The Las Vegas Valley’s real estate sector showed some signs of life last month, with new home sales climbing and builders pulling more permits.
There were 462 recorded new home sales in July, up 46 percent from 316 during the same period last year. Some 543 new home permits were also pulled last month, up 89 percent from 287 permits the year before, Home Builders Research said in a recent report.
The median price of new homes slipped 2 percent last month to $194,270.
However, the median price of July resales rose for the fifth consecutive month, to $122,500.
The market’s housing demand is “being buoyed by cash investors,” Dennis Smith, president of the Las Vegas-based research firm, said in the report.
He said there are “plenty of investors” willing to buy homes and rent them out, and there are international investors who believe Las Vegas housing is “the most affordable in the world.”
Smith also pointed out that Nevada’s so-called “robo-signing” law put new foreclosures at a near-standstill and greatly depleted the number of available homes for sale.
Under Assembly Bill 284, which took effect last October, banks can start foreclosure proceedings only after filing a signed affidavit that says the lender has firsthand knowledge of the mortgage documents.
Numerous homeowners are still “underwater” on their mortgage — their debt exceeds the home’s value — and they are not trying to sell. All told, the current shortage of available homes for sale has helped the market, Smith said in the report.