Kingman housing starts doubled in '12

77 permits not a boom, but it beats 2011

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br>
A house under construction along Country Club Drive.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br> A house under construction along Country Club Drive.

Kingman home sales in 2012 outpaced those that occurred in 2011, and so did the amount of building permits pulled for single-family residences. But don't call it a boom just yet.

In a struggling economy, improvement - no matter how small - is hard to come by, but that's exactly what the Kingman housing market did in 2012.

Take building permits, for example. In 2011, Kingman issued 37 building permits for single-family residences - roughly three a month. But in 2012, the city issued 77 of the same type of permits, which comes out to roughly six per month.

Kingman City Council did away with impact fees at the beginning of 2012, and though that fact tells part of the story, it doesn't tell all of it.

"In my mind, we did the right thing by eliminating impact fee," said Mayor John Salem. "(Seeing the numbers now) gives me more faith in the decision that was made."

An improving building industry does nothing but good for Kingman, Salem said. It's one of the largest pieces of the regional economy, he added.

These numbers are a good indication that the economy is moving forward, albeit slowly, Salem said.

But there's more to it.

Sandra Wetmore, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Prestige Properties, said the lack of inventory in Kingman and the surrounding area - not including Golden Valley - plays a role in how well the building industry is doing. On Friday, there was an inventory of 385 homes.

But these homes can cost as little as $20,000 and as much as $1 million, she said. When people think about buying a home, they usually have a price range, so that limits choices as well.

"There could be only four to five homes (to choose from) in someone's price range," Wetmore said. "I sold four brand new homes in 2012."

In 2012 it was rare for the inventory to get above 400 homes. That's a far cry from 2007, when inventory pushed over 1,000.

"When there's 1,000 homes (in an area) on the market, something is up," Wetmore said. And that something is not good. "It's a little on the scary side."

In 2011, 914 homes were sold in the Kingman area, and they had a median listing price of $74,900. But as of Friday, 1,009 homes were sold in 2012 at a median listing price of $78,100. Of these sales, 376 were foreclosures.

It's important to note that the housing sales cited here refer to homes with two, three and four-bedrooms.

The sale price volume of these is where one can see the biggest improvement. In 2011, all home sales in the Kingman area were sold for a combined $80,547,000, but in 2012 (up to Friday) the sale price volume was $95,060,191.

In both years, the list-to-sale ratio hovered around 95 percent, which means Realtors were doing a good job of selling homes at fair market value, Wetmore said.

"I made a living (in 2012)," Wetmore said. "But there were Realtors in the area that made a killing."

There are still a good amount of investors purchasing these homes, but there are also out-of-state buyers, including many retirees, buying homes and moving to Kingman.

"I'm very optimistic," Wetmore said. "We had a decent year and I'm looking forward to 2013. I'm not hearing (from other Realtors) how horrible it is out there anymore."

And that wasn't the case two years ago.