Las Vegas-Area Home Sales Drastically Slow in February – NMP Skip to main content

Las Vegas-Area Home Sales Drastically Slow in February

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Mar 27, 2014

Las Vegas-area homes sold at the slowest pace for a February in five years as the inventory of homes for sale remained tight and some buyers faced credit and affordability challenges. The median price paid for a home edged up from January and rose 24 percent from a year earlier, marking the 16th consecutive month with an annual gain over 20 percent, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. In February, 3,230 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County). That was down 0.1 percent from the month before and down 19.6 percent from a year earlier. On average, sales between January and February have risen 4.1 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Las Vegas-area statistics begin. Sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for the past five months. Total February home sales were the lowest for that month since February 2009, when 3,127 homes sold, and they were 14.5 percent below the average number sold during all months of February since 1994. However, resales of houses and condos combined were nine percent above average for the month of February, while sales of newly built homes were 60.5 percent below the February average. Condo resales in February were 26.0 percent higher than the February average since 1994. In recent months home sales have been constrained by a combination of factors, including higher prices and mortgage rates, a fussy mortgage market and the relatively low supply of homes for sale, especially in the lower price ranges. Some owners still can’t afford to sell their homes because they owe more than they are worth. Also, lenders aren’t foreclosing on as many properties, further limiting the supply of homes for sale. In February, sales of homes priced below $100,000 dropped 47.9 percent compared with a year earlier, while sub-$200,000 transactions fell 36.1 percent year-over-year. The number of homes that sold for $200,000 or more rose 20 percent year-over-year. February sales of homes priced from $200,000 to $500,000—a range that would include many move-up purchases—increased 20.2 percent from a year earlier, while the number selling for $500,000 or more rose 17.7 percent ($500,000-plus sales represented less than four percent of February sales). Las Vegas region buyers paid a median $180,000 for all new and resale houses and condos purchased in February, up 1.5 percent from $177,300 in January and up 24.1 percent from $145,000 a year earlier. The highest median last year was $180,150 in December, which was also 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 23 consecutive months have ranged from 1.7 percent to 35.3 percent. The annual gains have been double-digit for the last 20 months. February’s $180,000 median was 42.3 percent below the region’s peak $312,000 median in November 2006. The run-up in home prices over the last year varies somewhat depending on price segment. In February, the lowest-cost third of the region’s housing stock saw a 25.7 percent year-over-year gain in the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses. The annual increase was 24.8 percent for the market’s middle third and 23.8 percent for the top, most-expensive third. Investors' impact on the Las Vegas housing market has generally eased a bit in recent months but edged higher in February. Absentee buyers, which would include investors and some vacation-home buyers, bought 46.4 percent of the homes sold in February, up from 44.2 percent the month before and down from 48.3 percent a year earlier. The monthly average for the absentee buyer share since January 2000 is 35.3 percent. Buyers based outside of Nevada purchased 27.5 percent of all homes sold in the Las Vegas area in February, compared with 31.6 percent a year earlier. California-based buyers accounted for 13.3 percent of all Las Vegas-area homes purchased in February, while Arizona-based buyers bought 4.8 percent and buyers from 39 other states collectively bought 8.2 percent. Buyers with a foreign mailing address accounted for about 1.2 percent of all sales. In February, 85 Las Vegas-area buyers purchased at least two homes on the open market (excludes public foreclosure auctions on the courthouse steps). That was down from 150 multi-home buyers during February 2013, based on an analysis of buyer names in the public record. In February this year, buyers of two or more homes purchased 385 homes in the Las Vegas area, which amounts to about 12 percent of all homes sold and represents a roughly 35 percent decline from the number of properties that multi-home buyers purchased in February last year. There were 11 buyers in February 2014 that each purchased five or more homes, but only four bought 10 or more. Combined, the four buyers who purchased 10 or more homes in February 2014 acquired 169 properties, or about 44 percent of all homes bought by multi-home buyers.
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