MDA DataQuick: Las Vegas Region December Home Sales

by 03 Feb 2010


The number of homes that resold in the Las Vegas region in December shot up to its highest level for that month in five years amid robust sub-$200,000 sales and strong demand from investors. The overall median sale price, including newly built homes, dipped slightly from November, while several other price gauges suggested home values have changed little in recent months, a real estate information service reported.
Foreclosure resales continued to wane in the Las Vegas market but still accounted for more than half of all December transactions, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
In December, 63.3 percent of the Las Vegas-area houses and condos that resold were foreclosure resales, meaning those homes had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months. That was down from 64.2 percent in November and down from 68.9 percent in December 2008. Foreclosure resales peaked in April 2009 at 73.7 percent of the region’s resales, and have since declined each month.
A total of 5,316 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) in December, up 11.1 percent from November and up 33.0 percent from a year earlier. A sales gain between November and December is normal for the season, with an average gain of 12.6 percent since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region stats begin.
December’s sales total was the highest for that month since December 2006, when 5,780 homes sold. December marked the 16 th consecutive month in which total sales have risen on a year-over-year basis.
Sales of homes priced below $200,000 made up 77.1 percent of all December transactions, compared with 76 percent in November and 58.3 percent in December 2008.
The number of houses and condos that resold (excludes new homes) in December rose to 4,722 – the highest level for a December since 4,739 resales in December 2004. Resales have risen on a year-over-year basis for 20 straight months.
Sales of newly built homes, including condo conversions, fell to 595 in December, down 17.0 percent from November and down 10.9 percent from a year earlier. It was the slowest December for new-home sales since at least 1994.
Given the typical new home sells for more than the typical resale home, the decline in new-home sales in December helped push the overall median sale price down a bit from November.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area in December was $129,000, down 4.4 percent from $134,900 in November and down 26.3 percent from $175,000 a year earlier. The year-over-year decline was the smallest since August 2008, when the median dropped 26 percent from a year earlier, to $221,990.
The overall median sale price has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 32 consecutive months and in December was 58.7 percent below the peak $312,000 median in November 2006.
The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses – by far the region’s largest home-type category – was $135,000 in December, the same as it had been since October but down 22.4 percent from $174,005 a year earlier. The December resale house median was 56.8 percent lower than the peak $312,250 median in June 2006.
The median price paid in December for resale condos was $73,000, up from $70,500 in November but down 23.2 percent from $95,000 a year earlier. December’s resale condo median was 64.0 percent below its $203,000 peak in July 2006.
Another price gauge analysts watch held steady again in December: The median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses remained $76, the same as it’s been since October but still down 20.0 percent from $95 a year earlier. December’s figure was 60 percent below the June 2006 peak of $190 per square foot.
On the foreclosure front, public filings that indicate how many homes were lost to foreclosure rose slightly in December: 2,114 single-family house and condo units were foreclosed on in Clark County, up 4.5 percent from November but down 24 percent from December 2008. The December 2009 total was 43.1 percent lower than the monthly peak of 3,718 foreclosures in February 2009.
Foreclosure filings have seesawed month-to-month over the past year, and a single month’s rise or fall doesn’t necessarily indicate a new trend. In all of 2009, the number of homes foreclosed on rose 9 percent from 2008, but in the second half of 2009 foreclosures fell 1.7 percent below the same period in 2008. The foreclosure figures are based on the number of trustees deeds filed at the county recorder’s office.
In December, a popular form of financing used by first-time home buyers – government-insured FHA loans – accounted for 49.8 percent of all home purchase loans. Absentee buyers purchased 40.3 percent of all Las Vegas–area homes sold in December, up from 36.3 percent in November and up from 31.3 percent a year earlier. Absentee buyers are often investors, but can include second-home buyers and others who, for various reasons, indicate at the time of sale that the property tax bill will go to a different address.
Buyers who appear to have used cash to purchase their homes accounted for 45.5 percent of all December sales, up from 42.9 percent in November and up from 32.6 percent a year ago, based on an analysis of public property records. The median price paid in these seemingly all-cash deals in December was $100,000. Specifically, these were transactions where there was no indication of a purchase mortgage recorded at the time of sale. Some of these “cash” buyers could have used alternative financing arrangements outside of a typical purchase mortgage, and in some cases these buyers might be taking out mortgages after their purchases. All-cash deals have become popular in many Western markets where prices have dropped sharply and sellers favor the relative speed and certainty of cash transactions. 
(chart below)
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
Median price
Resale houses
Resale condos
New homes
All homes
Number of sales
Resale houses
Resale condos
New homes
All homes
Source: MDA DataQuick,



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