Home prices in Nevada and Las Vegas continued to fall during the last two months of 2011, two new reports show.
CoreLogic of Santa Ana, Calif., which tracks home prices, said existing home prices in the Las Vegas area in November were down 10.8 percent from November 2010.
Nevada, in the meantime, led the nation in home price depreciation in November, CoreLogic said, with prices down 11.2 percent statewide from the year-ago level. Nationwide, there was a 4.3 percent year-to-year decline in home prices during November.
The market in Nevada and around the country has been affected by distressed home sales involving foreclosures and short sales in which banks allow struggling homeowners to sell their properties for less than what is owed.
"Distressed sales continue to put downward pressure on prices and is a factor that must be addressed in 2012 for a housing recovery to become a reality," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
The housing market in Nevada, with unemployment measured at 13 percent in November, has been among the hardest hit in the nation.
The state has led the nation in foreclosures for the past five years. The trend is tied to steep job losses during the recession as well as questionable lending practices by lenders during the economic boom, when homes prices were inflated as many consumers received mortgages they ultimately could not afford.
On the flip side, the troubles in the residential real estate market in the Las Vegas area have generated a buying boom in which those who can pay cash or obtain mortgages are grabbing properties at deep discounts.
The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that sales locally of 48,186 local properties in 2011 broke the previous record set in 2009 of 46,879 sales.
The 2011 sales breakdown includes 38,153 single-family homes and 10,033 condominiums and townhomes.
The GLVAR reported the median price of single-family homes sold in December local was $120,000, down 4 percent from $125,000 in November and down 9.1 percent from $132,000 in December 2010.
The median price of local condominiums and townhomes sold in December was $58,550, the GLVAR said. That’s up 0.9 percent from $58,000 the previous month, but down 5.6 percent from $62,000 one year earlier.
The GLVAR is hoping prices firm up this year and expects continued strong sales.
"We may see some improvement in prices this year as our inventory of homes on the market keeps going down and demand stays high," GLVAR President Kolleen Kelley said in a statement. "We’re also seeing more short sales, which are preferable to foreclosures and sell for higher prices than homes that have gone through a foreclosure."