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Wed, March 20

Home sales at four-year low

KINGMAN - Sales of single-family residences reached a four-year low last month.

With 25 homes sold in January, Kingman reflects the national decrease in homes sold during the first month of 2008.

"I continue to hear from other Realtors that things are picking up again, yet the numbers are not showing any evidence of that in terms of closed sales," local Realtor Todd Tarson said in his blog, www.mocoreal.blogspot.com.

Tarson released data on the Kingman real estate market in regard to single-family homes earlier this month. The information is compiled from the Western Arizona Realtor Data Exchange covering all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area and the Valle Vista subdivisions.

Since Tarson began tracking the data in 2005, last month saw the lowest total sold since March with 31 single-family residences. Compared to January 2007, sales are down 15 homes.

"It is plain to see that 2008 is off to a bad start in terms of units sold," Tarson said.

The average home sold in January had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a two-car garage, 1,620 square feet of living space, and was built in 1997, he said.

While the amount of new single-family residences sold fell in January, the average amount the homes sold for was up by more than $4,000 from January 2007.

"At this price level the only thing we have seen is a steep decline in sales in units which has to tell you that prices are too high in this market," Tarson said.

The $193,850 average selling price in January fell well below the $224,010 average asking price. This trend has held true for the past year.

"The new listing average price has dropped and that is good news to some degree, but in order to be very good news this trend must continue until there is clear balance throughout the market," Tarson said.

The average new listing price the last year was more than $240,700. December saw the lowest monthly average of more than $201,600.

In Kingman the median existing-home price was $158,250 in January, while nationally it was $198,700. It took an average of 146 days of marketing in Kingman to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 175 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow, Tarson said. From the first day of marketing, sellers reduced price on average by $20,768 to attract a buyer and conceded another $13,356 to the buyer in the transaction, he added.

To get a better idea how much your home could sell for, single-family residences sold on average for $120 a square foot in January. This is the first upward turn on price per square foot since June.

Overall sales may continue to decrease as January only saw 114 single-family residences added to the listings. While the total is almost double the 65 new listings in December, it is only slightly below the 122 average new listings a month during the past year.

"Inventory problems persist," Tarson said, "surplus inventory that is."

That has led to a market where buyers are winning and sellers are losing, he added. This observation isn't limited to Kingman.

The National Association of Realtors released nationwide numbers for single-family home sales for January. Approximately 249,000 homes were sold that month, NAR Spokesman Walter Molony said. While decreased sales have come across the board, the biggest slowdown in home sales was in high-cost markets, NAR President Richard Gaylord said.

"Once buyers have greater access to higher loan limits, it will take a few months for increased shopping activity to translate into higher sales," Gaylord said. "We should see some movement of pent-up demand by this summer, but higher loan limits need to be implemented fully and promptly to have maximum benefit."

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