Updated May 6, 2020 - 12:51 pm
Las Vegas house prices last month were up from a year ago, but sales and listings fell hard amid the economic shutdown sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — was $310,000 in April, up 3.3 percent from the same month last year, according to a new report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors.
A total of 1,971 houses traded hands last month, down 31.4 percent from April 2019. Owners also put 2,516 houses up for sale last month, down 41.6 percent, the group reported, indicating a sharp drop in sellers who want to test the market amid the turmoil.
The association pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service. A number of last month’s closings probably were in the works before the pandemic hit.
Las Vegas’ housing market started 2020 with a burst of sales but was widely expected to get hit by the fallout from the pandemic, which in March sparked statewide shutdowns of casinos and other businesses to help contain the virus’ spread, leading to record job losses.
‘A scary time’
Nationally, home prices are expected to slide 2 percent to 3 percent this year from pre-pandemic levels, though sales totals could plunge by as much as 60 percent, listing site Zillow predicted this week.
In Southern Nevada, some people are holding off from buying during the public health crisis, but others are grabbing homes to take advantage of low mortgage rates, Realty One Group agent Jillian Batchelor said last week.
Batchelor said she is showing homes daily to prospective buyers. They stay 6 feet apart, bring gloves and masks, and wipe down anything they touch.
“It’s definitely a scary time,” Batchelor said. “No one knows how long it will last.”
Some good signs
There were a few bright spots in housing last month amid all the turmoil in Southern Nevada. Prices didn’t collapse, and the tally of canceled deals tumbled from year-ago levels after soaring in March.
According to the association, 1,190 sales were canceled in April, down almost 11 percent from April 2019.
Broker Frank Gargano, owner of Real Estate Consultants of Nevada, said this week he’s had only one cancellation since the pandemic hit, and his deal volume has stayed at a “pretty normal pace.”
“I feel pretty fortunate that way,” he said. “Not all agents can say that.”
LVR President Tom Blanchard, a broker with Renters Warehouse, said in a statement that sales were expected to slide during the pandemic, though he figures “many people are surprised” by the tally of cancellations last month.
He also said it’s a good sign that prices held up “relatively well.”
“As we keep telling our members, we will get through this by working together,” Blanchard said.