Valley housing prices have given residents the ride of their lives

A home for sale at Red Rock Country Club in Summerlin is seen Friday, Nov. 18, 2011.

As many homeowners know, the past decade has been a horrible roller coaster ride for Las Vegas’ housing market — fun and exhilarating at first, but mostly terrifying and stomach-turning.

Home values rose at a steady clip until 2004, when, thanks to loose bank lending and rampant house flipping, everything skyrocketed. After a few more years of growth, the market started to plunge, taking the entire local economy down with it.

Things finally turned around this past year, giving much-needed relief to the legions of underwater borrowers.

Every city and town in Southern Nevada went through a bell curve-shaped boom and bust. Even Boulder City, which imposes strict building restrictions and had little development this past decade, saw property values rise fast and fall hard the past 10 years.

Overall, Southern Nevada home values rose about 7 percent annually from mid-2000 through mid-2002, 10 percent through mid-2003 and then a booming 52 percent through mid-2004, according to Zillow, a Seattle-based housing data firm.

The bubble eventually burst. Local home values slid every year from mid-2006 through mid-2012, falling from $306,200 to $115,900 during that period.

Wall Street investors pounced on downtown and bought cheap homes in bulk to turn into rentals. In time, practically every house up for sale was getting multiple offers, sometimes within minutes of being listed, and prices started to jump. Home values have risen about 31 percent since last summer.

Now, with investors pulling back because of the rising prices they helped create, the market is poised to cool off again. Property values are forecast to rise 11 percent locally by August 2014, according to Zillow.

Explore the median values of homes by city in the chart below. Note: Gaps in the lines are due to missing months in the data provided by Zillow.

Source: Zillow. Produced by Kyle B. Hansen

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