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It’s the question: Is the housing recovery another bubble?


It’s the big question on the lips of jumpy locals still snakebitten by a nation-leading housing bust.

Have we recovered so quickly that we’ve created another bubble?

One local expert has crunched the numbers and offered some reassuring news: While the Las Vegas Valley’s housing market has improved notably since 2012, the gains aren’t out of line given where the market was — or where it should be.

That’s the word from Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with local research firm Applied Analysis. In a June 23 presentation hosted by the state’s Home Again: Nevada Homeowner Relief loan-modification program and Las Vegas, Aguero explained to a group of about 60 real estate agents and policymakers why there’s no need just yet to panic.

Sure, prices and new-home construction are way up statewide since the downturn.

The median resale price spiked to more than $170,000 in January, up from less than $100,000 in January 2012. And after hitting a recessionary low of $187,500 in February 2012, the median new-home price soared to $283,800 in March. Nevada led the nation in price increases in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s first-quarter State House Price Index.

Construction activity has spiked in lockstep. Nevada builders closed on 9,310 new homes in 2013, up about 50 percent from 6,327 units in 2011.

But if you think those run-ups sound frothy, relax. The trends are justified by population growth, job formation and new businesses, Aguero said. The state ranks No. 6 in population growth, with an annual gain of nearly 36,000 new residents. Population growth here is nearing 2 percent, compared with a national average of 0.7 percent. The state is also adding jobs, and Clark County’s business formation is up. The county added 1,540 private businesses in 2013, a turnaround from a net loss of 2,095 businesses in 2010.

What’s more, even with those broad improvements, the housing market is still at a more sustainable level that’s well below boom rates. Take new-home closings, which maxed out in 2005 at 45,455, or more than four times what they were in 2013. Population and job growth mean Nevada could add 11,000 units annually in coming years and not be overbuilding, Aguero said.

That’s not to say the market is great. Signs of instability abound. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold here today are vacant — a stat that should read more like 27 percent. Also, cash buyers — usually investors — make up 41 percent of the market. It goes without saying that foreclosures remain stubbornly high; Nevada ranked No. 4 in the first quarter for its share of seriously delinquent loans, with 7.3 percent of mortgages 90 days or more past due. That’s compared to a national rate of 5 percent.

Still, foreclosures may be poised for a slowdown. In loans just 30 days past due, which feed the longer-term pipeline of seriously delinquent mortgages, Nevada placed No. 43 in the nation, with a first-quarter share of 1.7 percent. The national average was 2.4 percent.

“Our housing market continues to improve, but we have a lot of work to do,” Aguero said. “It will start with the economy getting better, and end with us getting more progressive and continuing the incredible work that’s been done providing (loan modification) assistance for homeowners and growing jobs.”

■ Continuing education is on the agenda this summer for several local trade groups and public agencies.

CCIM Institute is holding a three-day seminar on financial analysis for commercial investment real estate. The class runs from July 14-17 inside the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors’ building at 1750 E. Sahara Ave. Soozi Jones Walker, CCIM, SIOR, of Commercial Executives Real Estate Services and real estate attorney Gene Trowbridge, CCIM, will lead the course. For more information, call Robin Civish at 702-734-4505.

Also, the Las Vegas Valley Water District will hold a development-community forum on water issues, customer concerns and scheduled improvements. The event is set for 9 a.m. on July 9 at 1001 S. Valley View Blvd. To RSVP or for more details, call Mike Weintz at 702-822-8606.

Finally, Las Vegas is hosting a free seminar for developers who want to learn more about the $28 million New Markets Tax Credits program designed to encourage investments in low-income and underserved neighborhoods. The class is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 30 inside the Historic Fifth Street School at 401 S. Fourth St. For more information, email nmtc@lasvegasnevada.gov.

■ Avison Young has expanded its local multifamily practice. The commercial brokerage added Michael LaBar and Michael Shaffner as vice presidents of capital markets, specializing in multifamily investments.

LaBar and Shaffner come to Avison Young from Marcus &Millichap, where they closed on more than $500 million in multifamily deals as vice presidents of investment.

■ A broker with Marcus &Millichap recently completed a medical-office deal.

Investment specialist Tim Erickson represented MedInnovations LLC in its $1.59 million sale of a 6,146-square-foot property at 283 N. Pecos Road in Henderson.

The Clark County assessor’s office didn’t list the new owner at press time.

Erickson said the deal “further reflects the increase in investor confidence in the Las Vegas market.”

The property, which has a five-year lease with big medical practice Healthcare Partners of Nevada, was on the market for just a month and sold at list price.

It also sold at a decent gain: MedInnovations bought the building for $1.3 million in 2009, county records show.

■ David Grant of Colliers International represented seller Emily Land Development Co. LLC in a $510,000 land sale in Henderson. Haley Harrison Hospitality LLC bought the 2.4-acre parcel, which is south of the southwest corner of Warm Springs Road and Julia Street. The property is zoned for community commercial use, which includes retail.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

 

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