Las Vegas home prices rise for 8th consecutive month
Las Vegas home prices rose for the eighth consecutive month in September, thanks to the valley’s tight housing supply and a record number of short sales.
The median sales price of single-family homes last month was $140,000, up 1.4 percent from $138,000 in August and up 13.5 percent from September 2011, according to a report out today from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
The median sales price of condominiums and townhouses was $70,250, up 2.6 percent from $68,500 in August and up 24 percent from a year ago.
As prices rose, the valley’s total sales volume fell. Some 3,298 homes, condos and townhouses were sold last month, down 11 percent from 3,688 in August and down 20 percent from last September.
The figures highlight the ongoing trend of fewer foreclosures and more short sales, GLVAR said. A short sale occurs when a lender sells a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage.
Almost half of all homes sold in the valley are short sale transactions, association President Kolleen Kelley said. Many homeowners are rushing to short sell by the year’s end, when the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expires, she said. Congress has until Dec. 31 to extend the law.
What’s more, the valley’s tight supply of homes for sale continues to push up prices. Price tags are up by double digits compared to a year ago, Kelley said.
There are a few reasons for the tight supply.
Almost 70 percent of valley homeowners with mortgages were underwater — meaning their debt exceeds the home’s value — during the second quarter of this year. As a result, many people don't want to list their homes for sale, for fear of taking a steep loss on the sales price.
At the same time, Nevada’s “robo-signing” law has caused foreclosures to plummet, thus reducing the inventory of homes for sale. Under the law, 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.
Nevada led the country in foreclosures for 62 consecutive months until March. The robo-signing law has caused the rate to slacken, but Nevada is still struggling.
The state was the fifth worst in the country in August for its volume of distressed real estate, with 1 in 402 homes in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. Nevada was No. 6 in July with 1 in 415 homes in foreclosure.