Las Vegas homebuilders keep notching sales totals above last year’s levels, and prices also are higher, according to a new report that issues a warning about looser lending.
Builders closed 681 new-home sales in Clark County last month, putting the year’s sum at 4,948. That’s up 21.2 percent from the same seven-month period in 2016, Home Builders Research reported.
The median sales price of July’s closings was $336,651, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier.
Builders also pulled 839 new-home permits last month, bringing the year’s total to 5,843, up 5 percent from the same period last year, according to Home Builders Research.
Overall in the Las Vegas Valley, builders sold the most homes last month in the southwest area, which accounted for 45 percent of the closings. Henderson was No. 2 at 22 percent, and the northwest valley and North Las Vegas tied for third at 10 percent.
Home Builders Research founder Dennis Smith and Vice President Andrew Smith wrote they expected sales volume to “ease off a little” heading into the third quarter, but that it would be stronger than in the past few years.
They also wrote that the “greatest concern” to the housing market’s continued recovery is “the threat of rising mortgage rates.” Higher rates would push up borrowing costs and, the Smiths wrote, drive “countless” buyers out of the market.
Some lenders are trying to draw up “new programs” to lend to people with “borderline” debt-to-income levels, they wrote, but many of these ideas are “chilling reminders” of pre-recession lending tactics.
“Putting more people further into debt in order to expand the industry is not the remedy that is needed,” the Smiths wrote.
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