How hot is Las Vegas housing? Report calls gains ‘unsustainable’

As house hunters know all too well, Las Vegas home prices aren’t getting any cheaper.

If you’re wondering whether the market is in overdrive, Fitch Ratings weighed in this week, saying in a report that home-price growth “has become increasingly unsustainable” in the Las Vegas area.

As Fitch measures it, prices are about 15 percent overvalued in Southern Nevada, having steadily climbed since late 2013 when they reached overvalued territory again after the housing crash.

Limited inventory and increased buying is keeping prices overheated, Fitch managing director Grant Bailey said in a statement.

Las Vegas “has rebounded dramatically from the financial crisis, so much so that its upward momentum has carried it too far and home prices have now overshot,” he added.

All told, Nevada “has now emerged as the most overheated housing market,” Fitch declared this week.

This isn’t the first time since the economy tanked that people thought prices were climbing too fast.

Some people feared another bubble was inflating in 2013 because prices were skyrocketing around 30 percent year-over-year — a not-normal pace by any measure. Investors were behind the rise, buying cheap homes in bulk to turn into rentals, but once they started backing off, the growth rate cooled.

Today, Las Vegas home values are up 10 percent from a year ago, the third-fastest rate among large metro areas, according to listing service Zillow.

Whether you think the market is inflated a lot, a little or not at all, one thing’s for sure: It’s not nearly as bloated it was during the bubble years last decade, when easy money was fueling wild growth in construction, sales and prices.

According to Fitch, Las Vegas home prices were almost 48 percent overvalued in 2006.

Repos down but not out

Foreclosures keep falling in Las Vegas, but the valley still gets more repo activity than most metro areas, a recent report shows.

One in every 191 homes in the Las Vegas area was hit with a foreclosure-related filing in the first half of the year, down 30 percent from the same period in 2016, according to housing tracking Attom Data Solutions.

Las Vegas’ foreclosure rate, despite the big drop, was 18th among 200-plus metro areas listed in the report. Atlantic City led the pack with one in every 58 homes getting hit with foreclosure papers.

Attom tracks default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions for the report.

Can’t sell your house? Look outside Vegas … far outside

Foreign investment in U.S. housing has reached record levels.

The National Association of Realtors reported this week that foreign buyers and recent immigrants bought a record $153 billion worth of residential real estate between April 2016 and March 2017, up 49 percent from a year earlier.

The buyers picked up 284,455 properties, up 32 percent.

Buyers from China snagged the most properties – about 40,600 – followed by those from Canada (33,800) and Mexico (28,500), the association reported.

House hunters, open your wallet. Wider. A lot wider …

A home at Lake Tahoe is listed for a cool $75 million.

The estate, dubbed Crystal Pointe, spans 5 acres on the lake’s north shore in Crystal Bay. It features a main house, a guesthouse, a beach house and a caretaker’s apartment.

It boasts 13 fireplaces, a 10-seat theater, a four-car oversized garage, two elevators, ponds, waterfalls, and, in case you get thirsty, a 1,687-bottle wine cellar.

“Epic. Energetic. Empowering,” its website says.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that it’s the most expensive waterfront home ever put up for sale at Lake Tahoe.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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