Sales of resale homes in the Las Vegas area rose for the seventh consecutive month in July but were down 7.6 percent from January through July compared to the same period last year, and the resale median price was down 24.5 percent year-over-year in July, a research company reported.

The Las Vegas metro area had steep climbs in home sales and pricing during the boom years (see Inman News report) but has since ranked among the hardest-hit markets during the current slump, with high levels of foreclosures and price declines.

Home Builders Research Inc. also reported in its July report that "over 60 percent of the recorded resales in July were foreclosed properties," and "over 50 percent of the listed homes for sale are vacant."

According to Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors data, there were about 28,961 single-family and condo/townhomes for sale in July in the area, for an estimated 10-month supply of inventory not counting upcoming foreclosures and bank-owned properties that are expected to hit the market in the next year, the research company reported.

The median price of recorded resales in the Las Vegas area was $210,000 in July, down 3.7 percent compared to June and down 12.5 percent compared to January 2008 but up 23.6 percent compared to the median price five years earlier, in July 2003.

"The resale prices will continue to soften as we go through the fourth quarter this year," the research company reported. "As long as rising foreclosure numbers in Las Vegas continue to make headlines we can expect to see existing-home prices ‘darken the recovery cloud.’ Will the overall median price go below $200,000? We hope not, but it could happen," the report states.

Also, the report notes that a bigger worry is "how long the resale prices stay at, or near, the bottom of the cycle," and a lot of that "will be determined by how long some of the lenders take to process the short sales and bank-owned (REO) properties."

Short sales can be a "huge headache," the report states, drawing many complaints from buyers, sellers and real estate, mortgage and title professionals alike.

Home Builders Research also reported that new-home sales were down 46.6 percent in the January through July period this year compared to the same period last year, with new-home permits down 54 percent.

A separate report, the Las Vegas Real Estate Market report by The Jenson Group, a luxury real estate group, reported that the number of short sales closed in August increased 7 percent compared to July, and the number of listings on the market declined 1 percent in August compared to July.

There were 970 single-family units on the market with a sale price over $1 million as of Sept. 1, according to The Jenson Group’s report, a 1.3 percent decline compared to the prior month. And there were 20 single-family residential units sold for over $1 million in August — the same as in July.

One condo with a price tag above $1 million sold in August, and 169 such units were on the market as of Sept. 1.

For the year-to-date as of Sept. 1, about 80 percent of luxury home sales in the Las Vegas area were in guard-gated communities.

Applied Analysis, another real estate research firm, reported that about 64.5 percent of homes on the market were either vacant or occupied by tenants, indicating a "slant toward investor-speculator units."

And for-sale listings were down about 23.4 percent compared to the same week last year.

During the past three months, short sales represented about 8 percent of all closings in the Las Vegas area, and a 9.2 percent share of all closed transactions in August.

The number of for-sale listings as of Sept. 1 was down 23.4 percent compared to the same time last year, Applied Analysis also reported, which was mostly due to a decline in owner-occupied units on the market. The number of for-sale vacant properties dropped 8.1 percent year-over-year as of Sept. 1.

The share of vacant for-sale homes has increased from 50.7 percent as of June 2 to 54.7 percent as of Sept. 1.

There were a total of 1,282 new foreclosures reported in Clark County, Nev., in August, down 12.9 percent from August 2007. There were 1,266 new foreclosures in July 2008 and 1,294 in June 2008, Applied Analysis noted in a separate report.

The research company stated, "While the residential market has witnessed overall declines in inventory and varying sales levels, additional downward pressure on pricing may persist. Consumers waiting on the sidelines may find themselves trying to time the market at its absolute low point. This timing element and continued uncertainty will likely extend the recovery time in the residential sector."

The National Association of Realtors reported that the median sales price of resale single-family homes in the Las Vegas metro area dropped 23.6 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, falling from $307,900 in second-quarter 2007 to $235,300 in second-quarter 2008. The median price had fallen 6.2 percent from 2006 to 2007 in the Las Vegas metro area.


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