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Las Vegas home prices forecast to fall in 2020 as prices rise nationwide

Updated December 4, 2019 - 5:41 pm

Home prices are expected to inch higher across the country next year, but not in Las Vegas.

Listing site Realtor.com predicted in a forecast released Wednesday the median sales price of previously owned homes will fall 1.1 percent in Southern Nevada in 2020, compared with a 0.8 percent gain nationwide.

Moreover, resale totals are expected to slide 1.8 percent nationally but drop 9.5 percent in Las Vegas, the third-steepest fall among the 100 metro areas listed in the report.

Las Vegas’ housing market cooled off this year after a heated run sparked affordability concerns, and Realtor.com is predicting that things will keep slowing locally and nationally in 2020.

Buyer activity has picked up lately in Southern Nevada. But overall, home prices have grown at a much slower pace than in 2018, builders have closed fewer sales, and the once-shrunken tally of listings without offers has shot back up.

Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors President Janet Carpenter disagreed with the forecast, pointing to the new projects and employers coming into Southern Nevada, and said the housing market has been “very stable” this year with limited price fluctuation.

Carpenter, managing broker of Signature Real Estate Group’s Summerlin office, expects the sales total in 2020 to be “fairly comparable” to this year’s tally. She also said homes priced below $350,000 can still get multiple offers, while more expensive ones get less attention from prospective buyers.

Previously owned single-family homes – the bulk of Las Vegas’ sales market – traded for a median price of $307,000 in October, according to the GLVAR.

Price gains have shrunk locally and nationally, and Southern Nevada recently tumbled in the rankings after posting some of the fastest-growing home prices in the country for two years, buoyed by an improved job market, tight inventory and a growing population.

Locally, prices were up 2.9 percent year-over-year in September, according to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index, down from a 13.5 percent gain in September 2018.

Orange Realty Group managing broker Tom Blanchard, next year’s GLVAR president, said a 3 percent price gain used to be considered normal. And even though the market has downshifted this year, he noted that Las Vegas has made “great strides” in its recovery from the Great Recession, when Southern Nevada was ground zero for America’s real estate crash.

For instance, so-called distressed home sales — purchases at foreclosure auctions and sales of foreclosed or underwater homes — account for just 3.3 percent of resales in the valley this year. That’s down from almost 73 percent in 2011, when the economy was in the gutter, according to recent figures from Las Vegas consulting firm Applied Analysis.

Nationally, home prices are expected to post a paltry jump in 2020. Consumers will pull back on spending amid economic uncertainty, and first-time homebuyers will “continue to struggle with affordability,” Realtor.com predicted Wednesday.

House hunters will get some relief as mortgage rates “remain reasonable,” prices flatten out and the supply of new homes offsets the “inventory pressure” that built up in recent years.

Meanwhile, the report said, sellers will face “dormant price growth and slowing activity, which will require a greater level of patience and a thoughtful approach to pricing.”

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

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