Updated February 8, 2021 - 5:19 am
Las Vegas’ housing market, after heating up last year despite widespread economic pain, started 2021 far ahead of year-ago levels.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — was $345,000 in January, unchanged from both December and November, when they reached an all-time high, though prices were up 13.1 percent from January 2020, trade association Las Vegas Realtors reported.
Sales dropped sharply month-to-month as buyers picked up 2,638 houses in January, down 20.2 percent from December but up 15.5 percent from last January.
Las Vegas’ tight inventory of listings further shrank, as 2,315 single-family homes were on the market without offers at the end of January, down 28.5 percent from December and 52.8 percent year-over-year, LVR reported.
The association pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service.
LVR President Aldo Martinez, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, said in a news release that the market “continues to perform better during this pandemic than most of us expected” and that the new numbers “are especially encouraging when you consider that January is usually one of the slowest months for both home sales and prices.”
Demand is also strong and inventory remains tight nationally.
Across the U.S., sellers “failed to materialize in January, which has pushed the number of homes for sale to new lows and suggests that our new normal of rising prices and brisk sales is here to stay at least through the first half of the year,” Danielle Hale, chief economist with listing site Realtor.com, said in a recent news release.
People who are thinking of wading into the market this spring “should brace themselves for a competitive season,” especially for resales, she added.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked huge job losses and kept people home and away from crowds for fear of getting infected, devastating the tourism industry, the backbone of Las Vegas’ casino-heavy economy. Southern Nevada’s housing market was initially hit with turbulence amid the chaos brought on by the outbreak, but it recovered and embarked on a monthslong hot streak, thanks in large part to record-low mortgage rates.
Shrunken borrowing costs have let house hunters lock in lower monthly payments and stretch their budgets, fueling a surge that has bucked the broader economy.
Las Vegas’ unemployment rate in December, 10.4 percent, was the highest in the nation among large metro areas, federal officials recently reported.
Nevertheless, homebuilders landed more than 11,000 net sales — newly signed sales contracts minus cancellations — in Southern Nevada last year, the most since 2007, according to figures from Las Vegas housing tracker Andrew Smith, president of Home Builders Research.