Foreclosures Push Sales up in Las Vegas

The origination market in the Las Vegas region swelled in June as home sales in the area climbed to the highest monthly level since December 2006. A total 5,519 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (or Clark County) in June, up 21.7% from may and up 44.1% from a year ago, according to real estate data provider MDA DataQuick. It’s the highest sales volume recorded there since 5,780 units sold in December 2006. The news is mixed for those looking to spot the bottom, however, with foreclosure sales accounting for more than two-thirds of the resale market there as buyers continue to work through the area’s foreclosure inventory. Around 70% of the Las Vegas-area houses and condominiums that resold in June were foreclosure resales, up from 59% in the year-ago period, but the lowest so far this year since the 68.9% mark seen in December. The median sales price held steady despite the high volume of distressed sales, marking the second consecutive month of stability after 16 months of decline, DataQuick said. The median price paid in the metro area was $135,000, unchanged from May but down 41.3% from a year ago. The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses — one of the best gauges of overall price trends, according to DataQuick — held steady last month at $140,000 but came in 37.9% lower than last year. The median price paid per square foot in resale detached homes similarly held at $77, down 35.3% from the year-ago period. “The time of year is adding some upward pressure to the median price,” the information provider noted in its regional report. “This is when most traditional home buying occurs, when more individuals and families move because of a job or to re-situate before school starts in late summer. More people are looking for the right house in the right area, sometimes moving up to larger homes or homes in more desirable neighborhoods.” “There’s more driving the market,” DataQuick’s report added, “than hardcore bargain hunting by investors and first-time home buyers.” The information provider noted the region may continue to rely on first-time home buyers and investors to work through its foreclosure inventory. And there’s more to come, as DataQuick pointed out that lender repossessions spiked in June as nearly 3,600 houses and condos went into foreclosure in Clark County, up 54% from May and 34% from a year ago. Write to Diana Golobay.

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