Wednesday, September 16, 2009

August Sales Report (2009)

Well here is to the first sales report from New Mexico. Truth be told, I've done some of these reports from other parts of the country before so nothing brand new here. However my main challenge this time is I'm still setting up my computers here in NM and I've not established a new 'routine' if you will. This is why this report comes out today about a week later than normal.

And unfortunately the data in this report is not as hoped. For the first time this year the total number of sales in units in the month is lower than it was in the previous year. There was good news in the listing report earlier this month that showed plenty of activity, meaning a good number of homes going into contract -- but for whatever reason that activity has not equaled success in the number of sales. Let's see the numbers... 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:

As you can see the numbers on the red line in the graph indicate that the total number of sales topped out in June of this year. I was surprised to see the number fall to 53 for the month of August, normally a strong month for sales. Last year August proved to be the best month for sales, well at least tied for the best month, with 59. So we are off a bit.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

The average sale price seems to have leveled off as I thought it might in a report from a few months ago. More on this later on. For traditional sellers and those thinking about selling please take a good look at the success rate as indicated by the red line in the graph above. If you can market your home at that level, you will have the best chance to move your property quickly.

2006 through 2009 unit sales chart:

In my opinion the softening of production indicates that buyers are a bit more scarce than hoped for, even after the huge decreases in prices over the last year. Where we go from here may not be pretty. Hope I'm very wrong about that though.

Sales in August of 2009 were off about 12% compared to the previous year.

2006 through 2009 average price chart:

The green line in the graph above clearly shows that prices have stabilized quite a bit this year. However, these new lower prices have not brought out as many buyers as hoped for in the Kingman area. I get a bad feeling that we will see another round of falling prices to lure additional buyers to the market. And it will likely be the foreclosures that will move the market price downward yet again.

The average price slipped 22% as compared to the August of 2008 average sales price.

2006 through 2009 median price chart:

The median price fell 27% compared to July of last year.

Final sales prices in August 2009 ranged from $15,000 to $312,000.

Average SFR statistics:

Data tables for all sales tracked in August 2009

Price Data
ItemAug. '09
Average Price per Unit Sold $110,069
Median Price per Unit Sold $96,203
Average Price per Square Foot $69

House Data
Item Aug. '09
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,585
Year Built 1990

Marketing Data
ItemAug. '09
Days on Market to Contract 107
Days on Market to Close 142
Price Reductions on Market $17,340
Negotiated Price Concessions $6,033
Total Price Concessions $23,373
Total Percent Conceded

Bonus Charts:

Foreclosure Impact:

Another month where we saw the foreclosure listings dominate the sales market. Really take a good look at the side by side comparisons. Scary stuff... for traditional sellers. Actually pretty scary for real estate professionals as well. The marketing time alone before the average traditional seller agrees to a contract... a little over four additional months of waiting for just the right buyer to come along.

Traditional Seller vs. Bank Owned sales comparison for August 2009

Price Data
ItemTraditional Seller
Bank Owned
Total Units Sold in Month
Average Price per Unit Sold $130,334$98,744
Median Price per Unit Sold $110,000$86,900
Average Price per Square Foot $82$62

House Data
Item Traditional SellerBank Owned
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,5811,587
Year Built 19911990

Marketing Data
ItemTraditional Seller Bank Owned
Days on Market to Contract 19559
Days on Market to Close 22694
Price Reductions on Market $27,842$11,471
Negotiated Price Concessions $12,166$2,606
Total Price Concessions $40,008$14,077
Total Percent Conceded23.5%

Wrap Up:

Not much else to add this month as once again the number do tell the story just fine on their own.

I could go on a local political rant about creating demand for the Kingman community, as quite simply there is hardly any demand for property in Kingman at the moment... just like there is hardly any demand for employers to hire employees and all that... but I'll leave that alone at this time.

I still think that the community has so much going for it that could lead to additional demand, Kingman is simply a wonderful place to be. So here is to better days ahead!! See you next month (hopefully I'll find a goodly routine so I get this report out sooner than I did this month).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Solar plant discussions part deux...

Just a reminder that the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission will continue the meetings on the two proposed solar power plants tomorrow September 16th at 10:00am at the county administration building on Beale.

I was not there last week and haven't watched the video of the meeting online or otherwise. Judging from the articles published so far, it sounds like only the Albiassa owned plant made it to the public discussion. I am more interested in the Hualapai Valley Solar project (the one near the Red Lake area) as they are the group talking about using waste water produced by the residents in the Kingman area. I see it as a smarter way to use the 'precious' resource rather than allowing it to simply evaporate away after one use.

So if you are in the area, stop by and check out this meeting. Feel free to give some updates in the comments, share with everyone your take.

As a reminder of what went down at last weeks meeting, my good friend Dave Hawkins sent me the following article that will appear in this weeks Standard. It is posted below all italicized and all that.

Article provided by Dave Hawkins

Consideration of requests related to proposed development of a major solar power facility southeast of Kingman featured plenty of familiar debate between those who support and oppose the project. But discussion at the September 9 meeting of the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission also included exchanges between a couple Commission members and Mike Horner, the Litchfield Park resident who owns the land where the 200-megawatt AlbiasaCorp. facility would be built and operated.

Member Mehdi Azarmi said the operation's consumption of groundwater has been the key issue of concern all along and that project officials need to be more specific and factual in that arena. Azarmi and Commissioner Carl Flusche said varying numbers keep surfacing in discussions.

``You gotta (sic) start being up-front and straight shooters with the people because otherwise you're not going to get the results that you want," Flusche said.

Horner responded that groundwater consumption was forecast between 1,000 and 4,000 acre-feet per year when the project was initially announced. He said engineering and design analysis has refined that figure to a current consumption expectation of 2,275 acre-feet per year.

Flusche said Commission members received e-mail and other communication from citizens who complained they didn't get straight answers during the series of public information meetings that project officials held in previous months. Horner said the complaints come from critics who can't reasonably consider the merits of the project.

``The data that was given at some of our meetings was not the data that some of the opponents were looking for and that's probably the reason that they blew up your phones or sent you 15 e-mails," Horner said. ``Anybody who knows me knows I'm probably more direct than courteous. I'm very direct and if I know it I will tell you what it is, and if I don't I'll tell you I don't know, but I'll find out. I don't come to these meetings to try to pull the wool over anybody's eyes."

Project critics, as they have whenever the solar facility has been the subject of a public meeting, spoke critically of use of technology that will consume groundwater. They repeated their concern that the water is consumed locally to generate power that will be sold elsewhere to the highest bidder.

Project officials and their supporters repeated their point that the power plant will serve as a stimulus to the local economy and take a necessary progressive step forward as the nation turns to cleaner energy production and the need to wean itself of its foreign oil dependance. They again noted the 1,000 jobs that would be provided during project construction and the 100-plus people who would be put to work to run the facility.

The discussion gobbled up about two hours, and the Commission adjourned the meeting without voting on Albiassa matters or other requests related to the larger Hualapai Valley Solar facility proposed north of Kingman. Both projects were to come back before the Commission in a continued hearing scheduled September 16.

(Look to future editions of the Standard for continued coverage of the solar power project proposals)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Well... it is that time

Hey folks, first I want to say what an honor it is for me that you have stopped by to read anything that is written here at MOCO. This blog is about three and a half years old now, and all throughout there have been changes. Today comes a bigger change.

You look at the top and you will see that the blog's title has changed. We are now MOCO Real Politics. The goals still remain the same though, honest opinion and relevant research of the pressing issues of the day. There will be no shortage of either as we move forward.

Some of you know that I am leaving the area that I have called home for nearly the last ten years. I can say that I don't often share my personal family information here at this blog, but in this case part of the reason I am making the change is to once again join my wife on a more permanent basis under one roof. We have lived apart for nearly two years. In many ways the experiences have been easier than expected... and we've certainly had fun (nothing like total control of the remote control... and Gail would say the very same thing).

But new opportunities have revealed themselves to both my wife and me and we are looking forward to new challenges in New Mexico. Now that is not to say that we are leaving behind this area in northwestern Arizona. In fact we both love it here and know that if we make good on our opportunities that it would allow us the choice to re-relocate back home. For the time being though, we will have to make due with frequent visits to Kingman.

Luckily for me, with all of the interest that I have in this great community, I'll only be an Internet connection away. This is why I am keeping this blog in existence, and I hope to grow it even though I won't be physically here.

I've asked a few people to help contribute to the blog. So if you don't recognize the writing style or even the format of a new post, be sure to look below the post for the actual author.

I'd like to have even more contributors so if you are interested in offering your information and opinion on the political happenings in the Mohave County area, please email me by clicking on the 'email Todd' button on the sidebar. I'll even open it up to folks that may not want to use their real name as a contributor, perhaps you'll feel more comfortable using an online moniker. But in order to do that, I will at least have to know who you are. We'll work that out via email an phone.

The goal is to get more conversations going about the important issues. It is about bringing more voices into the fold, more collaboration efforts to find pleasing solutions for a greater percentage of the friends and neighbors here in Kingman and beyond. Trust me, you can help and that is why I ask you to contribute.

As for residential real estate related data and the monthly reports I have offered up over the last three plus years... I plan on continuing the sales report that I produce ten or so days into the month that covers what took place the prior month. As I mentioned in the listings report a few days ago, I'm not as certain if I will keep that report going... it will just depend on time constraints. If I think that I cannot continue that report, I will announce that change.

I still have an active real estate license and am still a member of the local, state, and national association of Realtors. It is my intention to help anyone that needs real estate services in this area as best as I can. Even if that means coming back to the area to provide the real estate related services. If I am unable to provide that service, I certainly can point an interested person to the right direction of an agent or broker that can.

For the last few months I have been a part of a podcast called 'Mohave Real Talk' and the plan there is to continue those podcasts with my good friend and excellent real estate broker in Bullhead City, Evan Fuchs. I know some of you can't hardly wait for the next episode as they arrive, so I will be sure to announce when the new podcasts are available on this blog, and via Twitter and Facebook.

Perhaps it might seem like I never left. What a wonderful thing this here Internet doo-hickey is.

As for the title change of the blog, I simply feel there is not enough focus on political issues here in this area and this blog will do whatever it can to shed light on important community issues. There will be attempts to have email interviews with community leaders so that we can all have a chance to see what is on the minds of our leaders. And if possible, even video interviews to share.

Bottom line here, I urge you to get involved in the community and I can at least offer you a platform here at MOCO. Please feel compelled to use the comments if you do not want to publish your own contributions. Beyond MOCO though, attend a public meeting at either the county or the city. Speak in front of the governing bodies on an issue at those meetings. Watch the meetings on local access TV or via an Internet connection. Ask questions, demand answers of our local public servants that have the privilege of our votes.

The one key issue that I believe in strongly is the protection of private property rights. Those rights extend beyond real estate, please keep that in mind. I believe that these rights are being threatened by not only the local governments at times, but also by some folks that really have no concept of the rights until they too are faced with something that could threaten their own rights.

Without a doubt, the community will lose valuable property rights before we ever run out of water. I plan on researching more about the protection of private property rights and the things that we can do to ensure we always have them (just like we will always have water here). You can bet that I will share all of the pertinent information about property rights so you will stay in the know.

My next post will be published from New Mexico, but just so you know it won't be the first post that I published from New Mexico or Minnesota or Florida or Nevada or many other places. This will be the 1,030th post on MOCO... help me push this total over 2,000 posts in the next few years.

God bless you all, thanks again from the bottom of my heart for your visits to MOCO. I look forward to seeing you all back many more times as you will always be welcome. I also look forward to seeing many of you in person as I come back to Kingman for frequent visits.

Better days ahead!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Time for another fun public meeting...

A friendly reminder that one of the proposed solar power plants will be a topic for a public hearing on the Mohave County Planning and Zoning agenda next Wednesday, September the 9th (item numbers 22A and 22B on page 7 at the link).

Below you will find a letter that was prepared by an associate of the firm that is seeking to develop the new renewable energy plant right here in our collective back yard. Please note that the following words are not mine, they come straight from the Hualapai Valley Solar group. You will see information that they are providing, including some response to the nonsense of the water worry warts and the crappy propaganda they continue to offer.

No matter what side of the issue you may already be on, please give the following a read. At the end of the post I will link to all the local elected officials from the city council of Kingman on up to the state legislative representatives. If you so choose, let them know your views on this very important issue.

The letter will be italicized and begins now...

September 1, 2009

To: Friends of the Hualapai Valley Solar Project near Red Lake

On Wednesday, September 9, the Mohave County Planning & Zoning Commission will review our General Plan Amendment and Area Plan. Development Services staff is recommending their approval. We encourage you to participate by signing a Letter of Support and/or by signing up to speak at the P&Z hearing – this is your chance to take an active role in shaping the future of Mohave County.

Many of you have heard me speak at our open houses and public meetings, or at events sponsored by the many civic organizations in Kingman. By now, you understand that our Project site near Red Lake is a world-class solar site – it is flat, very remote, has sparse vegetation and no protected species, and is adjacent to multiple transmission lines. Many proposed renewable energy projects are “like trying to push a square peg into a round hole”. But near Red Lake, everything fits, and this is something that the people of Mohave County should embrace! Besides the obvious benefits of developing U.S. renewable energy, reducing global warming, and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil (and therefore our foreign trade deficit), the Hualapai Valley Solar project will directly benefit Mohave County in many ways:

• New jobs – 1,500 at the peak of our 3-year construction period and 105+ during operation

• Substantial tax revenue – an estimated $4+ million per year in property taxes

• An estimated overall impact of more than $20 million per year, and this does not include:

o Revenue to the City of Kingman for the sale of effluent (treated wastewater)

o Revenue from tourist visits to our Visitors Center.

As a responsible developer, Mohave Sun Power will continue to build its stewardship in our community. To date, we have invested in many local relationships, including:

• Local consultants, engineers, subcontractors, utilities and suppliers

• Job training programs such as the new, county-wide Joint Technological Education District (JTED)

• Working as a member of the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, helping to identify the substantial opportunities for the local business community.

Critics of our Project continue to present misinformation about our water usage. The facts are:

• After 2 years of study, ADWR issued a Letter of Assured Water Supply that includes our site, for the equivalent of approximately 9,000 acre-feet per year. Our Project will use 2,400 acre-feet per year, effectively retiring (not using) 6,600 acre-feet per year.

• Errol Montgomery & Associates completed a hydrologic study showing that there are more than 15.7 million acre-feet of easily accessible water in the Hualapai Valley Basin within 1,200 feet of the ground surface, with even more below that mark.

• Of the 2,400 acre-feet per year we would use, we expect to purchase up to 1,700 acrefeet per year of effluent from the City of Kingman. A pipeline will bring the effluent from the new Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant to our site. The City currently has no other buyer for this effluent, which will likely be evaporated (as it is today) if we do not reuse it.

• If the new Hilltop plant and our Project were operational today, the result would be that we would pump roughly the same amount of water used by either of the 18-hole golf courses in the area (each with considerably less local economic impact than our Project).

• The Hilltop treatment plant is designed to support growth – any increase in the output of the Hilltop plant (due to population growth or redirecting other City wastewater) will likely result in our Project using 100% effluent for our cooling needs.

• Our Project recycles the cooling water more than 55 times, and we will continue to evaluate and implement other innovative techniques for conserving and reusing water.

For nearly a year, Mohave Sun Power has been working diligently and responsibly, developing the Project near Red Lake. During that time, the Project has been greatly improved through the feedback and constructive ideas presented by local residents.

Citizens should continue to scrutinize proposed projects, and support responsible developments in these difficult financial times. Critics often have the loudest voices, while supporters sit on the sidelines. We would like to turn that tide, to ensure that the best developments are realized.

Please consider signing a Letter of Support for the Hualapai Valley Solar project.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Greg Bartlett, Project Director

The next part is up to you... not me... you. You may decide to let your county and city leaders know how you stand on this particular issue. You now have some information that you can use to help base your decision on -- at the very least somewhere to start if you want to question the information further. All of what comes next is on YOU.

Below I am linking email addresses to local elected leaders and other officials. Please take a moment, if you choose to do so, and let these folks know where it is you stand on this very important issue.

Mohave County officials...

District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson

District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson

City of Kingman officials...

Mayor of Kingman John Salem

Vice Mayor of Kingman Janet Watson

Council Member Carole Young

Council Member Kerry Deering

Council Member Ray Lyons

Council Member Robin Gordon

Council Member Keith Walker

City of Kingman City Manager Jack Kramer

Arizona State Legislative Representatives...

Representative Doris Goodale

Representative Nancy McLain

Senator Ron Gould

Thank you to anyone that decides to take the time to let our elected leaders and officials know how we feel about these opportunities at this time. If you do decide to drop an email or a phone call, or simply a visit in person... tell 'em MOCO sent you.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No jobs, but plenty of water...

Truly horrible for the area is the news that appears today at the website...

Released Tuesday morning, the Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary shows that total employment for the Kingman-Lake Havasu metropolitan area fell 9.3 percent from July 2008 to July 2009, the sharpest year-over-year decline among all 372 metro areas monitored by the BLS. Another Arizona city, Prescott, came second, shedding 8.9 percent of its workforce over the same time period, with Reno, Nev., coming in third at 8.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the shower worked this morning. Plenty enough water to brush the teeth. I managed my normal two glasses of water for drinking. And oh yes the toilet worked just fine.

It is becoming clear, this community must choose to either use the assets it has to attract more industry and commercial opportunities -- and the vast quantity of water in the aquifers is just one of those assets, or accept the fate that this area is dying a painful death.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

August Listings Report (2009)

More fun with data found in this post, this time though a bit more traditional data for this blog. The listings report this month does have some highlights, the main one being that total pending contracts are up compared to last year a whopping 119%. It's almost as if the buyers and sellers have really started to understand each other... well banks and buyers certainly.

One other note of interest before moving on to the data tables... I just did a quick calculation to look at how many months worth of inventory is on the market compared to how many buyers are active. Basically we have whittled down the inventory level to a little less than six months. In normal conditions that is a balanced market. Alas... this isn't a garden variety market. When I break out the foreclosed properties from the traditional seller listings, we still see less than a month worth of inventory for banks and foreclosures... leaving traditional sellers a bit over nine months of inventory. Another way to look at it is say on the day you come back from the doctor who tells you and your significant other that you are expecting a new baby in nine months, put your home up on the market. The average says that by the time the doctor delivers the baby, your friendly Realtor will deliver you a contract to purchase your home.

Alright, let's go already... disclaimer first 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.

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

As of September 1 Total Listings on Market
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Listings On Market
426 445
Total Listings Listed as Foreclosed
62 68

New Listing Data
Item Month of August Previous Month
New Listings Total
105 130
New Listings Listed as Foreclosed
43 49
Average Asking Price Per Unit
$133,546 $177,634
Median Asking Price
$109,950 $125,900
Average Asking Price Per Square Foot
$84 $104
Units Re-Listed
Units Already Under Contract

New Listing House Data
Item Month of August Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,582 1,701
Bedrooms 2.97 3.15
Bathrooms 2.06 2.18
Year Built

Price Range of New Listings in August
Item Lowest Highest

From my perspective, the data has moved in the right direction on the listing data for last month. Of course I'm not a seller though, so I'd understand that if you were a seller you might not see things the same way.

Also noted, the average asking price for last month marked the lowest such figure since I've been keeping track of the data. It is the lowest figure in that category by far as well. The lowest previously was $151,747 back in June of 2009 (a few months ago). Sellers seem to be getting serious about selling.

Of the 28 new listings taken in August, 18 of them are the foreclosed variety and there were also two new listings in August that have already closed escrow... you bet, both were foreclosures.

Data tables for all new Units under contract tracked in the month of August 2009

As of September 1 Total Units Under Contract
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Units Under Contract
162 139
Total Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
76 62

Units Under Contract Data
Item Month of August Previous Month
New Contracts Total
84 82
New Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
44 41
Average Marketing Price Per Unit
$118,501 $124,010
Median Marketing Price
$101,998 $104,900
Average Marketing Price Per Square Foot
$77 $80
Days on Market to Acquire a Contract
Average Marketing Price Reduction

New Units Under Contract House Data
Item Month of August Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,545 1,552
Bedrooms 3.02 3.02
Bathrooms 2.03 2.11
Year Built

Price Range of New Pending Contracts in August
Item Lowest Highest

Plenty of solid activity for new contracts. New contract levels haven't been below 70 since last February. Of course foreclosure activity is lapping the field and gets credit for more than half the activity so far this year in new contracts. While foreclosures offer the best price and affordability... keep in mind that they don't always offer the best value. For traditional sellers, the key is to blur that line and you'll have to use a lower price to make that happen in most cases.

So let's take a look at year over year data now...

Year over year data listings/pending contracts

unit/dollar amount
Total Listings DOWN205
New Listings in August
Average Price per New Listing
Median List Price

Pending Contracts
ItemUP/DOWNunit/dollar amountPercentage
Total Pending Contracts UP
New Contracts for AugustUP36
Average Marketing Price per Unit
Median Marketing Price DOWN$36,902

I wrote about inventory issues earlier in this post, no need to do so again. New listings down and new contracts up... pretty much the best news one could hope for in this market. The prices will figure themselves out as more of the market finds some semblance of balance. For now though the prices on both new listings and the marketing price for new contracts continues to correct south.

And now for a programming note... at this point I'm not certain, but there is a chance that this could be my last listings report that I offer on this blog. Some of you know that a new location awaits my arrival and my schedule could be a bit more complicated. You see, I run these numbers for this report in the morning on the first day of the month... and produce this report on the same day. I think only one other time did I not get the report published on the first day, but I managed to collect the data on first day.

I'm not totally sure if I'll be able to continue this report as it stands right now. So just in case, enjoy this listings report and hopefully I'll see you next month with another episode.