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Foreclosure sales push Vegas prices to 15-year low

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The median home sales price in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area fell to a 15-year low in January as foreclosure sales dominated the market, and investors pounded the pavement looking for low-cost opportunities, real estate analytics firm DataQuick said Thursday. During the period absentee buyers — who are mainly investors — accounted for 49.2% of the home sales. The median sales price on new and resale homes in the Vegas area dropped to $118,000 in January, down 4.8% from December and down 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. The last time the median hit the $118,000 level was in April of 1996. It reached its peak 10 years later in 2006 when the median sales price hit $312,000. Las Vegas investors looking for bargains found a plethora of homes to choose from in January, with the number of foreclosed homes in the region rising 18% over December and 59.4% from January of last year. Last month, lenders foreclosed on 2,658 single-family homes and condos in the Vegas metropolitan area. The peak month for Vegas foreclosures occurred in February 2009 when lenders submitted foreclosure filings on 3,718 properties. During the month, newly built Las Vegas homes made up only 7.4% of total sales. While the number of total home sales in January fell 20.8% from the previous month, they also rose 10% from year-ago levels due to robust sales at the sub-$100,000 market level. The Las Vegas-Paradise metro area had 3,669 new and existing home sales last month, the highest January on record since 2007. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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