Las Vegas luxury condo market warming up for new day - mortgage money still scarce

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Las Vegas luxury condo market warming up for new day - mortgage money still scarceSouthern Nevada - with communities of Mountains Edge, Summerlin, Henderson, Southern Highlands, North Las Vegas, Anthem and Green Valley - condominium segment bubbled up a little later than the single-family side, but its slide became equally devastating once it hit the slope down. Mortgage financing dried suddenly up, oversupply was horrendous and the mauled global economy forced many would-be buyers to the sidelines. The usual menu that real estate disasters are made of.

Now, though, things are cautiously looking up for the Las Vegas high-rise condo market. Sales in the third quarter climbed a decent 7%, as was reported by SalesTraq, a Las Vegas research boutique. Looking at it another way means that now 45% of all luxury condominiums in town are effectively sold, up from 38% at the end of the second quarter. True, the increase is well received and offers optimism down the road, yet it still leaves a monstrous block of vacant units out there, 55% in all. Undoubtedly that is a lot of inventory seeking qualified and willing buyers.

Las Vegas mortgage lenders continue to be very selective toward high-rise condominium projects on and off the Strip. Among the key issues they are wary about are unacceptable owner-investor ratios, unstable values and all sorts of legal problems.

The condo-hotel concept that also made a grand entrance to the Southern Nevada real estate market this decade and subsequently collapsed has no mortgage takers at all at the moment. It really is more like an investment vehicle that got off to a great start when the global economy was humming along and the Las Vegas market full of promise. And then the rosy environment changed in rapid order and wrecked everything. It's predictable that it will recover last from all the housing sectors in Southern Nevada.

Anyway, at least the regular Las Vegas condo market is now tentatively tiptoeing out of the doghouse.  Improved availablity of mortgage financing would make the road forward more sustainable.

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Esko Kiuru
Mortgage, real estate and apartment industry analyst - syndicated mortgage, housing and property management blog
My cell: 702-499-1006


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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Esko, sooner or later the financing will have to loosen up out there, but that Owner to Investor ratio is always a problem no matter if times are good or bad.

Nov 22, 2009 12:04 PM #1
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I hope we can see some blanket FHA approvals in our market soon!  That would make our job so much easier!

Nov 22, 2009 11:08 PM #2
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Esko: Thanks for this. I'm glad to hear things are looking up down there. I know how hard the Vegas market has been hit! Take care.

Nov 23, 2009 01:38 AM #3
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


We've been waiting for that forever already.

Nov 23, 2009 03:46 PM #4
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


If FHA could play a bigger role would be great.

Nov 23, 2009 03:48 PM #5
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


There are some positive signs, although we still have a long way to go to "normal".

Nov 23, 2009 03:49 PM #6
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