Cash buyers and foreign investors pushed Las Vegas home sales higher last month as they scoured the market looking for deals. Between April and May, Vegas home sales rose 1.8%, research firm DataQuick said. Meanwhile, year-over-year sales increased 1.7%. May home sales hit a five-year high thanks to cash-rich investors. Overall, the region reported 4,570 new home sales — the highest level for last month since more than 7,000 homes sold in May 2006. Distressed sales represent nearly 70% of all Las Vegas-area home sales, according to DataQuick. About 53% of homes sold last month were purchased by cash buyers, compared to 47.6% a year earlier. DataQuick attributes the influx of cash buyers to tighter lending standards that have eliminated many potential homebuyers. This has paved the way for retirees who are downsizing and paying cash for new digs and investors who looking to park cash in real estate. The influence of foreign buyers also could be felt in the area, with 3% of the market's new May sales driven by foreign investors. About 72% of the international buyers came from Canada, while Australians represented 8% of foreign buyers. DataQuick said Hong Kong, Israeli and French investors each accounted for about 3% to 4% of the May resales. "These buyers paid a median $120,000 for resale houses, $65,000 for condos and $128,000 for newly built homes," DataQuick said. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.