Sales of single-family homes increased to 2,983 in October and the median price held steady at $140,000, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday.
Sales rose 11.9 percent from the previous month, though they’re down 4.3 percent from the same month a year ago. The median price is unchanged from September, and is up 15.7 percent from a year ago.
“We’re selling houses right now, but there’s just a lot less to sell,” said Steve Hawks of Platinum Real Estate Professionals. “It started with (Assembly Bill) 284. We thought it was going to help short sales, but we found it’s more lucrative for people to stay in their houses and do a foreclosure.”
Expect sales activity to decline further into the holiday season, said Kolleen Kelley, president of the Realtors association.
She’s seeing a slight uptick in notices of default, the first step in the foreclosure process, but they won’t show up in the market until the beginning of next year at the earliest, Kelley said.
“Some of these listings are on the market because they got a default notice and figure they’d better do a short sale,” Kelley said. “A lot of people were sitting there and now the decisions are being made for them.”
Inventory grew by just three units from September to 16,778 in October, and has declined 21.9 percent from a year ago. The number of homes available for sale without a pending or contingent offer stood at 4,079, a 3.4 percent increase from the previous month, but down 60 percent from a year ago.
Realtors had 3,285 new listings in October, an 18 percent decrease from a year ago. The median price of new listings was $149,900, up 15.3 percent from a year ago.
Investors are still a big part of the market, Kelley said. Cash buyers accounted for 54.1 percent of October home sales, many of them coming from out of the country, she said.
Short sales, or lender-approved sales for less than the principal mortgage balance, were 44.7 percent of the market. Real estate-owned, or bank-owned, sales dropped to 11.6 percent of the market. Just a couple years ago, REOs were nearly half of all sales.
Kelley said there’s no word yet on whether the Mortgage Debt Relief Act will be extended beyond its Dec. 31 expiration date. The act exempts homeowners from paying income tax on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale.
Realtors sold 668 condos and townhomes during October at a median price of $72,000. Sales dropped 12.5 percent from a year ago, while the price rose 22 percent.
Data is based on information from the Multiple Listing Service and does not necessarily include for-sale by owner, new homes sold by builders and other transactions not involving a Realtor.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0491.