GLVAR reports home prices rose in December, up 24 percent in 2013

Southern Nevada home prices ended 2013 on an upswing, with the median price of existing homes up 24 percent from the same time the year before.

Heidi Kasama

LAS VEGAS – Southern Nevada home prices ended 2013 on an upswing, with the median price of existing homes up 24 percent from the same time the year before, according to statistics released today by the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS (GLVAR).

GLVAR reported that the median price of an existing single-family home sold in Southern Nevada during December 2013 was $185,000, up 1.1 percent from $183,000 in November and up 24.2 percent from December 2012, when the median price was $149,000. Meanwhile, the median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold in December was $96,000, down 3.0 percent from $99,000 in November, but up 26.3 percent from $76,000 one year ago.

GLVAR President Heidi Kasama, a longtime local REALTOR who succeeded 2013 President Dave Tina starting Jan. 1, said local home prices have been increasing for the past two years, though they have stabilized in recent months. She noted that GLVAR tracked a similar year-over-year increase in local home prices during 2012, when the median price of existing homes sold in Southern Nevada also increased by 24 percent from the start to the end of 2012.

“Local homeowners should be happy with the strong appreciation we’ve seen over the past two years,” Kasama said. “We haven’t seen increases like this since the middle part of the last decade. Like most housing experts, I expect to see more stable home prices in 2014.”

Putting these recently rising home prices into perspective, she said existing local home prices bottomed out at a median price of $118,000 in January 2012 before appreciating for a record 19 straight months until September 2013. Local home prices are still well below their June 2006 peak of $315,000.

Kasama said 2013 was also a year of transition from distressed to more traditional sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. GLVAR has been tracking fewer foreclosures and short sales – which occur when a lender agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. In December, 20.7 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down from 21 percent in November. Another 8.5 percent of all December sales were bank-owned properties, up from 7 percent in November.

Of the 40,242 existing residential properties sold in Southern Nevada during 2013, GLVAR reported that 62 percent were traditional sales. That’s a big jump from 2012, when only 37 percent of all 44,902 sales that year were traditional.

Kasama said REALTORS are pushing Congress to extend for at least another year the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act that expired Dec. 31, 2013. Unless Congress votes to extend this act retroactively to the end of 2013, as some members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are proposing, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale starting in 2014 may become taxable when sellers file their income taxes. Without this tax relief, Kasama expects far fewer short sales this year.

GLVAR said the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in December was 2,915, up from 2,694 in November, but down from 3,624 in December 2012.

Like November, GLVAR reported fewer homes listed for sale in December. The total number of properties listed for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service decreased in December, with 13,303 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of the month. That’s down 6.6 percent from 14,240 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of November and down 8.9 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 2,903 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in December, down 19.9 percent from 3,624 listed in November and down 16.5 percent from one year ago.

GLVAR also reported fewer available homes listed for sale without any sort of pending or contingent offer. By the end of December, GLVAR reported 6,587 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s down 3.6 percent from 6,830 such homes listed in November, but still up 78.6 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,664 properties listed without offers in December represented a 24.1 percent decrease from 2,192 such properties listed in November, but a 33.0 percent increase from one year ago.

In December, GLVAR reported that 44.4 percent of all existing local homes sold were purchased with cash. That’s up from 43.7 in November but down from a peak of 59.5 percent set in February 2013.

The median price of bank-owned homes sold in December was $159,900, up from $152,500 in November. The median price of homes sold as part of a short sale in December was $165,000, up from $158,500 in November.

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of December 2013. GLVAR distributes such statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners. Other highlights include:

The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during December increased by 10.7 percent for homes to more than $550 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all December sales was more than $71 million, up 1 percent from November. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in December were up 1.6 percent for homes and up 3.1 percent for condos and townhomes.

In December, 69.1 percent of all existing local homes and 63.0 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to November, when 73.5 percent of all existing local homes and 67.2 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.

About the GLVAR

GLVAR was founded in 1947 and provides its more than 11,000 local members with education, training and political representation. The local representative of the National Association of REALTORS®, GLVAR is the largest professional organization in Southern Nevada. Each GLVAR member receives the highest level of professional training and must abide by a strict code of ethics. For more information, visit www.HomeLasVegas.com or www.lasvegasrealtor.com.