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Las Vegas housing less affordable than US average, report shows

Updated October 5, 2018 - 6:04 am

If Las Vegas’ fast-rising home prices have strained your ability to buy a place, you’re not alone.

The valley’s prices have been climbing at one of the fastest rates in the country, and for the past year, a new report shows, the local market has been less affordable than the national average.

“Entry-level buyers are being priced out of the market,” said Chris Bishop, a branch manager with Coldwell Banker Premier Realty and president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

Clark County has a housing affordability score of 84, compared with 92 for the entire nation, according to a report this week by Attom Data Solutions. A score below 100 indicates that median home prices are less affordable than the historic average, the company said.

Clark County’s score has been below 100, and lower than the country’s, since the third quarter of 2017.

Las Vegas’ housing market accelerated in the past year or so amid low availability and strong demand. Builders are seeing rapid sales and record prices, developers are packing the suburbs with new apartment complexes, and both rental rates and sales prices are climbing faster in Las Vegas than in most big cities.

But amid affordability concerns, the resale market has shown some signs of a cool-down in recent months. Sales have slowed, and in a sharp reversal from the past few years, the number of houses on the market without offers has climbed.

The pullback comes as rising mortgage rates boost borrowers’ monthly house payments. Nationwide, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage in August was 4.55 percent, up from 3.88 percent the same month last year, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

In Las Vegas, the rising inventory of available houses “has definitely softened the market a little,” giving buyers more options and keeping prices in check, GLVAR’s Bishop said.

But there’s still a “huge demand” for homes, with properties priced below $300,000 attracting “aggressive buyers” and selling fast, he said.

The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes in August was $295,000. Among the houses that traded hands that month, about 72 percent had been on the market for just 30 days or less, the GLVAR reported.

After a long stretch of rising home values, Urban Nest Realty co-owner David J. Tina said, sellers can still make “great money” in Las Vegas.

But house hunters have more negotiating power due to the boost in inventory, he said, and sellers can’t put their house on the market for “whatever price they want” and expect to find a buyer.

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

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