Southern Nevada’s housing market has shown volatility during the past few years with many highs and lows — in both sales numbers and prices. According to realty executives and statistics, 2014 was a year of continued recovery for this market.
“I think that anybody who says that Las Vegas is still in recovery is a bit shell-shocked by what has happened. It was a very tough and a rough time, and Las Vegas was especially hit … Prices are still on the rise,” said Eric Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization. The son of the famous real estate mogul Donald Trump oversees management of Trump Las Vegas.
“Looking back at three or four years, the market is back, and the kind of inventory that was built has either been consumed by investors or consumers. The sales were down, and now the market is sound and has come a long way.”
At Trump Las Vegas, 2014 meant condominiums selling at $700 per square foot or more at the 64-story hotel-condominium development at 2000 Fashion Show Drive. It also opened another sales center. The nongaming property relaunched sales in 2012 and offers 1,232 condominiums, 50 penthouse suites and a plethora of amenities.
Las Vegas’ emergence as a metropolitan city has contributed to the market’s rebound, according to Trump.
“Las Vegas has really transformed as a city. If you go back 20 years ago, many went to Las Vegas to gamble. Now that has changed and the vast majority of revenue is nongaming. It has become a true metropolitan city …,” Trump said. He mentioned the convention centers, hotels, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and world-class chefs.
“Las Vegas has really diversified as a city. It is a place where people want to be.”
Other realty professionals agree. However, finding out the exact number of high-rise homes sold can be tricky. Like single-family homes, many are listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service. There are also private sales that are not tracked through the service. There are at least 25 condominium and hotel-condo developments in the Las Vegas Valley.
According to 2014 year-end reports released last week by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, the total number of Multiple Listing Service-listed vertical residences sold in 2014 declined, but the median sales price increased from the previous two years.
Six hundred thirty Multiple Listing Service-listed vertical residences were sold in 2014, compared with 752 in 2013 and 809 in 2012.
The 2014 median sales price was $310,250, an increase from $297,251 in 2013 and $228,000 in 2012.
Forty-nine percent of 1,281 vertical listings were sold, a decrease from 60 percent in 2013 and 2012.
By comparison, the 2014 median price of condominiums sold through the service was $98,000 and single-family homes was $199,450.
However, the actual sales number is higher because of private sales. Real Estate Millions reviewed eight actively selling high-rise reports that were generated by Nevada Title Co. and provided by Jim Navarro, vice president of sales at Pordes Residential, the company that in 2013 took over sales of Veer Towers. According to these reports, 469 sales occurred at Veer Towers, Trump Las Vegas, the Martin, Mandarin Oriental, Turnberry, Palms Place, One Queensridge Place and the Ogden. Some of these may be included in Multiple Listing Service sales.
Steady sales at Veer Towers can be attributed to growing buyer confidence and its Strip location, Navarro said.
“At Veer Towers, we have seen increased interest from buyers as the economy improves and expect it to grow with the limited inventory on the Strip,” Navarro said, adding 209 sales occurred since Pordes Residential took over at the two 37-story towers, with more than half closing in 2014, Its sales are not included in Multiple Listing Service statistics. The high-rise plans to release another 100 units for sale.
“People feel better here, and they feel better about the economy. Many see now as a great opportunity to buy a condo for great prices ranging from $250,000 to $2 million.
“Veer is unique in that it is in CityCenter. People like this location of living near the Strip. It is like a 16-million-square-foot playground with shopping, dining, entertainment and amenities. Literally, when you walk out of Veer, you are at CityCenter and can enjoy all that it offers,” he said.
“Citywide, I think that we will experience limited inventory because there are no new high-rises coming our way soon. I believe that we will continue to see a high volume of sales and are very optimistic for 2015.”
That growing confidence in the market contributed to the new owners of the Ogden (formerly Streamline Towers) restarting sales at the 21-story downtown Las Vegas high-rise last fall. The Ogden and the downtown mixed midrise and high-rise Juhl development were purchased in December 2013 by a partnership of KRE Capital, Northcap and Dune Real Estate Partners after the previous owners faced multiple financial challenges and converted unsold condominiums into leased units.
“There was clearly pent-up demand for housing of our caliber in downtown Las Vegas. In our first three months of sales, we have sold 10 percent of the (Ogden),” said Uri Vaknin, a partner at KRE Capital. The 275-unit development at 150 Las Vegas Blvd. North is offering those who are leasing residences with the first opportunity to purchase.
“Like in most other cities, people are looking at moving from the suburbs and single-family houses into the city. At The Ogden, we are seeing more and more buyers coming in from Summerlin and other suburbs and master-planned communities. They are excited about the authentic and vibrant lifestyle that downtown Las Vegas now offers,” Vaknin said.
“We see 2015 being the ‘Year of Downtown Las Vegas’ — with weekly openings of exciting new restaurants and retailers. The Ogden will be the great beneficiary of all of these positive improvements to downtown Las Vegas as we are the only option to purchase a condo in the heart of downtown.”
Vaknin expects a few changes at the Juhl.
“Juhl is an incredible success, being 95 percent leased, and we are focused on maintaining it as a for-lease property for now. We’re really excited to announce that we have signed seven retail/commercial leases for an exciting array of thoughtfully curated retailers – all of which will be up and running by spring 2015,” he said.
Looking Up in 2015
“What is great about this market is that the high-rises that we do have offer different value propositions,” said Randy Char, vice president of operations at One Queensridge Place and president of Char Luxury Real Estate. “You have the condo-hotels which are smaller condos and hotel-service oriented; there is Turnberry that is older and off-Strip; and then there is Queensridge which is off-off-Strip and offers luxury and the highest recorded prices,” Char said of the development at 9101 Alta Drive
During the past two years, about 100 of One Queensridge Place’s 219 residences have been sold for a combined $150 million in sales, or for an average of $1.4 million to $1.5 million each. Only four developer-owned condominiums remain.
“In 2015, I definitely see activity. People are going to move based on their need of place. For example, someone may move to the tower because they want to clear out of their custom home behind a guard gate. Some may want to move and buy bigger. Some might be at the opposite end and may want to move down,” Char said.
“Long-term I see more lifestyle-oriented products. I think that in the future lifestyle will be a continued priority for luxury consumers and high-rises tend to lend themselves to that higher offering.
“I think that the biggest challenge in the future will be that until it becomes profitable to build again, builders are not going to invest in a high-rise with the anticipation that ‘if you build, they will come.’ The development or the job needs to make sense and pencil in now. We are not there yet,” Char said, adding that there are no current plans to build another tower at One Queensridge Place.
“By the time the market does recover and developers do decide to build another high-rise, I believe that there will be a shortage for a time. It takes approximately three years to build and move people in to a high-rise because it is a massive undertaking.”