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Housing rebound is uneven across Mohave County

Though construction and real estate activity have picked up, Kingman still lags behind other parts of Mohave County.

KINGMAN - Signs that the housing market is on the rebound continue to trickle in as both prices and sales are up in Mohave County, according to broker James Durham.

There are a number of reasons for this, he said. The fact is, however, more people are putting their home on the market and more people are buying them.

"It's been busy in our county," said Durham, who works for Coldwell Banker.

Durham said it can be difficult to provide a focused snapshot of the market in Mohave County since the three population centers - Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City - are very different from one another in terms of personality and income.

"We have three different associations of Realtors and when we look at the data and where we are geographically, including the outlying areas, it can skew things," he said.

Durham also said the fact that lenders have declined to fully foreclose on many homes have allowed those properties to appreciate.

"That's been good for them," he said.

The key driver is modest loan rates, but Durham is unsure how long they will remain low or if the recovery will stall when they begin to rise.

"I think the Fed has maintained low interest mortgage rates, and that has certainly helped, but I don't know how long they can do that," he said. "But I do know the market was down so long and so hard people are tired of waiting."

Countywide through the end of May, 1,606 homes have sold, which is nearly 4 percent higher than this time last year when 1,546 homes in Mohave County were purchased.

In Kingman, however, the numbers are slightly less favorable.

Through May, 321 homes sold in Kingman the first five months of 2013 compared to the 327 that sold through May 2012.

That could change now that developers have started to build again, he said.

"It will take awhile to build up new inventory, and (Kingman's) outlying areas like Valle Vista and Yucca are still hurting," he said.

Meanwhile, homes are more expensive in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City along the river.

The difference in the median price countywide compared to the Kingman area is telling.

In May, the median price of all listings in the county was about $140,000, up 3.7 percent from this time last year, while the price was less than $95,000 in Kingman over the same time period.

Still, Mohave County as a whole is doing well, said Durham.

Last month, 359 homes were sold in Mohave County, up 12.9 percent over this time last year and 2 percent higher than the 352 sold in April.

May's total for Kingman was 66, down 7 percent from May 2012 and a significant 15.4 percent lower than the 78 sold in April.

Kingman fared better in terms of how many days a home was on the market before it sold - 68 last month, compared to the 88 days at the same time last year, and only three days less than in April.

Countywide, homes are selling faster than they did last year, with the days on the market for May sales at 80, 13 percent sooner from the 92 days in April and 1.2 percent sooner than the 81 in May 2012.

The selling price per square foot, which Durham said was a "great indicator" for the direction of property values, was also revealing.

In Kingman, the per-square-foot cost in May was $68, down one dollar from April but up more than 19 percent from the $57 per square foot this time last year.

Countywide, the price was $97 per square foot, down $3 from April, but up 11.5 percent from last year at $87.

"I've been doing this for 30 years," Durham said. "I've seen the cycles come and go and I saw lots of people get hurt, but people are coming to Arizona and they're buying homes."

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