The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtor (GLVAR) reported Friday that more existing homes were sold in Southern Nevada in 2016 than in 2015, even with a tight housing supply and rising home prices.
GLVAR's housing statistics for the month of December 2016 showed some seasonal forces at work, with local home prices down slightly from the previous month, as typically occurs this time of year. Still, GLVAR reported the median price of existing single-family homes sold during December through its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was $235,000. That was up 8.3 percent from December 2015. Meanwhile, the median price of local condos and townhomes sold in December was $113,000, down 4.2 percent from the same month one year ago.
GLVAR President David J. Tina said he was "pleasantly surprised" to see home sales increasing in December by 4.6 percent compared to the previous month and by 1.3 percent compared to the previous year. Condo and townhome sales were even stronger, increasing by 18.9 percent from the previous month and by 12.4 percent from the previous year. He cited a combination of factors driving local home sales, including an improving local economy and a population that is growing by about 2 percent per year.
"Even with the tight housing supply we had in 2016 and even with home prices appreciating at a healthy rate, I think people are still seeing the opportunity here," Tina said. "Our population is increasing again because the economy is improving and people want to move here for all the reasons that have always made Southern Nevada an attractive place to live, from our warm weather to our relatively low taxes and entertainment offerings and more. Plus, our home prices are still a bargain compared to cities in places like Northern and Southern California."
The total number of existing local homes, condos and townhomes sold in December was 3,402, up from 3,290 in December 2015. According to GLVAR, a total of 41,720 such properties were sold in 2016. That was more than the 38,577 properties sold during 2015. It was also more than in 2014, but fewer than during each of the previous five years.
Tina said the local housing inventory continued to shrink, with just over a two-month supply of homes available for sale when a six-month supply is considered to be a balanced market.
By the end of December, GLVAR reported 5,951 single-family homes listed for sale without any sort of offer. That's down 17.6 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 910 properties listed without offers in December represented a 56.5 percent decrease from one year ago.
In the past few years, GLVAR has been reporting fewer distressed sales and more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. That continued in December, when 4.8 percent of all local sales were short sales - which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. That's down from 6.8 percent of all sales one year ago. Another 6.2 percent of all December sales were bank-owned, down from 6.9 percent one year ago.
GLVAR said 28.7 percent of all local properties sold in December were purchased with cash, up from 28.4 percent one year ago. That's well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent, indicating that cash buyers and investors are still more active in Southern Nevada than in most markets, but that their influence has been leveling off.
These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of December 2016. 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 homes for sale by owners.
Other market highlights include:
The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during December was more than $741 million for homes and nearly $83 million for condos, high-rise condos and townhomes. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in December were up 7.8 percent for homes, but down 16.5 percent for condos and townhomes.
Homes and condos continued to sell faster as 2016 came to a close. In December, 71.7 percent of all existing local homes and 76.3 percent of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to one year ago, when 64.6 percent of all existing local homes and 61.5 percent of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.