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Las Vegas-area January home sales fell more than usual, but were still the highest for that month since 2007 and continued a 17th month string of increasing sales, according to a recent industry report. Sales were driven by first-time home buyers and investors purchasing properties costing less than $200,000, according to the data.
About 3,400 homes closed escrow in the area in January, down almost 37% from December, but up almost 8% from a year earlier. Nationally, sales in the first month of 2010 fell about 7%, an increase of almost 12% from January 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Government-insured FHA loans – a form of financing popular with first-time home buyers – accounted for almost 52% of all home-purchase loans in the region, up from almost 50% in December, and a year earlier, according to the organization, which compiles and analyzes property sales data for the lending, title and retail real estate markets.
In the second-largest category, absentee buyers purchased 43% of all Las Vegas-area homes sold in January, up from about 40% in December and almost 34% a year earlier. These absentee buyers also are striking hard bargains for their purchases, which contributed to an overall decline in January home prices. January’s absentee buyers paid a median $101,000, which was down from $125,000 a year earlier.
Sales of homes priced below $200,000 made up almost 79% of all January transactions, compared with about 77% in December and almost 66% in January 2009. Las Vegas re-sales outpaced new home sales, both annually and month-to-month.
Median sale prices decline, but re-sale prices show signs of stability
Because the typical re-sale price is lower than the typical new home price, the overall median sale price fell in January, by almost 3% (to $125,750 from $129,000), which was on pace with the decline witnessed in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.
Las Vegas Valley’s decline may have a kernel of good news because it was the smallest year-over-year decline since May 2008 – when the median price dropped a whopping 17%, to $239,900, according to MDA QuickData. The overall median sale price has fallen for 33 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis. January’s median was almost 60% below the November 2006 peak of $312,000.
Foreclosure a continuing force, but declining
Las Vegas Valley foreclosure activity fell in January compared with December and a year ago.
Foreclosures decreased 21% in January over December, and were down 39% from January 2009. Foreclosure filings, however, have seesawed month-to-month over the past year, and a single month’s rise or fall doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend, MDA QuickData warned.