Las Vegas homebuilders see big jump in sales in February

After a sharp drop in sales in January, Las Vegas homebuilders last month did a 180 and booked a big jump in deals, a new report shows.

Builders closed 810 new-home sales in Southern Nevada in February, up 27 percent from the same month last year, according to Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

The median sales price of February’s closings was $387,145, up 8.9 percent year-over-year.

By comparison, builders closed 611 sales in January, down 14 percent from a year earlier and the lowest tally in two years, Home Builders Research previously reported.

Home Builders Research President Andrew Smith said in this week’s report that he was “somewhat surprised” by February’s tally of closings.

He predicted last month that closings would post year-over-year declines “for the next few months” due to a slowdown in new sales contracts in the second half of 2018. Nevertheless, he wrote this week, “things are off to a good start.”

Perhaps helping the situation: mortgage rates, which climbed last year, are now sliding.

Nationally, the average rate on a 30-year home loan was 4.03 percent in January 2018, and by November it was 4.87 percent. Last month, it was down to 4.37 percent, according to mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac.

In his report, Smith wrote that he couldn’t say whether lower borrowing costs were “the only factor in the recovery of sales performance,” but added that it’s “quite interesting to see behavior of the two data points over the same time frame.”

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

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