Kingman housing report a mixed bag

Home sales down, prices up; March data 'interesting'

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<BR>Construction activity is on the rise in Kingman and the city and county’s housing markets have begun to stabilize after record foreclosures.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<BR>Construction activity is on the rise in Kingman and the city and county’s housing markets have begun to stabilize after record foreclosures.

KINGMAN - Home prices in Kingman and throughout Mohave County continued to rise by double digits in the first quarter of the year over the same period in 2013, but sales have fallen behind, according to Jim Durham, a Coldwell Banker managing broker and author of the Market Action Report.

The drop in sales could be attributed to a dramatic reduction in the record number of foreclosures and short sales that flooded the market until late last year rather than a slowdown.

Durham said the data is "interesting."

"From the information, it appears mixed for Q1," he said.

Still, the market continues to smile on buyers a little more than sellers.

Two trends that favors buyers is that homes are selling for less than the asking price and spend more time on the market before they sell.

Overall, however, the first three months of 2014 were relatively healthy compared to recent years. The average price of the 61 Kingman homes that sold in March was nearly $129,000, a figure that has held steady since January and represents a nearly 8 percent increase over the same period last year.

Another buyer-friendly trend is the sell versus list price. In March, the average seller lowered his or her asking price to 93.3 percent, down from 96.5 percent in February and 97.3 percent a year ago.

A third trend that indicates it's a buyer's market is inventory. The number of new listings in March was 123 - for a total of 327 homes on the market in Kingman - up significantly from 97 in February - and in March 2013 - a nearly 27 percent increase.

However, the total number of properties for sale is down from last year's figure of 344.

The key statistic that favors buyers, however, is market time. The more time it takes to sell a home, the more pressure for sellers.

The days on the market for March was 110, up significantly from the 71 days in February and 78 days from last year.

Durham said March's average was the highest in two years.

The best news for sellers is that property values have increased more than 10 percent over the past 12 months.

The price per square foot is "a great indicator for the direction of property values," said Durham in his report.

The $78 per square foot in March was up $1 from February and up $8 from last year, an 11.4 percent increase.

The story is similar across Mohave County, according to Durham.

Countywide, the 313 March sales represent nearly a 5 percent slide from the 329 that sold in March 2013 - but 33 percent higher than the 234 that sold in February.

Whether the gains will continue is unknown, but overall more than 100 fewer homes, 773, sold the first three months of 2014 than in the first three months of last year when nearly 900 sold, a better than 13.5 percent drop. Again, the slowdown could be attributed to the market stabilizing more than slowing down due to far fewer bank-sold homes influencing the market.

Sellers can also look to prices, which have increased sharply. The average home sold for more than $186,700 in March, up more than $10,000 in February and nearly $25,000 more than this time last year.

The market favors buyers in every other category. Sellers in the county are accepting about 95.5 percent of the list price, down slightly from the 96 percent in February and the 96.9 percent in March 2013.

One trend that seems to hold steady in the county while it's increased dramatically in Kingman is the average days on the market. Countywide, homes spent 85 days on the market, down by eight days compared to February and equal to this time last year. Meanwhile, Kingman homes were on the market for nearly a month longer.

Sellers - and homeowners in general - can take some comfort in property values rising based on the square-foot cost of a home.

The price per square foot was $107 in March, up $1 from February and up $9 since last year, an 11.5 percent increase and nearly $30 more per square foot than homes in Kingman.

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