I had a great interview with James Chilton with the Mohave Valley Daily News on Monday.
2011 numbers similar to 2010
By JAMES CHILTON/The Daily News
According to numbers collected from the WARDEX listing service and compiled by local Realtor Petra Fahey of Real Living Country Ranch, 820 single-family homes were sold through the end of October across Bullhead City, Fort Mohave and Mohave Valley, an average of 82 a month. That’s slightly below 2010’s average of 84 per month, but close enough that Fahey believes it’s entirely possible that local Realtors could outdo 2010’s final total of 1,007 homes sold — the most since 2006.
“We’re definitely going to be right there at the tiebreaker,” Fahey said Monday. “I’m excited that it looks like we might surpass last year’s sales.”
But sales aren’t the only numbers Fahey says have been improving. Pricing, she said, appears to have finally leveled out after nearly four straight years of sharp declines. In fact, the average sales price has actually risen slightly this year, to $129,779 from the previous year’s $125,290, though again, Fahey tempered her optimism, noting that the median sales price — which ignores outliers on the high or low end of the price scale — has dipped to $113,950, down from $116,746 in 2010.
Still, she said, the month-to-month median price has become increasingly stable over the past three years, particularly when compared to the sharp drops experienced throughout 2008, when the median price began the year at $212,000 and finished it at $135,000.
“Now, it’s kind of a washboard — we’re up a little one month then down another,” Fahey said. “But the overall downward trend seems to have leveled out.”
As in previous post-bust years, foreclosures have continued to make up a majority of the homes sold here, but Fahey noted that the proportion has been dropping — albeit slowly — thanks in part to banks’ increasing willingness to assist troubled homeowners in the short sale process, heading off potential foreclosures before they actually happen. So far this year, foreclosures have accounted for 53 percent of all home sales compared to 61 percent in 2010 and 63 percent in 2009. Short sales, meanwhile, have climbed to 10 percent, up from 8 percent a year prior and just 6 percent in 2009. Traditional home sales also took up a bigger proportion of transactions this year, though they’re still well below where they were pre-bust, rising to 37 percent compared to 30 in 2010.
Of those looking to buy homes in the area, Fahey said many seem to be coming from the upper Midwest, particularly states like North Dakota, where the burgeoning oil industry has resulted in a jobs explosion, with not enough new homes to go around for the influx of jobseekers. She said many of the retired homeowners in that region who may already be spending their winters in the Southwest are now looking to capitalize off the situation by selling their in-demand homes and permanently relocating here.
Others, she said, may still have several years to go before retirement, but are now looking at purchasing a home for the purpose of renting it out for several years before they permanently retire here. With home prices now so much lower than they were in the boom years, she said, such moves make more fiscal sense, since the owner can charge more competitive rents while still making their monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, many of the foreclosed homes on the market are still either in relatively new condition or have been recently renovated by local contractors, whom Fahey said have begun purchasing some foreclosures at trustee sales for a pittance, fixing them up, then putting them back on the market for resale.
“It seems that everyone getting into their snowbird rentals is saying that they want to look at homes while they’re here this year to purchase something,” Fahey said. “I think that’s why, this coming year, we’re going to start seeing a lot of snowbirds buying here. Our pricing has gone down to 2002 levels — that’s lower than before the boom — and as long as the property is in good condition, that’s a really strong price point.”