Las Vegas Housing Market Improved in March as Sales, Prices Uptick
According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), inventory of homes available for sale in Southern Nevada is declining, while home prices and sales increase in March from the previous month.
"Our inventory is really dropping," said GLVAR President Kolleen Kelley. "Based on current demand, we're looking at a six-week supply of homes on the market. This is making new homes more attractive and creating a window of opportunity for home builders."
With 2011 setting a GLVAR record for existing local home sales in a year, Kelley said the local housing supply was already declining last year. But she said the local housing inventory began to shrink at a more rapid rate after Oct. 1, 2011, when a new state law known as AB284 took effect, requiring lenders to prove they have all the necessary documents in place before proceeding with a foreclosure. Since Oct. 1, she said there has been a dramatic drop in the notices of default lenders file to begin the foreclosure process and in the number of bank-owned homes put on the market in Southern Nevada.
Even with fewer homes to sell, Kelley said existing home sales remain ahead of the record pace in 2011, when 48,186 existing properties were sold, including 38,153 single-family homes and 10,033 condominiums and townhomes.
According to GLVAR, the total number of local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in March was 4,388. That's up from 3,794 in February, and up from 4,316 total sales in March 2011.
Compared to February, single-family home sales during March increased by 15.8 percent, while sales of condos and townhomes increased by 15.2 percent. Compared to one year ago, home sales were up 4.4 percent, while condo and townhome sales were down 8.4 percent.
As for prices, GLVAR reported the median price of single-family homes sold in March was $123,000, up 1.7 percent from $121,000 in February, but down 2.3 percent from $125,950 one year ago.
Meanwhile, the median price of local condominiums and townhomes sold in March was $61,000. That's up 1.7 percent from $60,000 in February and the same price as one year ago.
Kelley said this is the second consecutive month that local housing prices have increased, "which is to be expected given our declining supply" of homes. However, she added that these conditions "may be short-lived if more foreclosed homes hit the market over the next few months."
The total number of homes listed for sale on GLVAR's Multiple Listing Service again decreased from February to March, with a total of 18,200 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of the month. That's down 3.6 percent from 18,870 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of February and down 18.0 percent from one year ago.
GLVAR reported a total of 3,901condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS at the end of March. That's down 2.9 percent from 4,016 condos and townhomes listed in February, and down 26.0 percent from one year ago.
As in past months, the number of available homes listed for sale without any sort of pending or contingent offer also dropped compared to the previous month and year. By the end of March, GLVAR reported 4,901 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That's down 25.1 percent from 6,543 such homes listed in February and down 56.8 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,275 properties listed without offers in March represented a 20.2 percent decline from 1,598 such properties listed without offers in February and a decrease of 52.7 percent from one year ago.
In March, GLVAR reported that 54.5 percent of all existing homes sold in Southern Nevada were purchased with cash. That's up from 53.2 percent in February.
Meanwhile, 26.6 percent of all existing local homes sold during March were short sales, which occur when a lender agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. That's down from 29.3 percent in February, and well short of the peak of 34 percent set in June 2010.
Bank-owned homes accounted for 40.7 percent of all existing home sales in February, down from 42 percent in January.
GLVAR reported that the median price of bank-owned single-family homes sold in March was $106,000, up 1 percent from $104,900 in February. The median price of single-family homes sold as part of a short sale in March was $121,000, up 0.8 percent from $120,000 in February.
This month's GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of March 2012. GLVAR distributes such statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners.Other highlights include:
The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during March increased by 18.3 percent for homes to more than $537 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all sales in March was more than $64 million, up 3.9 percent from February. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in March were up 1.2 percent for homes, but down 10.1 percent for condos and townhomes.
In March, 58.8 percent of all homes and 66.6 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to February, when 57.1 percent of all homes and 61.1 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.