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Home prices swing up on several lists in industry

‘Tis the season for housing reports.

We’ve received a spate of studies looking at where local and national residential real estate has been, and where it’s going.

First up, the stuff we already knew, but is good to hear coming from other people.

Some national trade groups and brokerages gave Las Vegas the nod for blistering price appreciation, a trend that local groups have pointed to for more than a year. The RE/MAX National Housing Report, which surveys data from the Multiple Listing Service in 52 markets, found that the median sale price in the Las Vegas Valley jumped 23.5 percent year over year in January. That was the third-best gain in the nation, after Detroit’s 35.2 percent and Atlanta’s 28.6 percent.

The average increase among all 52 markets was 11.6 percent, RE/MAX found.

Mortgage technology company FNC’s Residential Price Index showed a 26.1 percent price spike for Las Vegas year to year in December, well above the 10.4 percent average boost in the nation’s 100 biggest metropolitan statistical areas. Only Sacramento, Calif., with a jump of 30.4 percent, bested Las Vegas.

Listing prices were up even more in January, though asking prices can be as much a sign of overexuberance as they are a harbinger of recovery. The National Association of Realtors reported a 29.6 percent bump year to year in median list price, to $175,000. The country’s median asking price rose 8.3 percent, to $195,000.

Inventory bucked the national trend here, too: Total listings fell 10.4 percent to 16,878, compared with a nationwide gain of 3.1 percent. Properties for sale also stayed on the market for shorter periods in Las Vegas. The valley’s 104-day median listing age was down 8 percent year over year, and below a national median of 115 days.

On the new-home side, prices soared 36.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, ending the year at $300,469, according to a report from local research firm SalesTraq. Closings were up 31.3 percent, to 7,076. Permits jumped 15.9 percent, to 6,776.

And January also came in strong, with another 36 percent increase in new-home prices year over year, according to local analysis firm Home Builders Research.

Despite those improvements, the local housing market is relatively accessible, if you look at research company RealtyTrac’s latest Housing Affordability Analysis.

The average local house payment in 2012 was $501 a month, based on a 30-year fixed mortgage with 20 percent down at 4.46 percent interest, according to the February report. That average jumped to $714 in 2013. The qualifying income you needed to buy here surged from $24,035 to $34,285, but that was still below the median local household income of $49,546. And it’s still cheaper to buy in Las Vegas than to rent, the study said.

Part of the rising monthy payment came from higher interest rates. Federal loan backer Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed a 4.43 percent rate on a 30-year fixed loan in January, up from 3.41 percent in January 2013. Interest rates could pick up steam later in the year, as the economy improves and a harsh winter in the Midwest and on the East Coast gives way to more housing activity, according to mortgage research firm HSH.

Put it all together, and the local housing market “finished (2013) in a better position than when it started,” SalesTraq’s report summarized. Still, expect prices to flatten in 2014, as sales volumes slow and prices line up more with incomes.

■ Kirk Boylston has left the local commercial real estate scene.

Boylston, who moved to Las Vegas in 2003 to join EJM Development Co. and had leadership positions with NAIOP’s Southern Nevada chapter, is moving to Sarasota, Fla., to take the helm of a commercial real estate brokerage.

Boylston will be president of LWR Commercial Realty, a firm that sells and leases space in the 17,500-acre Lakewood Ranch master plan.

As regional director of EJM, Boylston oversaw a local portfolio of more than 5 million square feet. He led development on the 450-acre Arroyo, a master-planned, mixed-use development off the 215 Beltway between Rainbow Boulevard and Buffalo Drive.

LWR executives said in a statement that they sought Boylston for his national marketing expertise.

Boylston is immediate past president of NAIOP Southern Nevada. He’s a native of Siesta Key, Fla.

■ A California investment firm that has holdings in Southern Nevada has more money for new acquisitions.

The Bascom Group said it has raised $80 million in investor equity. With leverage, the company said it will have $300 million to invest going forward.

Now, Bascom is looking for Class B and Class C apartment communities that are priced from $8 million to $45 million and “often outside the typical investment parameters of many institutional investors,” managing partner Jerome Fink said.

“Historically, we have been able to find better risk-adjusted returns on value-added deals with these characteristics,” Fink said.

Bascom owns Broadstone Montecito, a 7-year-old, 336-unit community that it bought in September for $36.6 million.

Fink said at the time of the purchase that Bascom expects “a strong recovery in the Las Vegas market and we look forward to growing our presence there.”

■ Recreation Development Co. landed a contract to build a bakery on the Strip for a reality TV star.

The design-build firm will construct Carlo’s Bakery, owned by Buddy Valastro of TLC’s “Cake Boss.” The store will be inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, across from Valastro’s Buddy V’s Ristorante.

Work is underway on the $2 million project, which is scheduled for completion in March. Celano Design of New York and Moser Architecture Studio of Las Vegas are also working on the project.

■ Developable land may still be hard to come by, but homebuilders are grabbing it wherever they can.

Pulte Homes dropped $6.15 million on 19 acres near Warm Springs Road and Buffalo Drive, next to St. Rose Dominican’s San Martin campus. Derek Rafie of CBRE represented the seller, Bank of Nevada. The site is new on the homebuilding market: Residential construction was previously restricted because the land was part of McCarran International Airport’s Cooperative Management Area. Thanks to today’s quieter jets, the airport is easing up on housing development in the area.

Brokers with Colliers International recently closed on two residential deals. Robert Torres and Scott Gragson represented GK Acquisitions LLC in its sale of 4.16 acres at the northeast corner of Dewey Drive and Riley Street. KB Home LV Spanish Ridge Durango LLC bought the property for $1.6 million.

And Vincent Schettler represented Investor Equity Homes LLC in its sale of 4 acres at Durango Drive and Cactus Avenue. StoryBook Investments LLC bought the land for nearly $1.4 million.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.


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