GLVAR reports stable home prices to start 2014

Southern Nevada home prices picked up in 2014 where they left off in 2013, according to statistics released by the GLVAR.

Heidi Kasama

LAS VEGAS – Southern Nevada home prices picked up in 2014 where they left off in 2013, according to statistics released 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 January was $185,000, unchanged from December and up 23.3 percent from January 2013, when the median price was $150,000. Meanwhile, the median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold in January was $92,500, down 3.6 percent from $96,000 in December, but up 23.3 percent from $75,000 one year ago.

GLVAR President Heidi Kasama, a longtime local REALTOR who succeeded 2013 President Dave Tina on Jan. 1, said local home prices have stabilized recently after appreciating for two years. For instance, she said existing local home prices bottomed out at a median price of $118,000 in January 2012 before rising for a record 19 straight months until September 2013. Local home prices are still well below their June 2006 peak of $315,000.

“January is usually one of our slowest months for home prices and sales, so it’s not surprising to see that prices were so similar to the previous month,” Kasama said. “For the most part, I think these stable prices are an indication of a fairly healthy housing market. At the same time, we’re still dealing with some challenges. There’s uncertainty surrounding short sales, since Congress has not extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act that expired Dec. 31. If Congress doesn’t go back and extend this law and make it retroactive to Jan. 1, it can create a big tax hit for anyone who did a short sale in 2014.”

Kasama said REALTORS are pushing Congress to extend this act for at least another year to help distressed homeowners. Unless Congress votes to extend this act retroactively, as 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 fewer short sales this year.

January continued last year’s transition from distressed to more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. GLVAR has been reporting 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. For instance, in January, 17 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down from 20.7 percent in December. Another 11 percent of all January sales were bank-owned properties, up from 8.5 percent in December.

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

GLVAR said the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in the traditionally slow month of January was 2,527, down from 2,915 in December and down from 2,821 one year ago.

Like the end of 2013, GLVAR reported fewer total properties listed for sale in January than one year ago. The total number of properties listed for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service in January was 13,537. That’s up 1.8 percent from 13,303 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of December, but down 6.2 percent from 14,433 homes one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 2,978 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in January, up 2.6 percent from 2,903 listed in December, but down 14.4 percent from one year ago.

Compared to one year ago, GLVAR reported many more available homes listed for sale without any sort of pending or contingent offer. By the end of January, GLVAR reported 6,541 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s down 0.7 percent from 6,587 such homes listed in December, but still up 96.2 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,712 properties listed without offers in January represented a 2.9 percent increase from 1,664 such properties listed in December and a 40.1 percent increase from one year ago.

GLVAR said 46.3 percent of all existing local homes sold in January were purchased with cash. That’s up from 44.4 percent in December, but down from a peak of 59.5 percent set in February 2013.

The median price of bank-owned homes sold in January was $148,867, down from $159,900 in December. The median price of homes sold as part of a short sale in January was $165,000, the same as during December.

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of January 2014. 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 January decreased by 16.2 percent for homes to more than $461 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all January sales was more than $47 million, down 33.7 percent from December. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in January were up 6.8 percent for homes, but down 26.8 percent for condos and townhomes.

• In January, 64.6 percent of all existing local homes and 55.9 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to December, when 69.1 percent of all existing local homes and 63.0 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.

###