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The number of homes sold in the Las Vegas area rose last month to the highest level for a February in six years, with new-home transactions at a four-year high and resale activity the strongest since 2005. The median price paid for a home in the region edged up slightly from January, while the median’s year-over-year decline was the smallest in a year, a real estate information service reported.
In February, 4,240 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County). That was up 5.0 percent from January and up 8.9 percent from February 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
An increase in sales between January and February is normal. On average, sales have risen 5.6 percent between those two months since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. The sales tally for this February got a boost from the leap year, which added one extra business day to the month.
In February, 3,744 homes resold (excludes newly built homes), up 5.1 percent year-over-year. It was the 14th consecutive month in which resales have posted an annual gain, and marked the highest number of February resales since 3,875 sold in February 2005.
February’s 496 sales of newly-built homes represented a 51.2 percent year-over-year increase. It was the highest new-home total for a February since 2008, when 911 new homes closed escrow. The average number of new homes sold in the month of February since 1994 is 1,351. New-home sales have risen year-over-year for eight consecutive months.
Total February sales were 11.5 percent higher than the average number of homes sold in that month since 1994, while resale activity was 52.7 percent above average for a February.
Continuing a months-long trend, February sales were strongest in the lower price ranges. The number of transactions below $100,000 rose 18.9 percent compared with a year earlier and represented 42.8 percent of all deals, compared with 39.2 percent of all sales in February 2011. The number of February 2012 sales below $200,000 rose 11.2 percent year-over-year. February sales above $300,000 rose 1.1 percent compared with a year ago, while sales above $500,000 rose 4.4 percent.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area in February was $112,000, up 1.8 percent from $110,000 in January and down 5.9 percent from $119,000 in February 2011. (The January 2012 median was the lowest since the median was also $110,000 in April 1994.) Last month’s figure was 64.1 percent below the November 2006 peak of $312,000. The median sale price has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 17 consecutive months. The median’s 5.9 percent year-over-year decline in February was the smallest for any month since February 2011, when it fell 5.7 percent.
The median’s recent decline to levels not seen since the mid 1990s can be attributed to several factors: home price depreciation; robust sales of low-cost foreclosures; robust sales to investors, who mainly target low-cost properties; relatively low new-home sales (new homes tend to sell for more than resale homes); and higher-than-usual condo resales (condos tend to be the least expensive homes).
February's new-home sales represented 11.7 percent of all transactions, compared with a monthly average of about 28 percent of all sales over the last decade. February’s condo sales represented 18.6 percent of total Las Vegas sales, compared with a 10-year monthly average of about 14 percent.
An alternative home-price gauge – the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses – inched up in February to $65, up 1.6 percent from January and down 7.1 percent from a year earlier. (January’s figure was the lowest since at least 1994.) Last month’s median paid per square foot was 65.8 percent lower than the peak $190 paid per square foot in May and June 2006.
Cash buyers purchased 52.9 percent of the Las Vegas-area homes that sold in February. That was down from a cash-buyer share of 53.7 percent of total sales in January and down from a record 56.7 percent a year earlier. Cash purchases are where there is no sign of a corresponding purchase mortgage in the public record.
February’s cash buyers paid a median $84,500, up from $80,000 in January and down from $90,242 a year earlier.
Absentee buyers – mainly investors and vacation-home buyers – purchased a near-record 48.2 percent of all Las Vegas-area homes sold in February. That compares with 49.1 percent in January and 49.7 percent a year earlier. The record was 49.9 percent in March last year. Absentee buyers paid a median $90,000 in February, the same as in January and down from $97,563 a year earlier. Absentee buyers are those who indicated at the time of sale that the property tax bill will go to a different address.
Distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – made up nearly two-thirds of the Las Vegas resale market last month.
Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 48.7 percent of Las Vegas resale activity in February. That was down from 52.6 percent in January and 56.7 percent a year ago. Foreclosure resales peaked at 73.7 percent of the resale market in April 2009. Last month’s figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales made up 45.2 percent of the resale market in June 2010.
Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 14.7 percent of the resale market last month. That compares with an estimated 13.9 percent the prior month and 14.0 percent a year ago.
In the wake of a new Nevada law that creates additional requirements for lenders trying to foreclose on properties, the number of notices of default (“NODs”) filed in Clark County plummeted in recent months. In February, lenders filed 914 NODs, down 12.8 percent from the 1,048 filed in January and down 84.2 percent from the 5,793 NODs filed in February 2011. The notice of default is the first step in the formal foreclosure process.
The number of homes lost to foreclosure in the Las Vegas region in February fell to 1,723, down 12.1 percent from January and down 26.7 percent from a year earlier. So far this year, lenders have foreclosed on 3,683 single-family house and condo units, down 26.5 percent from the same two-month period last year.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.