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Fri, Jan. 24

Housing construction permits down, but home sales steady in Kingman<BR>

Building permits for new housing are down 40 percent the first five months of 2000, according to city figures, but housing sales are equal to last year.

Sales of existing single family homes through June 21 are up slightly over the same period in 1999.

The Kingman/Golden Valley Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reports 198 resale homes in 2000 compared to 190 in the same period in 1999.

Median price in 2000 was $79,250 and in 1999 the median price was $75,000.

New home sales were down in 2000 with 40 sales of new construction reported through MLS compared to 61 sales a year ago.

The median price was $79,250 in 2000, down from $89,000 last year.

The most current data available from MLS is for April with five new homes sold, compared to nine in April 1999.

The median price in 2000 was $107,000 compared to $94,900 last year.

The local market has tightened and current listing inventory indicates a growing buyer's market.

"We are seeing about 10 new listings for each three houses sold," said Debbie Coleman, executive director of the MLS.

Current listings of existing homes on the market is at 362 plus 271 other residential units, which includes mobiles, condos and duplexes.

If sales continue at the rate 39 sapes a month as in April, the current inventory would take nine to 10 months to sell unless more houses are listed.

"Our sales are strong in this market," said Lori Warring at West USA Realty.

"Buyers do have a lot of inventory to choose from and there is a lot of competition in existing single family homes on the market."

Warring said interest rates have not hindered sales at her agency.

Not all homes, new or resale, in the area are recorded by the MLS, but the comparisons do indicate trends in the local market, Coleman said.

Kitty Long of Longs Construction said sales of new construction have slowed, partially because higher interest rates and tougher lending rules have made it more difficult for some buyers to qualify.

Frank Moore at Net Mortgage said rates are down from recent highs and buyers have several options to fit a mortgage within a budget.

Rural housing loans without down payments are available in the Kingman area to assist buyers in the rural area, Moore said.

National figures show a higher-than-expected 3.9 percent drop in sales during May.

The National Association of Realtors expects home sales to decline this year but sales to remain solid.

The most recent report from the National Association of Home Builders had mixed figures across the US with the West down 13.6 percent, the steepest decline in the country.

Several regions report higher home prices and rising rental rates are taking more lower income people out of the housing market.

Local home buyers in Kingman must compete with California buyers who find Kingman prices lower than markets in California.

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