Nov. home sales fall to a 5-year low in Vegas

The Las Vegas market turned into the comeback kid after investors flooded the city in the wake of the real estate bust.

While investor activity drove up prices and helped restore one of the hardest hit housing markets in recent years, it appears their influence is starting to wane.

New research from DataQuick shows that last month, home sales in Vegas fell to their lowest level for any November recorded in the past five years. Waning home affordability, constrained supply and a decline in investor activity took most of the blame for interrupting investors' reign.

Inquiring investors found the median sale price dipping a bit from October to November, but the median price still hovered 26% above year ago levels, leaving buyers with less attractive pricing when compared to the deep discounts available after the housing downturn.

Overall, 3,539 new and resale homes and condos closed in escrow last month in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area – down 15.4% from a month earlier and a 14.6% decline from last year, San Diego-based DataQuick said.

This is also the lowest number of November sales recorded since 2008 when 3,325 homes sold. Coincidentally, that was also at the beginning of the housing meltdown.

Sales of homes priced below $100,000 dropped 54.1% from last year, showing a decline in the most affordable housing segment, while sub-$200,000 transactions also fell 32.9% year-over-year.

"The number of homes that sold for $200,000 or more shot up 31.7% year-over-year," DataQuick said. "November sales of homes priced from $200,000 to $500,000 – a range that would include many move-up purchases – jumped 32.7% from a year earlier, while the number selling for $500,000 or more rose 20.8% ($500,000-plus sales represented only about 3.5 percent of November sales).”

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