Las Vegas home sales still strong in October

Home sales in Las Vegas continued on a record pace in October, while prices dipped from the previous month and from a year ago, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday.

Realtors sold 3,118 single-family homes during the month, 3.8 percent fewer than in September, but a healthy 20 percent increase from the same month a year ago.

The decline in home sales from September to October is consistent with seasonal sales trends, said Paul Bell, president of the association.

"For at least the last seven years, we've sold fewer homes in October than we did during September," Bell said. "But I think the significant thing here is that October sales are up substantially from last year."

Seasonal trends suggest home sales will likely continue to decline through the holiday and winter months that make up the slowest season for home sales, he said.

But even with the expected lull in November and December, 2011 is running about 10 percent ahead of last year's sales pace and has a chance to hit 46,000 to 48,000 for the year, including condos and townhomes, Bell said. He attributes the sales surge largely to investors buying low-priced homes.

"A lot of retirees are buying, too," he said. "They're definitely here. I worked with a cash buyer in October on a home purchased as a foreclosure for $70,000 and sold for $110,000, with a remodel."

The inventory of single-family homes on the Multiple Listing Service fell to 21,478 in October, a 4.8 percent decrease from a year ago. Of those, 10,346 units are available without pending or contingent offers.

The median price of all single-family homes sold in October was $121,000, down 1.9 percent from September and down 9 percent from a year ago.

Realtors sold 763 condos and townhomes in October at a median price of $59,000, up 4.4 percent from September, but down 9.2 percent from $65,000 in October 2010.

About half of all existing homes sold in Southern Nevada were bought with cash.

Meanwhile, 25.4 percent of all existing local homes sold during October were short sales, which occur when a bank agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. That's up from 23.5 percent in September, but still down from a peak of 34 percent in June 2010.

Bank-owned homes accounted for 48.1 percent of all existing-home sales in October, down from 49.4 percent in September.

GLVAR reported a total of 4,563 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS at the end of October. That's up 10.5 percent from 4,129 in September and down 22.6 percent from one year ago.

Realtor statistics are based on MLS data, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners.

The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS in October decreased by 5.4 percent for single-family homes, to nearly $468 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all sales in October was nearly $57 million, down 18.1 percent from September.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at or 702-383-0491.