Homeowner fears glut of bank-owned homes

Q: I was thinking of selling my house last year but figured the increases may continue, and I was right so far. But I have two questions:

1. Do you think the September 1 percent drop (in the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada) is the start of a monthly drop for many months to come? Why or why not?

2. What happened to that rumor that the banks were supposed to release thousands of homes into the market and cause the prices to tumble down?

A: As they say, hindsight is 20-20. Since your question refers to median price of existing homes sold here in Southern Nevada dipping slightly during September, I can give you a definitive answer.

The answer came in October, when our Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors statistics showed that local home prices bounced back from that one-month lull and went up again from September to October.

GLVAR reported the median price of an existing single-family home sold in Southern Nevada during October was $185,000. That was up 2.8 percent from $180,000 in September, a month that ended a 19-month run of rising local home prices dating back to February 2012. October’s median home price was 32.1 percent higher than October 2012, when the median price was $140,000.

In case you were wondering about other housing types, the price of local condos and townhomes sold during this same time increased at an even faster rate.

According to GLVAR, the median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold here in October was an even $100,000. That was up 5.3 percent from $95,000 in September and up 38.9 percent from $72,000 one year ago.

When we released these statistics, I said I wouldn’t be surprised to see local home prices dip again during the holidays since home prices and sales usually cool off along with the weather. We’ll know in the coming weeks whether that happened.

In any case, these statistics tell me that we’re seeing a more stable housing market than we had in the past two years or so.

As for those who think the sky is falling, it’s important to maintain some perspective on this real estate roller coaster we’ve been riding in recent years. Existing local home prices bottomed out at a median price of $118,000 in January 2012 before appreciating for a record 19 straight months. Still, local home prices are just now back to where they were five years ago, and prices are a long way from their June 2006 peak of $315,000.

As for your second question about rumors of banks releasing thousands of bank-owned homes in a short period of time, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Some people have been speculating about this for years now, and it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, the trend is actually going in the opposite direction, with banks foreclosing less frequently and releasing fewer homes onto our local housing market.

GLVAR continues to track fewer foreclosures and short sales — which occur when a lender agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage.

In October, 21 percent of all existing home sales were short sales, down from 23 percent in September. Another 6 percent of all October sales were bank-owned properties, down from 7.4 percent in September. The remaining 73 percent of all sales were the traditional type, up from 69.6 percent in September.

In fact, we’re seeing fewer sales involving distressed homeowners than we have in years.

Send your real estate questions to me at ask@glvar.org so I can answer them in this space.

Dave Tina is the 2013 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for more than 35 years. GLVAR has more than 11,000 members. E-mail questions to ask@glvar.org. For more information, visit www.lasvegasrealtor.com.


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