Las Vegas-area home sales fell last month to the lowest level for a November in five years, the result of a constrained supply of homes for sale, waning affordability and the ongoing decline in investor purchases. The median sale price dipped slightly month-to-month but was still 26 percent higher than a year earlier, marking the 20th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
In November, 3,539 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County). That was down 15.4 percent from the month before and down 14.6 percent from a year earlier.
On average, sales between October and November have fallen 3.9 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Las Vegas-area statistics begin.
Total November home sales were the lowest for that month since November 2008, when 3,325 sold, and were 18.9 percent below the average number sold during all months of November since 1994. However, resales of houses and condos combined were 5.1 percent above average for the month of November, while sales of newly built homes were 62.0 percent below the November average.
The 48,203 homes sold in the region between January and November this year is 1.8 percent lower than the sales tally during the same period last year. Home sales have been limited this year by the thin supply of homes on the market, especially in the lower price ranges. Many owners in affordable neighborhoods still can’t afford to sell their homes because they owe more than they are worth, and lenders aren’t foreclosing on as many properties, further limiting supply.
In November, sales of homes priced below $100,000 dropped 54.1 percent compared with a year earlier, while sub-$200,000 transactions fell 32.9 percent year-over-year. The number of homes that sold for $200,000 or more shot up 31.7 percent year-over-year. November sales of homes priced from $200,000 to $500,000 – a range that would include many move-up purchases – jumped 32.7 percent from a year earlier, while the number selling for $500,000 or more rose 20.8 percent ($500,000-plus sales represented only about 3.5 percent of November sales).
Las Vegas region buyers paid a median $179,000 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in November, down 0.6 percent from $180,000 in October and up 25.6 percent from $142,500 a year earlier. October’s $180,000 median is the highest so far this year and is the highest for any month since November 2008, when the median was $190,000.
The median sale price’s year-over-year gains over the past 20 consecutive months ranged from 1.7 percent to 35.3 percent. These annual gains have been double-digit for the last 17 months and above 20 percent for the last 13 months. However, November’s $179,000 median was still 42.6 percent below the region’s peak $312,000 median in November 2006.
The run-up in home prices over the last year varies depending on price segment. In November, the lowest-cost third of the region’s housing stock saw a 40.4 percent year-over-year gain in the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses. The annual increase was 28.5 percent for the middle third of the market and 23.1 percent for the top, most-expensive third.
The pressure that investors have been putting on the Las Vegas housing market continued to ease last month. Absentee buyers, which would include investors and some vacation-home buyers, purchased 42.4 percent of the homes sold in November. That was down from 43.1 percent the month before and 48.7 percent a year earlier. November's absentee share was the lowest since June 2010, when it was 37.5 percent. It was still above the monthly average of 35.4 percent since January 2000.
In November, 88 Las Vegas-area buyers purchased two or more homes on the open market (excludes foreclosure auctions). That was down about 26 percent from 119 multi-home buyers during November 2012, based on an analysis of buyer names in the public record. (Note: In some cases individuals and partnerships buy under different names). In November this year, multi-home buyers purchased 387 homes in the Las Vegas area, which amounts to about 11 percent of all homes sold and represents a 3.5 percent decline from the number of properties that multi-home buyers purchased in November 2012. There were 15 buyers in November 2013 that each purchased five or more homes, but only seven bought 10 or more. Combined, the seven buyers who purchased 10 or more homes in November 2013 acquired 159 properties, or about 41 percent of all homes bought by multi-home buyers.