Las Vegas Homes and Real Estate News
HOUSING: LV home prices stabilizing
Feb. 25, 2006
The Las Vegas housing market has cooled from its feverish pace over the last couple of years and most experts agree that's a good thing.
Houses that were selling at 10 percent above asking price a year ago are now being reduced and are staying on the market for nearly two months.
The median price of a new home in Las Vegas dropped to $303,751 in January from $309,900 in December, Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research reported. The price is up 7.5 percent, or $21,203, from the same month a year ago.
Excluding 795 apartment conversions, which accounted for 27.8 percent of the 2,862 recorded new home sales in January, the median price was $343,198, an 11.6 percent increase from a year ago.
Weekly traffic through new subdivisions, a gauge of people looking at new homes, has decreased 21.9 percent from the first few weeks of 2005 and net sales per subdivision are off by about a third, Smith said.
"We have to go back six years to find traffic counts and net sales this low," he said. "It's slowed down. That's the gist of it. It's difficult to get a general read on the market because it's so spotty. Some subdivisions in the north are doing real well and others in the north by the same builder aren't doing so well. It's much more competitive and the success is scattered."
A few builders have adjusted their prices in some subdivisions, but prices are steady overall, Smith said.
Larry Murphy, president of SalesTraq, said sales are stronger than expected so far this year, but prices are stable and inventory of homes for sale, while growing, are remaining manageable.
He reported 3,001 new home closings in January, the first time they've topped 3,000 in that month.
The resale market had its second-best January in history with 3,485 closings.
Existing home prices also declined month over month. The median resale price in January was $279,000, compared with $284,900 in December, SalesTraq reported. The price is still up 11.6 percent from January 2005.
"Our forecast of single-digit price increases for 2006 seems in line with January data," Murphy said.
Las Vegas is still the hottest market in the country, said David Lampe of Coldwell Banker Wardley.
"Prices are stable. They're not rising, by any means," he said. "Yes, we are taking price reductions, quite a few. That's taking people down to a reasonable number. We're not talking tens of thousands (of dollars). We're talking $5,000 to $10,000 and then houses are selling."
Builders pulled 2,173 new home permits in January, a 48.5 percent increase from the same month the previous year, but well below the 2,584 average monthly permit activity of 2005, Smith noted.
Smith will present his Housing Outlook 2006 at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall. The seminar is held in conjunction with the 2006 Builders Show sponsored by the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association and Southwest Gas Corp.
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