Las Vegas home prices end year up 24 percent

This 2012 file photo shows a home for sale in Henderson.

Las Vegas home prices inched higher last month to end the year far above 2012.

The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes in Southern Nevada in December was $185,000, up 1 percent from November and 24 percent from December 2012, according to a report from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

Home prices also soared in 2012, jumping 26 percent after hitting bottom in January of that year.

Agents and analysts say they expect prices to rise at a slower, more normal rate in 2014.

“Local homeowners should be happy with the strong appreciation we’ve seen over the past two years,” Heidi Kasama, 2014 president for GLVAR, said in a news release. “We haven’t seen increases like this since the middle part of the last decade. Like most housing experts, I expect to see more stable home prices in 2014.”

Investors who swooped in after the economy collapsed to buy cheap homes in bulk to turn into rentals have helped fuel the turnaround. Some investors, however, have been tapering back on local purchases because of the rising prices they helped create.

Perhaps in a sign of decreased investor appetite, 44 percent of previously owned homes sold last month were purchased with cash, down from a peak of 60 percent in February 2013, according to the GLVAR.

Prices have continued to rise amid a shrinking supply.

A total of 13,303 single-family homes were up for sale on the GLVAR’s listing service at the end of December, down 9 percent from a year earlier.

Inventory has been crimped by investors and by homeowners who refuse to sell or can’t sell because they’re underwater or stuck in foreclosure processing delays.

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