe on the First Amendment.

7:23pm... It just hit me... all this particular discussion puts the 'back room deal' talk to shame.

7:29pm... Way too much government exists. Council et al is discussion all the different permits that an organization needs to put on a special event. Way too much government.

7:30pm... Our buddy Loyd is speaking on this issue. Shocking... Loyd has issues with the ordinance. Give 'em heck Loyd.

7:32pm... Loyd is getting a lesson on law.

7:38pm... Subject to interpretation -- yeah, I'll say. This is probably an important discussion, but I have to make a phone call. I'll be back.

7:46pm... I'm back and see that Mike Bihuniak is up. It looked like there was a big laugh about something, but I wasn't listening at that moment.

7:50pm... issue tabled. I appreciate the efforts of the council on that, but I think they were overdoing it.

7:51pm... okay -- budget talk. Taxes, bond issues, raises... oh my!! Can this issue live up to the billing??

7:54pm... Development investment fee discussion (i.e. impact fees). Interesting discussion... what is being learned is that impact fees can be reduced without the city having to do another study.

8:02pm... Yikes, depending on how things actually have transpired over the years on this issue there might be some unhappy people (that have wanted to reduce impact fees for instance).

8:07pm... moving on to city employee raise issue. This is Ray Lyons' baby all the way I think.

8:10pm... sounds like Council member Deering is on board.

8:12pm... Council member Watson gets some applause by basically saying that she'd not want to see raises go out if it means that other employee positions would get cut.

8:14pm... Council member Young says she rather not give raises now to save other city jobs... same as Watson basically. Good points.

8:16pm... Council member Walker is not on board. Mayor not either it sounds like. Council member Gordon wants to give recognition and maybe an extra paid holiday.

8:17pm... Motion to take out this item (raise) for the next budget, a second... tough decision by the council. Not fun. Motion passes 4-3.

8:20pm... KART gets no cuts.

8:34pm... sales tax issue up now. Council will be asking for an ordinance for the tax increase.

8:35pm... council calls for a special meeting on bond issues.

And with that I'm out. I need to eat dinner. It was fun though.

Just like old times, perhaps??

It was just a couple of short years ago where one could find incredible entertainment events here in Kingman a couple of times a month, these events were also known as City Council meetings.

I remember getting to the small meeting room about a half and hour early just to get a seat to view the festivities. As the meeting room would fill up one could feel the temperature rise to the point where you'd wish they'd turn on the misting system (oh... they don't have that in that room, my bad). As the gavel fell at the six o'clock hour the room would be packed to standing room only status, with many others standing outside the meeting area as well.

At that point an attendee knew it was just a few mere moments until cries of "crooks", "back room deals", "show me the emails", "don't sell the well sites", and "free fruit flavored slushies for everyone" would fill the chambers (okay, I'm joking about the last quoted inclusion).

Well entertainment like this may be appearing again tonight at the City Council meeting room. On the agenda are topics that include increasing taxes (sales taxes and room taxes), city employee raises, and perhaps another important issue or two.

See these articles from the Kingman Daily Miner here and here. Some good comments appear at the bottom of the first link (probably be some doozies on the latter as well as the day moves along).

I won't be there to take a seat a half hour before the meeting. Instead I think that I'll be live blogging the meeting right here at MOCO instead (unless the hockey games on TV are really good). But I do expect a good showing in turnout, and can't wait for both the public imput as well as the comments by the elected leaders. This sure is a difficult time and many difficult decisions are in the offing.

One bit of advice if you are planning to attend in person, bring a personal misting system and a fan. Looks like it might be a warm day which will turn up the heat inside the chambers. To say nothing about all the hot air that might likely be exchanged during the meeting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mohave Real Talk....

Some time ago I promised myself that I would start doing some other forms of communications besides simply typing away here on this blog. Luckily I found another person that had agreed to help out and together we put together a podcast.

Click on this link to listen to the first ever podcast I've been a part of at Mohave Real Talk.

Evan and Todd introduce the podcast, how they got started blogging, and then do a quick update on the Bullhead City and Kingman markets.

It was only the first one and there are some bugs to work out as we move along, but I want to thank Evan Fuchs from the Bullhead City Blog for all the hard work. And I do mean all the hard work.

We hope to have more podcasts to share (and I believe we have scheduled some time today to make that happen and I will post when it is available).

Kingman's Tea Party

The Tea Party event held in Kingman on April 15th looked like a nice event and the comments I have received in my email say that the number of people that showed up was in the 200 to 300 range for the time period the event lasted. Not bad considering is was fairly cold and windy (I saw snow flurries that afternoon).

I wish to thank Paul Frankfurter for allowing me to post the photos he and his wife took at the event.

You can also find more photos here at links here and here.

Another email report from neighboring city, Lake Havasu, had a couple of thousand folks show up at their event. Wow!! Congrats to them. Here is a link to an article about that.

Oh... and one last thing... for the editor of the Miner... didn't see any white sheets worn by the attendees and no crosses were torched. Guess you got that one wrong too. Apology from you... ASAP.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Q1 2008 vs. Q1 2009

I mentioned at the bottom of the March sales report that I'd be following up with a comparison report pitting the first quarter of 2008 against the first quarter of 2009 in total sales and other data points. I put together a series of tables that follow here to offer a glance at how things have changed in the last year.

First of all, it is a no brainer that foreclosures have made a serious impact on the housing market in Kingman. I wasn't collecting foreclosure specific data until the month of June 2008 so I had to recreate the first quarter data from 2008. I found only a couple of differences from the data I collected last year in the first quarter, but I did not ferret out those differences. At this point it would be like finding a needle in a haystack and because the data in the MLS is subject to Member submission of data it is not a surprise to find a change or two.

So for this comparison I simply used the report I ran for the first quarter of 2008 and am letting the reader know that there are two more reported sales in the data set than there were in my data collections from that time period that appeared in my reports from last year.

If you give this comparison a chance you will see some eye popping information. So lets begin... after the disclaimer of course...

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

I didn't include average house data like bedrooms, square footage, and age of the average home. The differences in averages for each different category reported below were negligible. Basically the sales and marketing data for the houses sold on average showed a home that had 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a two car garage, that was built in the mid 90's, with at least 1,500 square feet of living space.

First up I compare ALL Sales in quarter 1 of 2008 to ALL sales in quarter 1 2009.

Year over year data First Quarter SALES

All Sales
ItemQ1 2008
Q1 2009
Percentage Change
Total Unit Sales 85146
Average Sold Price
Median Price
Total Dollar Volume Sold
Average Price per Square Foot
Days on Market to Contract
Total Days on Market to Sale

I know that I've said things like the following before on this blog, but I'll repeat anyway...

Right now this market is actually good for real estate agents -- real estate brokers -- Realtors -- and/or anyone that is offering real estate related services in exchange for fees and/or other forms of commission. Why?? Unit sales are up as compared to the previous year. Maybe, just maybe, more of us in this industry will be able to put something other than Top Ramen on the dinner table this year. I know I just typed that this market is good for agents and the rest, but maybe a better viewpoint is that this market is better than terrible -- which it clearly was last year.

Most folks though, especially those that hate the real estate related service industry, don't really care about how the market is for us. I get that.

So what about buyers in this market?? Well, because there were 72% more buyers in the first three months of this year compared to last, I'd say the market is getting better for buyers... based on price and affordability. So is this a buyers market?? My answer to that is... depends on the buyer. Clearly though more buyers are saying yes to this market.

So what about sellers?? Well if the seller is a bank ridding itself of non-performing assets losing large percentages of investment dollars and paying huge costs of managing those portfolios, maybe. I'll leave that to the banks to decide. For traditional sellers?? Really don't need to offer up an opinion on that picture.

So let's take a look at foreclosure sales ONLY from last year (Q1 2008) compared to this year (Q1 2009)...

Year over year data First Quarter SALES

All 'Foreclosure' Sales Only
ItemQ1 2008
Q1 2009
Percentage Change
Total Unit Sales 3186
Average Sold Price
Median Price
Total Dollar Volume Sold
Average Price per Square Foot
Days on Market to Contract
Total Days on Market to Sale

Here is your game changer and the leader in the move of the market. Banks are selling non-performing assets at an increased rate of 177% compared to last year. Prices are off around 23% from the looks of it. That decrease in price attracted a buyer in just less than a half a month sooner than the year before.

The increase in unit sales for foreclosures is also attributed to the fact there are more on the market at this time than there were in the year prior, but still there is no doubt that foreclosures moved the market and appealed to buyers.. Also interesting to note is that there were more overall listings available last Q1 (in 2008) than this year (2009) by a rough average of 140 to 150 units in Q1 months.

So these non-human banks managed to increase sales in units over two and a half times, conceded price at a rate of 23% (thereabouts), and cut the marketing and sales time by 19 and 16 days. The non-human banks clearly set the pace.

So let us now see how the traditional sellers stacked up against each other year over year in the first quarter. The following table only shows data comparing traditional sales (think human sellers).

Year over year data First Quarter SALES

All 'Traditional Sellers' Sales Only
ItemQ1 2008
Q1 2009
Percentage Change
Total Unit Sales 5460
Average Sold Price
Median Price
Total Dollar Volume Sold
Average Price per Square Foot
Days on Market to Contract
Total Days on Market to Sale

Traditional sellers adjusted their price concessions at the same rate, 23 percent, as the banks did but only saw marginal improvements in terms of sales in units and improved marketing and sales time.

Meager at best. The 23% concession brought traditional sellers an average of six days improvement in marketing time, yet were lagging bank owned sales marketing time by nearly two months (two months of mortgage payments, two months of utility costs, etc.).

To top that off, production was up in unit sales but not by much, certainly not as impressive as the increase in production the banks enjoyed, if the banks want to call it enjoyment.

I still maintain that there is a premium for a well kept single family home that should be expected for traditional sellers, especially for those that don't come with that 'weird cat urine smell' that comes with some of the foreclosure homes that I've experienced with my buyer clients (the words of a past client, not mine, but a useful description nonetheless). Yet what the comparative numbers suggest, buyers are more willing to take on the challenges that may come with a foreclosed home at the vastly discounted price.

One other factor to consider is that some of these traditional sellers sales fall under the category of 'short sales'. Before you ask I did not mine that data out in this report and really don't have any intention of doing so. Short sales often take more time to close escrow, but seeing that the time to get a contract was basically the same as closing the sale on average, short sales were probably not as prevalent for traditional sellers in either year in the first quarter.

Part three of this report will deal with short sales... look for it in the coming days.

The last comparison I wanted to make was ALL of last years quarter 1 sales compared to ONLY the foreclosure sales of quarter 1 this year. Obviously this years foreclosure sales will have major advantages over ALL sales from last year in terms of price and marketing/close of escrow time, but the units sold figure will show that without the foreclosures the market probably would not look any better for anyone at all.

Year over year data First Quarter SALES

All Q1 2008 Sales vs. All Q1 'Foreclosure' Sales
ItemQ1 2008
Q1 2009
Percentage Change
Total Unit Sales 8586
Average Sold Price
Median Price
Total Dollar Volume Sold
Average Price per Square Foot
Days on Market to Contract
Total Days on Market to Sale

Banks are gettin' it done... and my guess is that they will continue to do so until the tide of distressed property recedes. How might that happen??

Well, if you are a distressed property owner facing the prospect of foreclosure, bankruptcy, or something else (like wanting to move out but find yourself owing more principle on your mortgage than what the current housing market will bear)... there are options that could lead to fewer foreclosures in this market.

The federal government seems intent on offering the chance to rework your mortgage with your lender for a lower and more affordable payment, as of yet I have seen nothing solid (I will link to some emails that I have been collecting that describe what the most current plan is... it seems to change week to week).

You could start the mortgage modification process with your lender on your own without waiting for some government plan. You probably should seek out some help with that from an attorney or some other agent/advisor. Please be careful as there are reports of fraudsters and other ne'er-do-wells out there. If you're already in a tough situation, getting the wrong advice will make it worse. I'm not in the mortgage modification biz, nor do I intend to be, so I really don't or can't offer advice on this front.

Other options include... and it just an option... selling your property for as much as you can and if you still end up on the bad side of owing more than your principle than the proceeds of the sale, bringing that upside down amount to the closing table to close the deal. Could be affordable if you are only talking a few thousand dollars, if you have it... probably not realistic in most cases though that involve high dollar amounts.

If you are like most folks in the situation though, the above isn't a real option. Still, there is the short sale route. Below are a couple of links from earlier blog posts I've written... and there will be another on this subject in the coming days, as stated earlier.

Still other things to contemplate would be to rent out the home (but check with the lender and your home owners insurance provider before doing so) as a possibility... there's always waiting until the market values return to your benefit (when that may happen though is anyone's guess, anyone's guess other than mine)... maybe family members can help... and maybe some faith... and maybe just plain old luck.

Beyond any of what you might do, the only other thing I can imagine is an influx of new residents moving to the Kingman area with the ability to afford the homes listed on the market for above current market prices and even above premium market prices. After all, to some our premium prices could look like drastically discounted prices compared to wherever it is they may come from... in this vein I'm thinking about a possible exodus from Kal-ee-FOR-nee-AH and all their new state taxes and IOU's instead of tax returns. Maybe a remote possiblity that could stem the tide of more foreclosures having the impact they clearly have had over the last year. Holding my breath though, I am not.

I doubt that I will attempt to do a quarter to quarter comparison on a regular basis (it was lots of work) but I thought it was important to share with you the results of my curiosity into the changes of the market brought on by lower prices and more foreclosure sales. As always, I'm hoping for better markets, but only the markets will tell us when better days can be shared by all. While currently the market may be better for some, it is clearly still worse on others.

Related posts:

March Sales Report (2009)

Short Sales: Part 1

Short Sales: Part 2

Monday, April 13, 2009

"That ball is outta here!!"

This is to the Philadelphia Fan To Laud your passion as best I can
Your loyalty is unsurpassed Be the Fightins in first or last
We come to the park each day Looking forward to another fray
Because we know you'll be there We know you really care
You give the opposing pitcher fits Because as one loyalist shouts, "Everybody hits"
To be sure in Philly, there might be some boos Because you passionate fans, like the manager, hate to lose
Your reaction to the action on the field that you impart Spurs us as broadcasters to call the game with enthusiasm and heart
We feel your passion through and through
Philadelphia fans, I love you.

“Swing and a long drive, there it is, number 500! The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!”

"65,000 plus on their feet here at Veterans Stadium. The Tugger needs one more...Swing and a miss! Yes, he struck him out! Yes, they did it! The Phillies are world champions! World champions of baseball! It's pandemonium at Veterans Stadium! All of the fans are on their feet. This city has come together behind a baseball team!...Phillies are world champions! This city knows it! This city loves it!"

"One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on the their feet; rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season! 48-for-48 in save opportunities, and watch the city celebrate! Don't let the 48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment, and the celebration. And it has been 28 years since the Phillies have enjoyed a World Championship; 25 years in this city with a team that has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night!"

Phillies Phorever!!

Don't forget about the Tea-Party on Wednesday...

See this website for more information as to the when and the where's...

But I guess I should warn the folks that are thinking of attending. You see a comment appeared in the Sunday edition of the Kingman Daily Miner... an ugly one at that. I'll get to that comment in a second.

The Tea-Party movement has taken place all across this country in a very organic and mostly spontaneous way. From my reading and understanding, there is very little organization going into the protests. The first Tea-Parties saw a couple of hundred folks show up in large cities holding informal demonstrations complete with homemade signs. Now I am seeing reports of thousands of people showing up in larger cities and hundreds more in smaller locations.

These are not republican or democrat demonstrations. They are not backed by wealthy individual political activists (like a George Soros backed deal). The republican party is not sponsoring or organizing these events, in fact republican party leader Michael Steele was asked NOT to show up at a recent Tea-Party event.

Here in Kingman on April 1 there was a Tea-Party and now later this week (Wednesday) there will be another one -- just one of many hundreds and maybe even thousands that will be held on 'tax day', if you will.

Hmmm... 'tax day'... hundreds or maybe even thousands of Tea-Party protests all over the country... what, I say, what just might be the theme of these protests??

Well the editor of the Kingman Daily Miner believes that these events have one common theme...

As if we didn't have enough problems with our government trying to give us the shaft, we now have a growing group of tea-baggers intent on making sure every American is scared crazy about pretty much everything. I would love to be there when these Henny Pennys discover that they really don't have much in common except that they all hate the fact that a black man is running (ruining!) the country.

That is right, he believes that if you are attending any Tea-Party anywhere across this country you have a problem with a black man running the country. Way to play the preemptive race card there pal. Disgusting.

In reality, if you were to read the rest of his column, you'd see that the editor is a fine candidate to join the folks at the Tea-Party. No... not because he himself is a racist because I doubt he is (I really don't know the man other than I know he is a Denver Broncos fan) and I would never call him a racist preemptively the way he just called hundreds of thousands of Americans. Actually why he would do well at this protest is because he is fed up with the decisions the governments (national on down to local) are making with our tax money...

... which is the entire point and theme of the Tea-Party movement.

Well I won't be holding my breath waiting for an apology from the editor of our local paper, but he should man up and offer one... at the Tea-Party on Wednesday (it's doubtful he'd even send a photographer or a reporter to cover the event even).

No matter though, the event is about us US citizens and our not feeling so swell with how the governments are spending money they don't have now and asking future generations to pay off these enormous debts.

I hope my schedule affords me the time to be at our local Tea-Party, and hopefully you can make it there too if you have some disagreement with how government is using our money at this time.

You can find contact information for the editor of the Miner here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

March Sales Report (2009)

Well it is that time again and I'm a couple of days late getting this report done and published (I have been 'on the road again'). The numbers, again last month, are very interesting to say the least. Some main numbers -- like the total number of sales -- look very good but that number alone does not tell the entire story. The spread between the traditional sellers and foreclosure sales is widening and that is not good for traditional sellers (humans vs. non human banks).

So lets get to those funky charts and telling tables... after the disclaimer of course...

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

Listings and sales in units chart:

Hoo-ray!! the units sold number is dramatically up compared to the last two years (as we'll see later)... but darn it if we can't seem to make substantial gains on the gap between new listings and units sold. This is still a big problem that only time is going to cure and until then my bet is that we will still see declining values (at worst) or flat-lined values (at best).

Average listings and sales averages chart:

This is what I mean by flat-lined values, look back over the last four months and three of them show an average sale figure beginning with $125k. Maybe this is a bottom, maybe not. The good news is that new listing average figures are moving closer to the average sale figure. Hopeful sellers seem to be responding to the market conditions. Closing this gap is good, but closing the gap in the first chart above would be better.

Also just want to throw this in there... the foreclosure sales and listings are having a big impact as we will see a bit later.

2006 through 2009 unit sales chart:

I'll be brutally honest with everyone here on this chart... do you know who is breathing the biggest sign of some relief looking at this data?? Realtors, that's who. Why?? Because sales in units are up and to this point killing the numbers from the last two years. Two tough years for many in this industry. The 'sucky' thing is though... Realtors really only have the banks (non-humans) to thank for the increased production.

But others might see the benefit of the increased number of sales as it does mean that homes are selling in greater numbers in the Kingman area, buyers are buying (which means lenders are lending and so on and so forth).

Compared to the previous year, unit sales are up 63%.

2006 through 2009 average price chart:

Last month I said I wasn't ready to call a 'bottom' for prices... and I'm still not but it is nice to see prices hold basically for the last four months. This little bounce back means I won't have to adjust the scale on this chart just yet (and I hope I don't have to -- but only the market knows for sure).

Compared to last year the average price dropped 18.5%.

2006 through 2009 median price chart:

The median sales price is off from last year ONLY 20% from last year... yep, I said ONLY. I'm expecting something more next month.

The price range of all sales in March 2009 was from $35,000 - $305,000

Average SFR statistics:

Data tables for all sales tracked in March 2009

Price Data
ItemMar. '09
Average Price per Unit Sold $125,878
Median Price per Unit Sold $110,000
Average Price per Square Foot $79

House Data
Item Mar. '09
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,599
Year Built 1996

Marketing Data
ItemMar. '09
Days on Market to Contract 92
Days on Market to Close 128
Price Reductions on Market $13,333
Negotiated Price Concessions $6,326
Total Price Concessions $19,659
Total Percent Conceded

Bonus Charts:

Eh... buyers may not have done as well last month... but they are still doing pretty well in negotiations.

Foreclosure Impact:

Here we are going to see some alarming spreads as bank owned foreclosures dominated the sales market with 60% of the sales in March. March Madness alright.

Traditional Seller vs. Bank Owned sales comparison for March 2009

Price Data
ItemTraditional Seller
Bank Owned
Total Units Sold in Month
Average Price per Unit Sold $163,692$100,328
Median Price per Unit Sold $134,950$92,450
Average Price per Square Foot $99$64

House Data
Item Traditional SellerBank Owned
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,6571,559
Year Built 20001993

Marketing Data
ItemTraditional Seller Bank Owned
Days on Market to Contract 12768
Days on Market to Close 163104
Price Reductions on Market $15,124$10,446
Negotiated Price Concessions $9,133$6,106
Total Price Concessions $24,257$16,552
Total Percent Conceded13%

Traditional sellers held their own in terms of value as compared to the banks. This was the largest 'premium' gap between traditional sellers and bank owned foreclosures so far since I started gathering and comparing this sort of data. Probably an anomaly, but it should be a concern to anyone concerned about the value of their property -- even if there is no intent on selling property. If the gap between sales in units continues to widen (in March it was a 60-40 split between bank owned vs. traditional sellers), values will continue to fall.

Banks are aggressively pushing new listing prices further down in what appears to be some sort of free for all competition between bank vs. bank. Take another look at the marketing data table above... whatever the banks are doing it is working. Banks are getting contracts in half the time that traditional sellers are... and only conceding about the same percentage of price as traditional sellers.

For the sales that closed in March traditional sellers need on average two more months of marketing time... two more mortgage payments, two more months of utility costs, two more months of wondering if their property would sell... and many, many more traditional sellers are sitting on the market waiting even longer.

I will be following up with a couple of supplemental posts on these issues in coming days. One is going to be a comparison of the first quarter sales compared to last years first quarter. However I'm only going to compare the foreclosure sales of 2009 Q1 to all of Q1 sales in 2008. The other post will be about the advantage to traditional sellers of perhaps going the route of short selling instead of letting the foreclosure taking place. Why it is good for the sellers, as compared to getting foreclosed on or even bankruptcy, and why it is good for the values for existing property owners who don't intend on selling in the near future and therefore the community.

It is great to be back after a couple of weeks on the road. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Still away, but finding good stuff to read...

And obviously share. Hope to be back soon but for now... according to this article don't count out the suburbs just yet. In some ways I think that Kingman is like a suburb so this is appropriate. As always read the whole thing but I'll share this...

Nor is this merely a Californian phenomenon. Nationwide, existing home sales -- predominately in the suburbs -- have been on the rise for the last few months. The strongest growth is occurring in Sunbelt markets in Arizona, Nevada and Florida, as well as in California. These places experienced some of the greatest surges in prices, which forced many buyers to turn to subprime and interest-only loans.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The local Tea Party...

Sorry I missed it due to prior obligations, here's a couple of photos but see more at the MohaveTeaParty site.

I got this email from Donna about the local Tea Party...

Sorry you missed it, if I get more in I will send them to you. It actually
went very well for what it was for. People started showing up at 9:00.
There was never an overwhelming crowd there but around 1:00, Bruce, my
husband went to drop of a table for the dj and couldn't find a parking
place! By the time I got there at 2:30 there were around thirty that I
counted. By 4:00 we lost some and gained some more. There were about 20 of
us still out there at 6:00. So for an all day protest, it went well.

There will be another one on the 15th. This time the focus more defined,
(taxes and spending) and only for a set number of hours,(probably 4). There
should be a good turn out for this since everyone will be more into what
they are really doing. We had people coming into the park from hearing it
on the radio, pulling over to find out just what it was and etc. which was
really good. A lady showed up on her bicycle a little after 5, said she
lived downtown and her husband had just gotten home from work and told her
to get down there, so she made a couple of signs grabbed the kids and came
on down.

It was great.


Still on the road...

Stopped by this monument today and snapped this photo...

... always with Arizona on my mind.

Was also here...

... the world famous Corn Palace folks. Kingman represents at the Corn Palace!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

March Listings Report (2009)

This months listing report comes from snowy Minnesota. All the data points are included but not as much time to comment on the data.

Some big changes for the numbers for March. You'll see below that in terms of putting single family homes under contract, this last March is the new record holder by my historical data I've been collecting since 2006 (I didn't collect and keep 'pending contract' information until 2006). This number is big and it was fueled by the fact that 31 of the 88 new contracts were written on new listings taken in March.

So activity is up. What is the catch??

Prices are down. New listing prices are off from the previous month a noticeable amount, but the significant change in prices were on the new contracts written in March. Be sure to closely look at the price figures in the tables below.

While I'm not the sort of Realtor that is going to crow that "now is the best time to buy", but if you have saved up some down payment money and have good credit... now is a fine time to see if you can get the deal on a property that makes sense to you. The data I'm following and reporting on looks as good as ever when you include prices and activity.

Getting a strong feeling that 2009 will be a busy year. Here 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.

Data tables for all new listings tracked in the month of March 2009

As of April 1 Total Listings on Market
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Listings On Market
482 510
Total Listings Listed as Foreclosed
63 66

New Listing Data
Item Month of March Previous Month
New Listings Total
114 104
New Listings Listed as Foreclosed
44 33
Average Asking Price Per Unit
$156,035 $169,214
Median Asking Price
$129,900 $135,150
Average Asking Price Per Square Foot
$97 $102
Units Re-Listed
Units Already Under Contract

New Listing House Data
Item Month of March Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,612 1,649
Bedrooms 3.09 3.16
Bathrooms 2.06 2.1
Year Built

Price Range of New Listings in March
Item Lowest Highest

The average asking price per square foot broke the $100 barrier. Again, sellers hitting the market have broken the barrier that both sales and new contracts have months ago. Sellers are responding... and being led down the path by the foreclosures (which have been listed on average for less than $100 a square foot for months).

Total listings fell even though new listings for March increased from the previous month. The number that jumped out at me was the 31 new contracts taken on 114 new listings in March. Thats a pretty good clip.

Data tables for all new Units under contract tracked in the month of March 2008

As of April 1 Total Units Under Contract
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Units Under Contract
125 106
Total Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
62 55

Units Under Contract Data
Item Month of March Previous Month
New Contracts Total
88 62
New Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
47 34
Average Marketing Price Per Unit
$109,682 $137,313
Median Marketing Price
$102,125 $119,500
Average Marketing Price Per Square Foot
$73 $86
Days on Market to Acquire a Contract
Average Marketing Price Reduction

New Units Under Contract House Data
Item Month of March Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,496 1,586
Bedrooms 3.08 3.05
Bathrooms 2 2.1
Year Built

Price Range of New Pending Contracts in March
Item Lowest Highest

Foreclosures are still leading the way and making the dramatic impacts on the numbers of new contracts taken last month. The average price drop is significant and keep in mind that the figure represents the average marketing price of the properties under contract... these properties likely conceded even more in the negotiations and we won't know those final numbers until they are posted on the sales reports once they close escrow. The price drop was huge but if I take just the foreclosed data the new contract average marketing price for March was $96,092... five figure days are back for single family homes, en masse.

Year over year data listings/pending contracts

unit/dollar amount
Total Listings DOWN161
New Listings in March
Average Price per New Listing
Median List Price

Pending Contracts
ItemUP/DOWNunit/dollar amountPercentage
Total Pending Contracts UP
New Contracts for MarchUP32
Average Marketing Price per Unit
Median Marketing Price DOWN$67,775

If you are outside looking in, this year looks much better than last year. Listing units down, listing prices down. New contracts up, new contract prices way down.

Sellers and potential sellers... obviously prices have dropped significantly and it is likely that this price drop has eaten away any equitable position you might have had on your home. You are not alone, Realtors are not immune to this problem either. You might consider a short sale if you have to sell. Contact me for more information.

Lastly, I know it is Tea Party day in Kingman today. I wish I could be there but this trip was scheduled before I knew about the Tea Party event. I'm there in spirit. Give 'em heck folks (just don't be the crazies like the protesters at the G20).

See you next month.