Realtors Report Rising Home Prices in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Prices for existing homes in Southern Nevada increased in July for the sixth straight month but total residential sales remained considerably below where they were last year, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

The association reported that the median price of single-family homes sold in July was $133,000, up nine-tenths of 1 percent from June and 9 percent from a year ago. The sixth straight month of price increases represented the longest such stretch in Las Vegas since 2004.

The median price of condominiums and townhouses sold in July was $66,500, down 3.6 percent from June but up 12.7 percent from last year.

On the negative side, total sales of homes, condos and townhomes in July was 3,572, down from 3,945 in June and 4,037 in July 2011. There were 16,944 single-family homes listed for sale in July, up one-tenth of 1 percent from June but down 24.5 percent from a year ago. There were also 3,758 condos and townhomes on the market last month, up 1.2 percent from June but down 26.3 percent from a year ago.

"It was good to see more homes listed for sale last month, although we still have a shortage of available homes on the market," association president Kolleen Kelley said. "This is due primarily to banks putting fewer homes on the market than they did in the past. For local homeowners, the bright side is that this tight housing supply has been driving up home prices, at least for now. We're also glad to see banks agreeing to more short sales as an alternative to foreclosure."

Kelley also said she sees "more short sellers pushing to get their homes on the market" with the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act set to expire at the end of 2012. If Congress doesn't extend the law, she said any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale will become taxable income when sellers pay their income taxes.

Of all the homes sold in Southern Nevada in July, 54.8 percent were purchased with cash, up slightly from 54 percent in June. It so happened that 40 percent of all home sales in July were short sales, up from 34.2 percent in June and the highest monthly short sale percentage ever recorded by the association.

Short sales now outnumber foreclosure sales in Southern Nevada, which Kelley said was a sign that "banks are more willing to agree to short sales and less willing to foreclose."

 


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