According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), local home prices bounced back in May 2014 after dipping slightly from March to April.
GLVAR reported the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada during May was $195,000, up 1.6 percent from $192,000 in April and back to where they were in March. May's median home price was up 14.7 percent from $170,000 in May of 2013. The median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold in May was $102,000, up 2.0 percent from $100,000 in April and up 14.6 percent from $89,000 one year ago.
"It's good to see this kind of appreciation in our local home prices. Going forward, I think we'll see prices continue to stabilize. Expect to see smaller percentages when we look at how much prices have increased year over year," said GLVAR President Heidi Kasama, a longtime local Realtor. "We'd still like to see more inventory in our housing market, but at least we sold more homes in May than we did the previous month."
Putting these prices into perspective, Kasama said existing local home prices are still well below their June 2006 peak of $315,000. Prices bottomed out at a median of $118,000 in January 2012 before rising for a record 19 straight months until September 2013, then increasing more gradually since then.
Even with more homes being sold in May than April, Kasama said local home sales so far in 2014 are about 14 percent behind last year's sales pace. At the current sales pace, she said Southern Nevada has less than a three-month supply of available homes. But compared to one year ago, she said Southern Nevada now has more than twice as many homes available for sale without pending or contingent offers on them.
For more than a year, Southern Nevada has seen fewer distressed sales and more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. May was a slow month for short sales - which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. In May, 7.9 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down substantially from 12.4 in April. Another 9.1 percent of all May sales were bank-owned properties, down from 11.4 in April.
Kasama said one of the reasons for the slide in short sales is uncertainty about whether Congress will vote this year to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 that expired Dec. 31, 2013. If Congress doesn't extend this law and make it retroactive to Jan. 1, she said "it can create a big tax hit for anyone who did a short sale in 2014." She said Realtors are still pushing Congress to extend this act for at least another year. Unless Congress extends this act, as Nevada's congressional delegation has proposed, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale starting in 2014 may become taxable when sellers file their income taxes.
The total number of single-family homes listed for sale on GLVAR's Multiple Listing Service in May was 13,637. That's down 1.4 percent from 13,833 in April and down 1.3 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 3,646 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in May, down 1.4 percent from 3,697 listed in April, but up 7.7 percent from one year ago.
By the end of May, GLVAR reported 6,615 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That's up 3.0 percent from 6,420 such homes listed in April, and a 100.6 percent jump from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 2,258 properties listed without offers in May represented a 0.3 percent decrease from 2,264 such properties listed in April, but a 76.8 percent jump from one year ago.
According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in May was 3,450, up from 3,215 in April, but down from 3,884 one year ago.
GLVAR said 40.2 percent of all existing local homes sold in May were purchased with cash. That's down from 41.4 percent in April, well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent and suggesting that investors are accounting for a smaller percentage of local buyers.
The median price of bank-owned homes sold in May was $165,000, up from $159,000 in April. The median price of homes sold as part of a short sale in May was $160,000, down from $165,000 in April.
These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of May 2014. 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 May increased by 9.3 percent for homes to more than $663 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all May sales was nearly $83 million, up 0.1 percent from April. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in May were up 1.7 percent for homes, but down 21.1 percent for condos and townhomes.
In May, 69.4 percent of all existing local homes and 62.7 percent of all existing condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to April, when 67.1 percent of all existing local homes and 63.9 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.