Las Vegas real estate has recently been the punching bag of many industry observers and for a good reason. Mortgage foreclosure rate here is still reaching for the moon, housing inventory remains high and the economic picture is painted in dark colors. True, mortgage rates are enticing and home prices have plunged and have together provided some hope, but a lot more needs to happen for it to reach the "normal".
What's encouraging is that the vital signs are slowly improving, with emphasis on the word slowly.
As was reported by GLVAR, or Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, 3,535 single-family houses were closed in October, logging a nice 5.3% boost from September. This actually translates into a 30.1% jump from a year ago, a strong show of progress. As a note of caution is the fact that much of the demand still comes from first-time buyers and opportunistic investors. They are almost exclusively feasting on the lower end of the price scale.
Southern Nevada - including Mountains Edge, Anthem, Green Valley, North Las Vegas and Southern Highlands - median home values labored higher to $139,100, a $1,100 advantage over September. It's not much but Sin City gladly takes anything at this point. The price curve is in essence trying to establish some kind of a steady course upward, taking one small step at a time. On the sobering side, it is still down 26.8% from last year.
The housing inventory in Las Vegas continues to hover above the psychologically important barrier of 20,000. In October it in fact grew a little, to 20,998, amounting to an about 1% rise. As GLVAR states, a large share of this is pending a sale in some form, which is good, leaving only 8,000 or so listings without a contract. Nevertheless, this statistic has remained stubbornly high for months on end and needs to come down for a chance to spawn a sustainable recovery.
The word optimism is slowly returning to the vocabulary of many Southern Nevada real estate observers. Much more needs to be done but it's good get a taste of it anyway.