Homes sales rise to a five-year high in Las Vegas metro area
Las Vegas February home sales rose to a five-year high, boosted by cash and investor purchases, according to DataQuick. Cash deals represented more than half of all transactions for the third consecutive month, while the percentage of homes bought with a mortgage dropped to the lowest point for any month in at least 17 years, the San Diego-based real estate information firm reported. The number of foreclosure sales, meanwhile, declined from the year-ago period. In February, 3,879 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area – the highest sales figure for any February since 2006, when 6,065 sold, up 4.9% from the year-ago period, according to DataQuick Information Systems of San Diego. The number of homes purchased with cash rose to 2,198 – 56.7% of all transactions – was the highest since at least 1994. The number of homes purchases financed with a mortgage fell to 1,681 – the lowest for any month since February 1995. The unusually high level of cash buyers reflects a combination of factors, including tighter lending standards and cash buyers’ ability to move to the head of the line when there are multiple offers. The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area last month was $118,500, down 6.1% from $126,197 in February 2010. The median price paid last month for resale single-family detached houses was $125,000, down 6.6% from a year earlier. Distressed sales — sales of foreclosed homes and short sales — continue to weigh heavily on the market, representing about 71% of all transactions last month. Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months accounted for 56.7% of the Las Vegas resale market in February, down from 59.6% a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 73.7% of the resale market in April 2009. Short sales — transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property — made up an estimated 14.3% of Las Vegas-area sales last month. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.