KINGMAN - While home prices fluctuate like a dieter's weight from month to month, the average home price in Kingman increased 13.6 percent in 2014 and appears to be trending up in the first two months this year, according to local real estate sources.
The average sales price for a single-family home last year was $139,191, compared with $122,491 in 2013, Scott Lander of Keller Williams Realty reported. Prices are up 43 percent from early 2010.
It's been another "solid year" for Kingman real estate and the housing market continues to show improvement, Lander said.
About one-third of his sales are to local residents taking advantage of historically low interest rates to move up to larger and better homes.
"Many people are buying other homes and upgrading from their existing homes," the real estate agent said Thursday. "Values have increased and their home is worth much more than they thought it was in the past couple of years. They are able to sell and make a little bit of money and use that as a down payment for something else."
Home sales in Kingman and Golden Valley totaled 1,251 in 2014, up slightly from 1,224 in 2013 and the highest total since 1,275 homes were sold in 2010, according to data from ReMax Prestige Properties. Sales include single-family detached homes, condos, manufactured homes, multifamily dwellings and townhouses.
The average price for 107 homes sold in December was $116,150, a 5 percent increase from $110,572 December 2013.
Gary Lott of ReMax Prestige said home prices have definitely increased over the last couple of years.
Weather a draw
People are moving here because they like the weather, he said. Kingman has a higher elevation than Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City and is cooler in the summer while residents still enjoy a sunbelt climate in the winter.
"It's easy access any direction they want to go," Lott said. "You can go to Lake Mohave and launch your boat and be on the lake in 30 minutes."
Investors are still actively purchasing in Kingman, Dwayne Patterson of ReMax Prestige said. He has one investor who bought 34 homes over the last five years, and his son bought five.
They're receiving a hefty return on investment because the rental market is strong in Kingman, Patterson said. A three-bedroom, two-bath house easily rents for $750 a month.
Lander sees an influx of buyers from California. The market there has picked up as well, allowing Californians to cash out and buy here with either a substantial down payment or an all-cash transaction, he said.
"They can usually get just as nice of a home if not nicer here for two-thirds less than it would cost in California and with more land," Lander noted.
New home construction
Builders such as Angle Homes, Fripps Mohave and Hill Development are actively pulling permits for new home construction in several areas around town.
The city of Kingman issued 16 new single-family residential building permits in the week of Feb. 5-12. Through Feb. 20, the city issued 30 permits for a total building valuation of $2.55 million, compared with 21 permits for $1.63 million in the same period a year ago.
Big Red Construction, a small builder in Kingman since 2004, pulled 11 permits in one week, and has eight homes going up on Sage Street, off Airway Avenue east of Route 66.
"We weren't going to do that many, but we decided to go for it on that street," said Joe Juelfs, owner of Big Red Construction. "We do a lot of spec homes and we've got a couple of models doing well. We always did two or three at a time, and by the time they got done they were sold. We're trying something different this time."
Big Red homes are entry-level and priced at about $120,000, Juelfs said. He's hoping that 2015 is a big year for Big Red Construction, which would be about 20 new homes.
Mike Hill of Hill Development quit building in 2005 when he saw how "ridiculous" the market had become. He got back into the game in 2009 with two or three homes.
"It's really picking up," Hill said. "It seems like a lot of building permits. I just hope it's not overzealous."
Hill Development built and sold 16 homes in 2014 and will probably increase production to 22 homes this year, Hill said. Everything he's built so far is sold and he just started one "spec" home, or a home being built on speculation of sale.
About 90 percent of Hill's buyers are retirees from out of state, including a lot from Washington lately. They're looking for an upscale home on oversized lots, from 8,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet, for RV parking.
"I'm on a higher line with upgrades," Hill said. "Custom cabinets, granite, tile in the showers and bathrooms."
Doug Angle, president of Angle Homes, said he built about 70 new homes in 2014, compared with 54 the previous year. He was building about 80 homes a year during the peak.
Areas of growth
Subdivisions such as Castle Rock Village, east of Route 66, and Shangri-La Estates, near Kino Avenue and Eagle Rock Road, are showing signs of new life.
Bob Bass, exclusive agent for Shangri-La, said two homes are sold and nearly finished, and construction has started on a spec model.
The homes, built by Skyridge Custom Homes, are on quarter-acre to half-acre lots, larger than most subdivisions in Kingman, with 2-inch-by-6-inch frame construction and completely sheared, Bass said.
The 1,463-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath floor plan is starting at $155,900 with a tile roof, two-car garage and appliance package.
Bass said 80 percent to 90 percent of his buyers are retirees coming from out of state, the most recent from Washington and Minnesota. A lot of them are cash buyers.
A couple of lots are finished and starting vertical construction at Castle Rock Village, Kingman's only gated community. It was purchased last year out of bankruptcy by Phoenix investors Joseph Leyva and Gus Sesi. The community is plotted for 320 homes.
"We're not gambling on the housing market as much as we're gambling on Kingman," Leyva said during a Feb. 12 open house event at Castle Rock, where a two-bedroom, 1,585-square-foot home is listed for $169,900.
"We are very customer-friendly," Leyva added. "If it fits in our floor plan, we'll build it, especially for cash buyers."
Patterson of ReMax Prestige said a lot of people "feel uncomfortable with what's going on in the world," and come to Kingman looking for a place where they can be left alone.
They gravitate to neighborhoods such as Hualapai Estates, where minimum lot size is one acre, or half-acre lots at Rancho Santa Fe. Bella Vista, Southern Vista and Hualapai Shadows are also popular subdivisions, Patterson said.
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