The whole thing just baffles me. If you want a home in Kingman, and have the money to buy it, your choices are limitless. If money is no object, you can have your pick of thousands of homes, in pretty much any neighborhood you want. So what is my gripe?
Well, I wonder who is going to buy these homes. Actually, I wonder where these folks are going to work to pay for the homes. I don't see the jobs here keeping up with the home builders. And I'm not the only one.
Mayor Les Byram seemed just as baffled when we talked about it on Friday. He told me that he has talked to several builders recently who told him that they were not worried about selling their homes. If they were bothered by it, they'd quit building. They're not. Subdivisions are still coming before Planning & Zoning despite the fact that there are about 1,000 homes on the market in the area right now.
So, what are builders seeing that I cannot see? Do they expect that retirees from California will continue to scoop up all the houses? I just can't believe that. Do they think that the Wal-Mart distribution center expected to be built in the next year or so will bring in enough workers to buy their houses. I can't see how someone working there could afford a $300,000 home. Plus, Rhodes and other developers are building more than enough homes in Golden Valley for workers at the distribution center, if or when it is built. Some seem to think that Wal-Mart is no longer going to build it. Byram told me that he has been assured that it is still coming. I guess we'll see.
Either way, it won't employ enough workers to fill all these houses. So, who will fill them? And when will prices begin to drop substantially?
Every indication is that house prices have come down, but not as much as would be expected when supply looks to far outweigh demand.
Do builders still believe that Kingman will become a bedroom community of Vegas when the new bridge over Lake Mead is completed later this year? Do they really think that people will live here and work in Vegas? I can't see it happening. I can't see how the byway will speed up the hour and a half it now takes to get to Vegas proper. Once you put the trucks back on the highway, it could actually take longer to get to Sin City.
Byram talked about the two interchanges off Interstate 40 and how he now supports both projects. One would be funded by builders (Kingman Crossing), while the other is on ADOT's five year plan. Byram told me that the investors behind Kingman Crossing expect to have it completed in three years.
Either interchange would open up the east side to development even more than it is now. Maybe those projects will bring in people to buy all the houses.
I don't know - I guess I shouldn't worry about it. As long as home builders are optimistic about Kingman's future growth, maybe I should be as well. I mean, they've staked their businesses on people flocking to Kingman to live. And they're not the only ones.
Commercial builders seem to be just as optimistic that businesses will fill up all the new shopping plazas going in. I look at the (now former) Albertson's shopping center and I can't but worry. I thought all those units would have been filled by now.
But, then again, what the heck do I know? I'm just an editor.