Las Vegas house prices up as inventory shrinks
Existing home prices in the Las Vegas area in May edged up from April, and total sales increased, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
The group said the median single-family home price was $128,000, up 0.1 percent from April and up 1.6 percent from one year ago.
The median price of local condominiums and townhomes sold in May was $62,000, up 3.5 percent from April but down 1.2 percent from May 2011, the GLVAR said.
Sales of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes in May totaled 4,134 — up from 3,924 in April and 3,991 in May 2011.
The sales increase came even as the inventory of properties for sale declined. This has been attributed to a slowdown in foreclosures and an increase in short sales in which banks let struggling homeowners sell their homes for less than the mortgage amount.
All of this is tied to a new state law boosting documentation requirements for foreclosures so that homeowners aren’t harmed by mass robosigning practices.
“Basically, we’re seeing a classic case of supply and demand,” GLVAR President Kolleen Kelley said in a statement. “Our local housing supply is going down, primarily because banks are putting fewer homes on the market. As a result, prices are going up.”
Despite the foreclosure slowdown locally, Nevada still leads the nation in foreclosure activity, while Las Vegas is No. 7 among large metro areas.
Separately, Gov. Brian Sandoval on June 1 announced that Nevada had been selected for a pilot program to help homeowners underwater on their mortgages.
The program approved by the U.S. Treasury Department allows eligible borrowers to receive up to $50,000 in principal reduction when they refinance through the “HARP 2.0” program.
Home financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are encouraging loan servicers to participate in the program, which is aimed at driving down monthly payments and keeping qualified borrowers in their homes, Sandoval said.
“Principal reduction combined with mortgage refinancing will mean hundreds of dollars returning to the pockets of homeowners. This effort represents our continued focus on combatting the worst housing crisis seen in a generation and in the state hit hardest by it,” said Terry Johnson, director of the state Department of Business & Industry. That’s the parent agency of the Nevada Housing Division, which is involved in the principal reduction effort.
For more information, see HomeMeansNevada.gov.