Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Las Vegas home sales dip for second month

Southern Nevada home sales dipped for the second consecutive month as the supply continues to dwindle and foreclosures account for a lower percentage of sales, according to statistics released today by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

The 2,390 sales of single-family homes in February fell 8 percent from January. January’s sales fell 24 percent from December, according to the GLVAR, which tracks homes sold using the Multiple Listing Service.

Home sales traditionally slow during the holidays, but sales were up only 4.5 percent compared to February 2009. January’s sales were up 17 percent over the previous year and December’s sales were 37 percent higher than December 2008.

The decline in sales could be attributed to a decline in inventory, analysts said. The 20,262 homes listed at the end of February was 8.5 percent fewer than a year ago and the number of available units with no pending offers fell nearly 2 percent from January to 7,974.

The Southern Nevada housing market could benefit from an increased supply of homes to meet the demand, said GLVAR President Rick Shelton. The 4,087 new listings in February declined 5.5 percent from January and fell 17.5 percent from February 2009.

“Sales are relative to inventory,” Shelton said. “I think we need more selection to fuel more sales. If you look at the number of homes that are really available and our current sales pace, we really only have about a three-month supply of homes on the market. I think buyers want more selection.”

Fewer foreclosure properties are ending up on the market as more lenders continue to work with homeowners instead of foreclosing on them, Shelton said.

The GLVAR reported that 53 percent of the homes sold in February were foreclosures, down from 57.4 percent in January. A year ago, foreclosures accounted for about two-thirds of sales.

The percentage of short sales increased to 22 percent in February, up from 21 percent in January. Short sales are cases in which the lender allows the homeowner to sell the property for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

Investors continued their dominate presence in February with 48.7 percent of sales being all-cash deals. That was up from 45.5 percent in January. Nearly 47 percent of the homes were on the market for fewer than 30 days compared to 39.4 percent in February 2009.

With the declining inventory, the price of single-family homes rose slightly in February to $135,694, a 0.6 percent increase over January’s price of $134,925, according to the GLVAR. The February price is 12.8 percent lower than February 2009.

The drop in prices over the past year was reflected in transactions, which totaled $402.3 million in February. Despite more homes being sold than February 2009, the value fell 4.5 percent.

In the condominium and town home market, the 685 sales in February rose 4.1 percent over January and was 55 percent higher than February 2009. The median price of those units was $65,000, down 5.8 percent from the $69,000 price in January. That’s down 13.3 percent from $75,000 in February 2009.

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