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Las Vegas high-rise market rebounds

The high-rise market continues on a record-setting pace through the first eight months of 2021 and shows no signs of slowing as Realtors say a lack of luxury homes on the market is pushing more people to luxury condos.

There were 126 sales in high-rises of five stories and higher in August to bring the yearly total to 884, according to Forrest Barbee, corporate broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Once September is completed, Las Vegas could pass the all-time record of 970 sales in 2017. There were 155 pending sales at the end of August.

The rebound in the high-rise market continues to be astounding after a difficult 2020 when people were fleeing the dense high-rise living during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when buildings curtailed pools and other amenities. There were only 584 sales in 2020, Barbee said.

“I see high-rise as a great alternative to a luxury property buyer who cannot find the luxury single-family residence that they are looking for due to a lack of inventory with that product,” said Frank Napoli, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “There’s a substantial amount of buyers that want a condo as their first choice, but I have also worked with people who were looking for a home but couldn’t find it and don’t have the time or patience to build something. A luxury high-rise condo is a second alternative.”

Even people who are selling their luxury homes are turning to high-rise living because there aren’t as many home options as they want, said Anthony Spiegel, a Realtor with the Ivan Sher Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Others are renting high-rise units until more luxury homes are available, he said.

In a look at 21 high-rise condos on the Strip, downtown and in Summerlin, research firm Applied Analysis reported sales volumes in the high-rise condominium market accelerated during the second quarter of 2021. Increased demand was timed with improvements in the broader housing market and tourism industry, according to Applied Analysis Principal Brian Gordon.

Through the first half of 2021, some 541 luxury units in the 21 buildings closed, which exceeded the 505 for all of 2020. There were 607 sales in 2019 and 836 in 2018 in those 21 buildings, the firm reported.

The average price also continued to rise, demonstrating strength and confidence in high-rise buildings in the Southern Nevada market, Gordon said.

The average price for 2021 was $586,713 or $428 per square foot. The second quarter had an average price of $616,908 or $443 per square foot. The average price in 2020 was $527,831 or $401 per square foot, according to Applied Analysis.

“The easing of COVID restrictions and caseloads throughout the majority of the second quarter likely played a role as a significant share of buyers are second-home owners or investors,” Gordon said. “While there is heightened concern about the rapidly evolving status of the pandemic at present, the hope is that the worst remains in the rearview mirror.”

Napoli said the condo market was on pace to do well until the pandemic started and came to a “screeching halt.” Building amenities were closed and the Strip was shut down as well.

“People were concerned about being around other people,” Napoli said. “No one wanted to be in elevators or in common space, and that hurt the high-rise market. We saw inventory double or more than double in some buildings. Now fast forward in 2021 where the whole housing market continues on an upward trajectory, the high-rise market is finally starting to pick back up.”

Napoli said there’s always been demand for high-rises in Las Vegas for investments and to establish residency for tax purposes.

“It seems like those buyers have resumed, and they have their faith in the product,” Napoli said. “Having a high-rise on the Strip is exciting and is a draw. As for people from states looking for a better tax benefit, I don’t see them selling their beach homes or houses in Orange County. They are looking to pick up a second location in Las Vegas, and a lot of these guys don’t want to buy another home so a high-rise is a great product for them.”

Napoli said the opening of Allegiant Stadium to fans and other professional sporting events has also proven to be a draw for high-rise buyers. He’s not only seen buyers from California and the West Coast but from New York as well.

Cristine Rosa Lefkowitz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties said she’s seeing national and international buyers who want a lock-and-go place.

“Last year was my worst career year (for high-rises) and I have been in business more than 20 years,” Lefkowitz said. “This year has been one of my best career years.

Lefkowitz said she works with a lot of prominent Chinese, Europeans and Brazilians along with Californians and New Yorkers coming here by the bulk because of our weather and tax structure.

“The prices are so much lower here (by millions of dollars),” Lefkowitz said.

Spiegel said he expects high-rise prices to continue to increase and buyers to gobble up the most expensive units on the market of $10 million and higher.

“As you see the sophisticated buyer move into the market, you’re going to see high-rise sales benefit from people who want to have a domicile here but not have to manage a home,” Spiegel said. “I think you’re going to get back to people accepting more dense living where they want to be in Vegas and don’t mind being around a lot of people.”

Top sales in properties

MGM Signature led the way during the first half of 2021 with 67 sales, 20 more than the condo-hotel tower had in all of 2020.

Panorama Towers was No. 2 with 62 sales, three fewer than the 65 it had in all of 2020. Panorama’s tower known as The Martin as previously reported by Real Estate Millions has the top condo sale of the year at $16.25 million.

Panorama has the highest-priced condo on the market today at $15 million and is listed by Michael Zelina of Red Luxury Real Estate. It has three stories and measures 8,017 square feet with two bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Zelina said it has more than 10,000 square feet in living and entertainment space. It features a $3 million collection of backlit onyx and 1,500 square feet of curved sky deck.

No. 3 Turnberry Place had 54 sales, 17 more than all of 2020.

No. 4 was Turnberry Towers with 45 sales, the same number as it had in all of 2020.

No. 5 was Trump Las Vegas with 40 sales, 15 more than all of 2020.

Other top sellers were Palms Place with 36; Allure with 32; Veer Towers with 25; and the Waldorf Astoria with 22. One Las Vegas and Juhl also had 22 sales. Sky Las Vegas had 19 and One Queensridge Place had 18.

Top condo sale in third quarter

Prominent Las Vegas resident Susan Greenspun Fine, the daughter of the late Las Vegas Sun publisher and Green Valley developer Hank Greenspun, sold the penthouse she’s had at the 20-story Hughes Center since 2001, shortly after the tower opened. The sales price was $5.5 million to Northern California businessman Pete Kim.

Rosa Lefkowitz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties was the listing agent. Napoli was the buyer’s agent. It was listed for $6.99 million.

The unit measures 6,779 square feet over two levels with three bedrooms and five bathrooms. It has massive floor-to-ceiling windows, six private balconies.

Lefkowitz said Greenspun Fine only lived in the condo for six months in the early 2000s. It has mostly sat empty. She was considering living there again but opted to remain in her Henderson mansion because of her dogs.

The unit, which Greenspun Fine built from the shell, had a Tudor elegance and flamboyance with a stairwell looking like a tree going up. It has since been remodeled a year ago to give a more modern feel, Lefkowitz said.

“She spent millions of dollars getting this done,” Lefkowitz said. “The unit has a lot of glass with floor-to-ceiling walls as high as 26 feet, which is pretty amazing. One of the things about this unit is it overlooks the entire valley with an exceptional view.”

Summit Club/other sales

A new condo at the Summit Club tower in Summerlin sold for $4.62 million in August. Details weren’t available about the Realtors involved. It has two bedrooms and measures 1,891 square feet.

The buyer was SNBRNSANDLLC, which has a Madison Avenue address in New York City. The seller was Michael and Susan Nevell. They bought the unit in June for $4.25 million.

A unit on the 33rd floor in the Waldorf Astoria sold for $4.085 million. It has 2,998 square feet with two master bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms. The buyer was the Nayda Delapaz Utterberg Trust. The seller was Timothy and Graciela Hopkins. Michelle Manley of Award Realty was the listing agent. Avichai Dan Goor of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties was the buyer’s agent.

The Waldorf condo is on northeast corner and has a view of the north end of the Strip. The buyer relocated from the Pacific Northwest and was looking for a change in lifestyle.

“She plans on residing there,” Manley said. “It was not an investor deal.”

Manley said she’s swamped with high-rise clients with people coming from California and other states, looking for primary residences or investors who are buying, especially at MGM Signature.

A penthouse unit at One Queensridge Place sold for $4 million. It measures 5,844 square feet with three bedrooms and 3½ bathrooms. Spiegel was the listing agent and buyer’s agent. Big G Daddy LLC was the buyer. Deborah Lynn Ikirt was the seller.

Spiegel called the unit one of the best penthouse units in One Queensridge Place. It’s accessible by express elevator that only services six other units. It has garage space for four vehicles. It has an office, library and formal dining room.

“It’s incredible and one of the great units in the building,” Spiegel said. “It has unobstructed views of the Red Rock mountains to the west and from the kitchen unobstructed views of the Strip to the east.”

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