Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | 10:07 a.m.
Homes are more affordable in Las Vegas.
The price of an existing home in April fell to its lowest level since 1998, and the drop generated the most sales since the peak of the market in June 2006, according to statistics released Tuesday by SalesTraq.
The median price of existing homes fell nearly $10,000 in April to $125,000, a 57 percent drop from the peak of the market at $289,500 in June 2006. The average price per square foot was $78.58, a 42 percent drop from $135.73 in April 2008.
In April, 4,063 existing homes were sold, 437 more than March and 78 percent more than April 2008, according to SalesTraq. That’s the most since 4,198 in June 2006.
Foreclosures continued to drive the price decline, accounting for 62 percent of the sales in April. The median price of homes sold by lenders was $115,000, $30,000 less than nonbanked-owned home sales, SalesTraq reported.
The research firm reported that the 1,289 home repossessions in April was the fewest in 16 months, and housing analyst Steve Bottfeld, executive vice president of Marketing Solutions, said that may bode well for the housing market recovery.
April was the third consecutive month that foreclosures dropped and second consecutive month in which foreclosure sales exceeded repossessions. In April foreclosure sales were nearly double the number of foreclosures created, Bottfeld said.
While that’s good news for the market, Bottfeld tempered it by pointing out that in March a self-imposed bank moratorium on foreclosures was lifted and the numbers will spike at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third quarter.
“Two months of data does not make a trend, but the last two months of data appear to represent significant change and new hope for a shorter negative cycle in Las Vegas,” Bottfeld said.
The number of homeowner defaults remain high, and many analysts expect a spike in foreclosures in the coming months that will further depress home prices. Lenders supposedly have thousands of homes in inventory that they have yet to put on the market, analysts said.
SalesTraq reports the inventory of existing homes is 16,202, about 4,400 fewer than January and the lowest since April 2006. The market has a 5.5 month supply, the firm noted.