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Las Vegas’ housing market ended 2020 with surge of sales

Updated January 6, 2021 - 4:22 pm

Las Vegas’ housing market ended 2020 with a surge of sales, capping a strong year amid an otherwise dreary economy.

Buyers picked up 3,305 single-family homes on the resale market last month, up 8.9 percent from November and 26.7 percent from December 2019, according to a report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors.

The median sales price for such homes was $345,000 last month, unchanged from the all-time high set in November and up 10.2 percent from a year ago.

Meanwhile, inventory continued to shrink. There were 3,240 houses on the market without offers at year’s end, down 13.7 percent from November and 41.5 percent from the end of 2019, LVR reported.

The association pulls data from its listing service, which largely comprises previously owned homes. Single-family houses make up the bulk of the market.

The coronavirus pandemic has kept people home and away from crowds for fear of getting infected, devastating the tourism industry, the backbone of Las Vegas’ casino-heavy economy. Southern Nevada’s housing market was initially hit with turbulence amid all of the chaos brought on by the outbreak, but it recovered and embarked on a now-monthslong hot streak of record prices and rising sales, thanks in large part to record-low mortgage rates.

Shrunken borrowing costs have let house hunters lock in lower monthly payments and stretch their budgets, fueling a surge that has bucked the broader economy.

Las Vegas’ unemployment rate in November, 11.5 percent, was highest in the nation among large metro areas as it grapples with sharp drops in visitor totals and gambling revenue from year-earlier levels.

“I think we surprised a lot of people with how the local housing market not only held up, but set records, during an otherwise rough year for our community and our local economy,” Aldo Martinez, 2021 president for LVR, said in a news release.

Martinez, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, added that he doesn’t “see much changing” in the housing market early this year. Demand is high, supply is tight, and mortgage rates are low, he said.

“As long as these trends continue, it’s a good bet that local home prices will keep rising,” Martinez said.

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

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