Las Vegas Real Estate Market Shows Positive Signs

The Las Vegas real estate market looks to be on its way to recovering. Home prices have flattened out, and sales are ticking up. The market for lower …

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The Las Vegas real estate market looks to be on its way to recovering. Home prices have flattened out, and sales are ticking up. The market for lower priced homes – homes under $200,000 – is especially hot. Cash buyers, and absentee buyers also represent a major percentage of the buyers market. For more on this, continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

The number of homes sold in the Las Vegas area rose year over year for the fifth consecutive month in November as a surge in sub-$200,000 transactions made up for a decline in activity above that threshold.

Prices appeared flat, with the region’s overall median sale price stuck at $115,000 for the third consecutive month, a real estate information service reported.

In November, 4,460 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County). That was down 3.1% from October but up 11.2% from November 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

A dip in sales between October and November is normal. On average, sales have fallen 3.9% between those two months since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region statistics begin.

Last month the number of homes that resold rose 11.3% on a year-over-year basis, marking the eleventh consecutive month in which resales have posted an annual gain. It was the highest number of resales for a November since 2009, and the second-highest since 2005. November sales of newly-built homes also rose from a year earlier, by 9.8%, but were still the second-lowest on record for a November. New-home sales have risen year-over-year for the past five consecutive months.

Once again, sales were strongest in the lower price ranges. The number of November transactions below $100,000 climbed 32.8% from a year earlier and made up 41.6% of all deals, compared with 34.9% of all sales in November 2010. The number of sales below $200,000 last month rose 16.5% year-over-year, while the number above $200,000 fell 8.8% from a year earlier.

Robust Las Vegas home sales below $200,000, and especially below $100,000, have put 2011 on track to have the highest total home sales in five years and the highest resale activity in six years. The number of new and resale houses and condos that sold between January and November this year totaled 50,586, up 6.9% from the same period last year and the highest since 2006, when 74,608 homes sold during that 11-month period.

This year 45,637 homes resold between January and November, up 8.6% from last year and the highest for that period since 2005, when 56,512 homes resold.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area last month was $115,000, up insignificantly from $114,950 in October and down 9.5% from $127,050 in November 2010. It was the 14th consecutive month in which the median fell year-over-year.

November’s new-home sales represented 11% of all transactions, compared with a monthly average of 28.5% of all sales over the last decade. November’s condo sales represented 17.7% of total Las Vegas sales, compared with a 10-year monthly average of 13.8 %.

In November, a form of low-down-payment financing that’s popular with first-time home buyers — government-insured FHA loans — accounted for 39.4% of all home purchase loans. That was up from 38.4% in October but down from 45% a year earlier. The current cycle’s peak was 55.1% in September 2008.

Cash buyers purchased 48.9% of the Las Vegas-area homes sold last month. That was down from 49.3% in October and 49.4% a year earlier. The record was 56.7% this February. Cash buyers in November paid a median $82,000 for a home in the Las Vegas area, down from $84,000 in October and down from $95,500 a year earlier.

Absentee buyers — mainly investors and vacation-home buyers — purchased 46.2% of all homes sold in November. That compares with 46.6 % in October, 43.9% a year ago and a record 49.9% in March this year. Absentee buyers paid a median $90,000 last month, the same as in October and September but down from $105,000 a year earlier.

Distressed property sales — the combination of foreclosure resales and "short sales" — made up more than two-thirds of the Las Vegas resale market last month.

Foreclosure resales — homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months — accounted for 52.4% of the Las Vegas resale market in November. That was down from 52.8% in October and 53.1% a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 73.7 % of the resale market in April 2009. Last month’s figure was the lowest since September 2010, when it was 50.8 %.

Short sales — transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property — made up an estimated 14.8% of Las Vegas-area November resales. That compares with an estimated 12.7% in October, 13.2% a year ago, and 11.7% two years ago.

This article was republished with permission from TheStreet.

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