If you asked Santa for higher home values, you’re in luck.
The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that the traditionally slow holiday season brought a slight uptick in local home prices. The median price among single-family homes in the Las Vegas Valley reached $204,000 in December, up 1 percent from $202,000 in November and 10.3 percent from $185,000 in December 2013, the association said.
Home prices tend to dip in the November-December period.
Higher prices also came amid slower sales activity for the year. The association reported the sale of 36,550 local properties through its Multiple Listing Service in 2014. That’s the lowest number in at least six years; closings hovered between 41,000 and 49,000 from 2009 to 2013.
Association President Keith Lynam said prices “have held up” because the market is moving higher-priced homes.
Lynam said stability in the market is also helping, as foreclosures and short sales make up a smaller share of closings. Eight percent of local sales in December were bank-owned properties, down from 8.5 percent a year earlier. Short sales were 10 percent of the market, down from 20.7 percent a year ago. Realtors say the decline in short sales is because of the January 2014 expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which offered tax benefits for consumers who go through a short sale.
Cash sales, which suggest investor activity, dipped to 34.1 percent, compared with 44.4 percent a year ago. Cash closings peaked at nearly 60 percent in February 2013.
The median price of condos and townhomes in December was $105,000, down 5.8 percent from $111,450 in November, but up 9.4 percent from December 2013.
Year-to-year price gains have slowed significantly since 2012 and 2013, when they were jumping by roughly 24 percent a year.
The median price of a local single-family home bottomed out at $118,000 in January 2012. Despite three years of double-digit gains, it’s still well below its June 2006 high of $315,000.