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Sat, Jan. 18

Lower interest rates aid local housing market

Competitive mortgage rates helped strengthen the Kingman housing market in 2000 according to Lori Warring, a local real estate broker.

"Interest rates under seven percent are available now," she said.

"We expect the rates to remain good and lower rates are possible."

The Kingman-Golden Valley Association of Realtors multiple listing service reports 442 single family homes sold in 2000 compared to 419 in 1999.

Executive officer Debbie Coleman said the average price of homes sold in 2000 was $88,692 compared to $84,130 in 1999.

Median prices were $79,900 in 2000 compared to $75,800 in 1999.

The median price is the mid-point sale price with half the houses selling above that figure and half selling for less.

The average price is determined by dividing the total volume of all sales by the number of homes sold.

Another 100 new single-family homes were sold through the multiple listing compared to 134 new homes sold in 1999.

The average price of new construction in 2000 was $106,993 compared to $99,987 in 1999.

Total number of permits issued for new construction of single family homes in 2000 was down 81 homes in Kingman during 2000.

In 1999, Kingman issued 271 permits for new residences compared to 190 in 2000.

Permit value of homes was up $10,000 per house in 2000 to $90,362.

Warring said new homes constructed in Kingman in 2000 got "a little pricey" for the market.

Warring said Kingman has the same number of buyers with more listings available making it a buyers' market.

"Prices are holding for resale houses in Kingman and homes that are priced right sell," she said.

"During the last six months, houses in the $55,000 to $75,000 range were on the market 133 to 159 days according to the computer search."

Realtor Joy Brotherton said Kingman's current buyers' market is subject to change.

She said buyers moving up from a starter home have put more dwellings on the market.

People moving from California and other areas for retirement are an important part of the market, she said.

Broker Sandy Hubka said December sales were slow and activity has improved since the New Year began.

"It was a very good year in the market for 2000," she said.

"There are a lot of listings and good choices for buyers."

She aid the recent increase in the maximum FHA loan limit to $134,500 in Kingman would help sales in the upper end of the market.

Current interest rates will mean more buyers can afford housing in 1999.

Kingman follows the Arizona trend of good housing sales and a steady construction of new homes during a time when national sales have been slowing.

Metro Phoenix resale houses sold at the second best rate on record in 2000 according to the College of Business at Arizona State University.

The total of 55,370 resales was a little behind the record 56,365 in 1999.

The median price rose to $128,900 in 2000 from $120,000, an increase of 7.4 percent.

That is well above the Kingman area medium resale price $79,900.

The Arizona State University reported the increasing sales were made in a market with rising interest rates much of the year.

Warring, Brotherton and Hubka said decreasing interest rates encourage buyers and make the 2001 real estate market in Kingman look optimistic.

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