Existing home sales rise in April

Home sales in Las Vegas increased in April while median prices fell by single-digit percentages and appear to have stabilized at the lower end of the market, Home Builders Research reported Monday.

Existing-home sales rose to 3,724 during the month, up 2 percent from a year ago. For the first four months of the year, resales increased 15.3 percent to 13,846 closings.

Prices have not changed much in the past year, Home Builders Research President Dennis Smith said. The median resale price fell to $128,000 in April, down $2,000, or 1.6 percent, from a year ago.

New-home sales showed a healthy jump to 471 closings in April, compared with 343 a year ago, including 61 high-rise closings at CityCenter. For the year, new-home sales are up 1 percent at 1,510.

The median new-home price fell 5.9 percent to $203,085, down $12,565 from a year ago.

"I can almost guarantee that new-home prices will go up because right now materials have gone up and the cost to build has gone up," Smith said. "Plus the price of a finished lot has increased to $40,000 to $45,000, whereas six months ago that number was $30,000 to $35,000. That’s just because there’s fewer of them."

Smith said he expects a "doozy of a month" in June. That’s when homes purchased by the April 30 deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credit must close escrow.

"We hope the lenders and processors are ready for the rush to close," he said. "You just know there will be last-minute issues that will keep many awake at night."

Las Vegas-based SalesTraq housing research firm showed 480 new-home sales in April, a 44.1 percent increase from a year ago. The median price fell 5.4 percent to $204,313.

Existing-home closings rose 3.6 percent to 4,323, and the median price crept up 0.9 percent to $126,000, the highest level in more than a year.

The increases may amount to small numbers, but the upward trend continues, real estate consultant Steve Bottfeld of Marketing Solutions said.

"Nearly every pundit has told the world that the Las Vegas real estate market is dead, or if not dead, is on life support," Bottfeld said. "April figures suggest that Las Vegas may not be out of the sick bay, but will probably recover more quickly than people think."

One reversal of a positive trend is the 2,146 repossessed homes, or foreclosures, in April, a 91 percent increase from a year ago. That followed decreases of 57 percent, 58 percent and 25 percent for the first three months of the year.

SalesTraq reported 969 short sales, or sales for less than the principal mortgage balance, at a median price of $122,000; 335 auction sales at a median of $93,000; 1,636 bank-owned, sales at $125,000; and 1,383 regular transactions at $135,000.

Smith didn’t find much to get excited about in April’s market report except for new-home building permits. He counted 481 permits in April, bringing the year-to-date total to 2,065, up 130 percent from a year ago.

"Subcontractors have been waiting for that," he said. "The important thing to me is there’s work out there for subcontractors. Building these new homes translates to people working, not only in the actual construction of the homes, but also the suppliers of all the materials, the loan processing, the title company work.

"I’m not concerned about excess inventory out there for new homes. It’ll go up over this period of transition for closings (from the tax credit). There will be some cancellations, some loan rejections, so there’s always going to be some standing inventory, but the builders will put out discounts and those houses will be gone in a month or two."

The National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for May showed builder confidence for new single-family homes at its highest level in more than two years.

Lenders are filing about 100,000 notices of default each day nationwide, but not all of those homes will come to the market as foreclosures, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac foreclosure listing service. Banks will react to market conditions, he said.

"If buying slows down, it’s less likely that banks will release these homes," he said. "We might actually see banks slow things down more than they already have if sales dip after the government incentives expire."

The government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program implemented April 5 was supposed to streamline the short-sale process and provide financial incentives for borrowers and lenders to work together to avoid foreclosure.

That hasn’t happened yet, Smith said.

"Most of the Realtors I’ve talked to said nothing’s changed," he said. "Short sales are still dragging. I’m still being told they won’t touch them. We’ve got to give the programs more time to see how they play out."

David Brownell of Keller Williams Realty in Las Vegas reported 1,563 real estate-owned closings, or 43.6 percent of 3,585 total home sales in April. Short sales accounted for 968 closings, or 27 percent of the total.

REOs make up 16.6 percent of the inventory, or 1,531 units, while short sale listings are 44.5 percent of the inventory, or 4,096 units.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0491.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like