According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), Southern Nevada home sales surged in March 2015, while prices remained stable.
GLVAR reported the median price of homes sold through its Multiple Listing Service during March was $205,000, unchanged from February, but up 5.1 percent from one year ago. Meanwhile, the median price of local condominiums and townhomes, including high-rise condos, sold in March was $115,000. That was up 9.5 percent from February and up 13.9 percent from one year ago.
According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in March was 3,358, up from 2,452 in February and up from 3,094 one year ago. Compared to the previous month, GLVAR reported that sales were up 37.8 percent for single-family homes and up 33.7 percent for condos and townhomes. Compared to March 2014, sales were 6.7 percent higher for homes and 17.1 percent higher for all types of condos and townhomes.
"I'm glad to see that we're selling more homes," said 2015 GLVAR President Keith Lynam. "Home sales usually warm up with the weather each spring, but this is the biggest spring sales spike we've seen since the same time of year in 2006. Maybe our members and homeowners are taking our advice and asking more realistic prices for their homes."
Lynam suggested "taking some caution to see if the uptick in sales becomes a trend or more of an aberration."
He said this increased sales pace, combined with a continued tight supply of homes available for sale, means Southern Nevada has less than a three-month supply of available homes. A six-month supply is considered to be a balanced market, he added.
GLVAR continued to track fewer distressed sales and more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. In March, 8.3 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 9.3 percent in February and from 12.9 percent one year ago. Another 9.3 percent of March sales were bank-owned, down from 9.7 percent in February and down from 11.7 percent last year.
Lynam said short sales could increase in 2015 if Congress votes to again extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. In December, Congress voted to retroactively extend the tax break it had allowed to expire at the end of 2013 to help distressed homeowners who sold properties in 2014. Unless Congress extends this act through 2015, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale this year 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 March was 13,532, up 2.6 percent from 13,188 in February, but down 3.0 percent from one year ago. GLVAR tracked a total of 3,613 condos, high-rise condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in March, up 1.5 percent from 3,558 in February, but down 2.4 percent from one year ago.
By the end of March, GLVAR reported 7,257 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That's down 0.8 percent from February, but up 12.2 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 2,445 properties listed without offers in March represented a 0.8 percent increase from February and a 6.5 percent increase from one year ago.
GLVAR said 32.4 percent of all local properties sold in March were purchased with cash. That's down from 37.4 percent in February and from 43.1 percent one year ago. It's also well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent, suggesting that fewer investors have been buying local homes.
The median price of bank-owned homes sold in March was $163,500, up from $159,250 in February. The median price of single-family homes sold as part of a short sale in March was $165,000, the same as during February.
These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of March 2015. 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 39.4 percent for homes to more than $676 million. For condos, high-rise condos and townhomes, March sales totaled nearly $107 million, up 32.8 percent from February. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in March were up 14.9 percent for homes and up 39.3 percent for condos.
In March, 61.4 percent of all existing local homes and 60.9 percent of all existing condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to February, when 57.3 percent of all existing local homes and 55.6 percent of all existing condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.