Las Vegas Real Estate Sales Follow National Decline

Las Vegas real estate followed the national fall in home sales, recording a double digit decline in July sales. Foreclosure resales also increased for the first time in over …

Las Vegas real estate followed the national fall in home sales, recording a double digit decline in July sales. Foreclosure resales also increased for the first time in over a year, making up 48.9 percent of all resales. See the following article from DQNews for more on this.

The Las Vegas region logged its biggest year-over-year drop in home sales in more than two years last month as low mortgage rates failed to compensate for the weak economy and the fading influence of the federal home buyer tax credits. The median sale price fell from the prior month and a year ago to its lowest level since February, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 4,310 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) last month, down 22.2 percent from June and down 18.8 percent from a year earlier, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

On average, the region’s sales have fallen 8.1 percent between June and July since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. The 18.8 percent year-over-year decline in last month’s sales was the largest for any month since April 2008, when overall sales dropped 19.7 from a year earlier.

Last month’s sales tally was the lowest for a July since July 2008, when 4,134 homes sold, and it was 11.9 percent below average for the month since 1994.

Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – rose to 48.9 percent of all resales in July, up from 46.4 percent in June but down from a near-record 69.7 percent a year earlier. Up until last month, foreclosure resales had declined each month since they peaked at 73.7 percent of the resale market in April last year.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area in July was $129,900, down 6.5 percent from $139,000 in June and down 0.1 percent from $130,000 a year earlier. Last month marked the first time the median had fallen on a month-to-month basis since January and the first time it fell year-over-year since March.

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Last month’s median was 58.4 percent below the peak $312,000 median in November 2006.

The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses – by far the region’s largest home-type category – fell to $129,000, down 7.2 percent from $139,000 in June and down 4.5 percent from $135,100 a year earlier. The July resale house median was 58.7 percent lower than the peak $312,250 resale house median in July 2006.

The median price paid last month for resale condos was $71,000, down 1.4 percent from June but up 1.4 percent from $70,000 a year earlier. The resale condo median has been hovering a bit above or below $70,000 each month for more than a year. July’s resale condo median stood 65.0 percent below its $203,000 peak in July 2006.

An alternative price gauge – the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses – dipped to at $76 last month, down 2.6 percent from June but up 1.3 percent from a year earlier. Last month marked the fourth consecutive month in which that price measure didn’t fall year-over-year. Prior to this April, the median paid per square foot had declined year-over-year each month since late 2006. July’s figure was 60.0 percent below the July 2006 peak of $190 per square foot.

Meanwhile, foreclosures rose slightly last month from June but remained lower than last year. In July, lenders foreclosed on 2,701 single-family house and condo units in the Las Vegas region, up 2.7 percent from June but down 26.7 percent from a year ago. The peak month was February 2009, when 3,718 homes were foreclosed on. The figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed at the county recorder’s office.

In the first six months of this year, 16,907 Las Vegas region houses and condo units were lost to foreclosure, down 16.2 percent from the same six-month period last year.

The foreclosure totals can include units that the county assessor has designated condos, but are currently used as apartments (e.g. a 100-unit complex designated as condos but used as apartments could be foreclosed on and those units would be reflected in the foreclosure total for that month). For this reason and others, the number of foreclosure filings has seesawed, and a single month’s increase or decline doesn’t necessarily indicate a new trend.

Many of the region’s foreclosed properties sell to first-time buyers and investors, who often compete for distressed properties.

In July, a popular form of financing for first-time home buyers – government-insured FHA loans – accounted for 48.8 percent of all home purchase loans. That was down from 54.5 percent in June and down from 52.2 percent a year earlier.

Absentee buyers purchased 44.5 percent of all Las Vegas–area homes sold in July, paying a median $115,000, the same as in June but up from $100,000 a year earlier. Absentee buyers bought 37.5 percent of the homes sold in June and 39.1 percent in July 2009. Absentee buyers are often investors, but can include second-home buyers and others who, for various reasons, indicate at the time of sale that the property tax bill will go to a different address.

Buyers who appear to have used cash to purchase their homes accounted for 48.4 percent of all July sales, up from 42.1 percent in June and up from 42.8 percent a year earlier, based on an analysis of public property records. The median price paid in these seemingly all-cash deals in July was $108,000, up from $106,375 in June and up from $89,250 a year ago.

Specifically, these all-cash deals were transactions where there was no indication of a purchase mortgage recorded at the time of sale. Some of these “cash” buyers could have used alternative financing arrangements outside of a typical, recorded purchase mortgage, and in some cases they might be taking out mortgages after their purchases. All-cash deals have become popular in many Western markets where prices have dropped sharply, luring investor buyers who can’t always qualify for traditional mortgages. Moreover, sellers favor the relative speed and certainty of all-cash transactions.

Last month 3.6 percent of all homes sold had been “flipped,” meaning they had previously been sold on the open market within the prior six months. In June the flipping rate was 3.4 percent, while in July 2009 it was 2.9 percent. The region’s flipping rate peaked in September 2004 at 8.9 percent.

This article has been republished from DQNews. You can also view this article at DQNews, a real estate research and news site.

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