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Study Shows That More Than 50 Percent of Las Vegas Homes Are Purchased With Cash
Feb 09, 2011

According to statistics released by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), 51 percent of all existing homes being sold in Southern Nevada are now being purchased with cash. GLVAR President Paul Bell, a longtime local Realtor, said this represents a first for the housing market in Southern Nevada—and perhaps for any other part of the country. “This percentage of cash buyers has been increasing steadily for more than a year. We’ve been saying for months that we could eventually see cash buyers accounting for more than half of all our sales,” Bell said. “We’re now at 51 percent, so we’ve reached that threshold. In checking with our counterparts around the country, we have yet to find another major metropolitan area where so many buyers are paying cash for homes.” Bell said this influx of cash buyers “says a lot about what’s happening in our housing market.” He said the vast majority of these buyers are investors who are renting out, rather than occupying, the homes they’re buying. While it would be ideal if they were all living in the homes they’re buying, he said “cash buyers are still purchasing thousands of local homes that might otherwise sit vacant. I’d say we’re fortunate to have these buyers investing in our community. These smart money buyers are voting with their pocketbooks on the future of our local housing market.” He suggested these investors will likely keep paying cash for homes as long as lending standards remain tight, home prices remain at bargain levels and the inventory of lower-priced, often bank-owned homes continues to be available. Keeping with trends from past years, Bell said local single-family home sales and prices decreased from December to January. According to GLVAR, the median single-family home price during January was $125,000, down 5.3 percent from $132,000 in December and down 7.4 percent from one year ago. The median price of local condominiums and townhomes sold in January was $64,900, up 4.7 percent from $62,000 in December, but down 5.9 percent from one year ago. In January, 26.6 percent of all existing homes sold in Southern Nevada were short sales, which occur when a bank agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. That’s up from 25.3 percent in December but down from a peak of 34 percent in June 2010. Meanwhile, real estate-owned (REO) sales accounted for 48.8 percent of all existing home sales in January, down from 49.8 percent in December. The total number of local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in January was 3,214. That’s down from 4,007 total sales in December, which Bell described as a strong sales month. GLVAR reported that the total number of homes listed for sale on its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) increased from December to January, with a total of 22,010 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of the month. That’s up 1.6 percent from 21,656 homes listed for sale at the end of December and up 11.5 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 5,554 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS at the end of January. That’s up 0.1 percent from 5,550 the previous month and up 3.2 percent from the previous year. The number of available properties listed for sale without any sort of pending or contingent offer also increased from last month and remained up substantially from one year ago. By the end of January, GLVAR reported 12,468 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s up 0.4 percent from 12,417 homes in December and up 53.8 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 3,083 properties listed without offers in January represented a 12.9 percent increase from 2,731 properties in December and an increase of 35.4 percent from last year. GLVAR's statistics include activity through the end of January 2011. 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 reported by GLVAR include: ►The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during January decreased 22.8 percent for homes, to more than $394 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all sales in January was more than $59 million, down 18.5 percent from December. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in January were down 8.2 percent for homes and down 3.2 percent for condos and townhomes. ►Through January, 55.6 percent of all homes and 55 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to December, when 59.3 percent of all homes and 63.7 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. For more information, visit
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