Report: Local home prices dip slightly in April, still up sharply on annual basis

Local home prices dipped slightly from March to April but are still up sharply on an annual basis, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

The Realtors board reported the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada during April was $192,000, down 1.5 percent from $195,000 in March, but still up 15 percent from $167,000 in April 2013.

The median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold in April was $100,000, down 0.9 percent from $100,953 in March, but still up 17.6 percent from $85,000 one year ago.

“We’re not surprised to see local home prices starting to level off a bit,” GLVAR President Heidi Kasama said in the statement. “The Las Vegas area has been among the national leaders in home price appreciation for the past two years. Prices have to balance out eventually.”

In the statement, Kasama said local home sales so far in 2014 trail last year by about 15 percent, but sales perked up in March and April. And compared to one year ago, she said, Southern Nevada has more than twice as many homes available for sale without pending or contingent offers on them.

GLVAR continued to track the transition from distressed to more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. GLVAR has been reporting fewer short sales, which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage.

In April, 12.4 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down from 12.9 percent in March. Another 11.4 percent of all April sales were bank-owned properties, down from 11.9 in March.

Kasama said one of the reasons for the slide in short sales is uncertainty about whether Congress will vote this year to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 that expired Dec. 31, 2013.

If Congress doesn’t extend this law and make it retroactive to Jan. 1, she said, “it can create a big tax hit for anyone who did a short sale in 2014.” Kasma said Realtors are pushing Congress to extend the act for at least another year.

The total number of single-family homes for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service in April was 13,833. That’s down 0.8 percent from 13,944 in March and down 0.3 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 3,697 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in April, down 0.1 percent from 3,701 listed in March, but up 6.1 percent from one year ago.

GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of April. GLVAR distributes sales figures each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners.