Las Vegas Home Prices Going Up, Frustrating Buyers

LAS VEGAS -- Prices on homes saw a dramatic rise around the country in May, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index.

The index of 20 large cities in the U.S. showed that prices on homes in Las Vegas jumped more than 23 percent, only San Francisco saw a bigger jump.

The price increase means that homes that were once underwater are starting to be worth more.

In May 2012, the median price for a home in Las Vegas was less than $120,000. Now, it has climbed $25,000, making it a seller's market.

The change has buyers in a different seat. They are frustrated.

Mary Perry is one of those frustrated buyers. She has the cash and she has the credit; however, she has not be able to close on a house.

For the past year, as the Las Vegas housing market ticks up and up, about 2 percent every month, Perry and her realtor have been going from house to house looking to buy.

The problem is there are no houses available. Right now, there are just three homes that fit Perry's liking and budget.

"Literally, they are being snatched up in minutes. And I'm not kidding," realtor Sarah Tortolini said.

The problem is big investors who are using cash to snap up homes without using loans. Some investors are from overseas. They're buying them up and sitting on them, experts said.

Realtors say the investors are driving the prices up and setting records in some neighborhoods.

Because of the jump in prices and the investors willing to pay cash, sellers are shying away from anything that will not get them their asking price or more, especially appraisals.

"This is a little over 3,300 square-foot living space. It has got a heated in-ground pool/spa. It is awesome. It is $360,000," Perry said.

The problem for Perry: in the contract, the seller put in a "no appraisal contingency" clause, which means whatever an appraiser says about the price of the property, the asking price stays the same.

There is no way for a house that sold next door to directly affect this home's price, creating more of a bidding war.

Now, it is up to Perry to start bidding or get left outside the gate and watch while another buyer will gladly pay.

The appraisers claim they have their fingers on the pulse of the housing market. 8 News NOW tried getting one in town to go on record about the Las Vegas market yet none of them would.

However, the appraiser 8 News NOW did talk to said there is a false perception that they are being conservative when they appraise a home.

They also said because cash is king right now, that the price does not necessary equal the value and is often times more than the value of the home.

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