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Las Vegas homebuilders notch big jump in sales

Las Vegas homebuilders notched a big jump in sales last year and ended 2017 with another all-time high in prices.

Builders closed 9,401 new-home sales in Clark County last year, up 16.2 percent from 2016, according to a new report from Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

It was the highest annual tally in almost a decade, although sales totals remain a fraction of what builders fetched during the mid-2000s housing bubble, and they’re still below 1990s levels as well.

The median sales price of December’s closings, however, was a record $371,782, up 10 percent year-over-year. Monthly prices hit new highs several times last year.

Las Vegas’ homebuilding industry had “a great year” in 2017, but “key issues that seem to be entrenched” are crimping sales and construction, Home Builders Research founder Dennis Smith and President Andrew Smith wrote in the report.

They said builders can’t find enough lots that would let them sell at prices – less than $300,000 – that “target the majority of consumers.”

“This issue is not going to improve next year, if ever,” the Smiths wrote.

For 2018, they projected that prices would rise 7 to 10 percent and that builders would sell as many as 10,300 homes. But they also cited a concern about mortgage rates.

Higher rates would boost borrowers’ monthly payments, potentially squeezing buyers out of Las Vegas’ increasingly expensive new-home market.

“Hopefully, the powers that be continue to be very careful not to push the mortgage rates high enough to snuff out the market momentum gained during the last half of 2017,” the Smiths wrote.

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

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