Updated January 4, 2019 - 6:43 pm
Despite signs of a pullback in Las Vegas’ housing market, four local communities were in the top 25 nationally for builders’ sales last year.
Summerlin, which spans along the valley’s western rim, was No. 3 among U.S. master-planned communities with 1,318 new-home sales in 2018, up 25 percent from 2017, according to a report by real estate consulting firm RCLCO.
Last year’s sales tally was Summerlin’s “strongest performance in more than a decade,” Summerlin developer Howard Hughes Corp. said in a statement.
Inspirada, in Henderson, was ninth in the country with 717 new-home sales, down 14 percent from 2017, RCLCO reported. Cadence, also in Henderson, was 19th with 481 sales, up 5 percent.
Skye Canyon, in the upper northwest valley, ranked 21st with 478 sales, up 52 percent, according to RCLCO.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting sent out its own report on the top-selling master-planned communities. Its 2018 sales totals and rankings for the four valley communities were the same as RCLCO but did not provide year-to-year sales comparisons.
Amid fast-rising prices and higher mortgage rates, Las Vegas is seeing fewer resales – the bulk of the housing market – and a sharp rise in available listings. The homebuilding market has also shown some signs of cracks, but overall, builders are selling the most homes in years, helped by a big bump in less-expensive condo and townhouse sales.
It can be more expensive to live in a master-planned community than outside one. House prices are higher, and homeowners typically pay multiple association and improvement-district fees, said Las Vegas Valley real estate agent Shanta Patton of ERA Brokers Consolidated.
But, she said, a master-planned community is “a lifestyle, it’s not just a subdivision,” and homeowners get a lot in return for the higher costs, including parks and trails.
A recently published survey by Bethesda, Maryland-based RCLCO indicates that, nationally, there is “demand for a broader range of home types and sizes than is currently being offered, though builders give many reasons why they cannot meet the demand for lower-priced, entry-level homes,” managing director Gregg Logan and senior associate Karl Pischke wrote this week.
But master-planned communities that have consistently obtained the most sales have pointed to their strategy of targeting buyers from of a wide range of ages and incomes, they added.
Still, according to RCLCO, sales volume in the nation’s top-10-selling communities “has never fully recovered to pre-recession levels” – mirroring Las Vegas’ entire homebuilding sector.
With the valley awash in easy money during the housing bubble, builders closed nearly 39,000 sales in 2005 alone in Southern Nevada. Sales evaporated during the recession, though builders were on pace last year to close more than 10,000 annual sales for the first time in a decade, according to Home Builders Research.