Housing market not showing signs of improving

Home sales and median prices showed no signs of improvement in August, Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research reported Monday.

There were 401 new-home sales during the month, compared with 426 in the same month a year ago. Resale transactions fell to 3,313 from 3,833 a year ago.

For the year, new-home sales have increased 18.6 percent to 3,806 and existing-home sales are up about 1 percent at 28,678, the local research firm reported.

The median price of a new home rose for the third consecutive month to $220,000, an increase of $10,000, or 4.8 percent, from a year ago. The existing-home median price was unchanged from a year ago at $122,000.

The resale price has fluctuated between $122,000 and $128,000 for the past 15 months, a trend that indicates stabilization in prices, Home Builders President Dennis Smith said.

Sales have not declined as much as experts had predicted after the homebuyer tax credit expired and have been a pleasant surprise, he said.

"Given the large amount of statistics reported with the majority of them in the negative area, we’re still selling some houses," he said. "It could be worse. It’s true the market’s bad, but not everybody’s dead. Would we like to see better numbers? Absolutely."

Home-building permit activity needs to improve, the research analyst said. He counted 338 new-home permits pulled in August, bringing the year-to-date sum to 3,671, up 45.3 percent from last year.

The second half of the year will most likely produce soft monthly permit counts, Smith said. No more "crutches" are expected from the government to spur production going into the spring, he said.

Despite national reports of economic recovery and the end of the recession, home builders’ confidence dropped in August, an index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Bank showed.

"Some people say we shouldn’t build any more homes, but there’s always some people who prefer new over resale because of the warranty, new neighborhood, the quality of construction," Smith said.

Realtor Lois Greer of Century 21 MoneyWorld said Las Vegas is attracting strong interest from second-home buyers and international buyers. She recently sold a home in North Las Vegas to a Canadian who also owned a home in Florida.

"You’d be surprised how many people are buying from out of the country," Greer said. "Canadians, Chinese, Asians, even Australians. Our world is getting smaller, as you know. People can get here on the drop of a hat."

Baby boomers are looking to buy second homes in Las Vegas at least as nice as the home they own right now, she said.

Greer said she got a call from a man who thought he could buy a $50,000 home in Las Vegas "at the snap of his finger," but found that he was competing against cash buyers and out-of-state investors. He ended up bidding $7,000 over list price to get a house for $138,000, she said.

"People think, ‘Oh, it’s bad, people aren’t buying houses here,’ but they are," the Realtor said. "Our market has slowed down, but we’re still rising a little bit."

Housing analyst Smith said the fourth quarter is shaping up to be the most difficult period of the housing recession. Average weekly net sales per new-home subdivision in Las Vegas dropped to 0.2 in the most recent week ending Sept. 12, compared with 0.3 to 0.5 in the previous nine weeks and 1.1 at the peak of the tax credit period.

The flat trend in housing prices could be considered a good thing, Smith said.

"Don’t be surprised if we see the new-home median price bounce downward a little for the next few months as move-up buyers continue to wait out the storm," he said. "The higher taxes for the wealthy rhetoric echoing from the White House has many potential move-up home buyers playing the waiting game."

Home Builders Research reported 68 high-rise condo closings in August, including 55 at the CityCenter project on the Strip.

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com found that luxury condo prices in Las Vegas are down 70 percent from their peak in 2005-2006, citing prominent properties such as Turnberry Place, where prices have dropped from $550,000 to the mid-$200,000s.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like