Southern Nevada’s housing market bounces back in May

Southern Nevada’s housing market rebounded in May after a slight downturn in April.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday that the median sale price of a single-family home in the Las Vegas Valley hit $195,000 in May, returning to where it was in March after dropping to $192,000 in April.

The month’s median showed even bigger gains year over year, jumping 14.7 percent from $170,000 in May 2013.

The median price among condos and townhomes was $102,000, up 2 percent from $100,000 in April, and up 14.6 percent from $89,000 in May 2013.

“It’s good to see this kind of appreciation in our local home prices,” association President Heidi Kasama said. “Going forward, I think we’ll see prices continue to stabilize. Expect to see smaller percentages when we look at how much prices have increased year over year.”

Median prices are still well below their June 2006 peak of $315,000. But they’re also considerably higher than their nadir of $118,000, reached in January 2012.

Sales improved as well, with single-family closings coming in at 2,825 units in May. That was up 8 percent compared with April. But sales from January through May were off about 14 percent compared with the same period in 2013, Kasama said.

At current sales rates, the valley has less than a three-month supply of homes on the market, or about half of the six-month supply a balanced market would have. The valley had 6,615 available single-family units without pending or contingent offers in May — more than twice as many as it had a year earlier.

Also, cash and distressed sales continued to lose market share in May.

Cash sales, which mostly indicate investor activity, fell to 40.2 percent of closings, down from 41.4 percent in April and well below a February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent.

Short sales, which happen when lenders let borrowers sell a home for less than what they owe on a mortgage, made up 7.9 percent of resales in May, down from 12.4 percent in April.

Kasama said short sales have slid in part because of uncertainty over whether Congress will vote to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which expired Dec. 31. The act prevented loan amounts forgiven in a short sale from becoming taxable income.

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