Las Vegas home sales jumped to their highest August level in five years, with 5,412 homes sold last month, housing markets analytics firm DataQuick said Thursday. That's up 19.3% from July and 26.4% from a year ago. Investors and first-time buyers energized the market by snapping up homes in the sub-$150,000 market, DataQuick said. Meanwhile, home prices either stayed the same or trended downward. Overall, the median sales price hit $112,500 in August, its lowest level in more than 16 years based on statistics from real estate data providers quoted by DataQuick. That is 63.9% lower than the median price peak of $312,000 reached in November 2006. In terms of financing models, government insured FHA loans represented 39.9% of all home purchase loans. Cash buyers dominated the market, purchasing 52.3% of the Las Vegas areas homes in August, up from 48.8% last year. The median price paid by cash buyers was $84,000 for a home in Vegas, down from $85,243 in July and $100,000 a year ago. Absentee buyers – or those considered investors and vacation homeowners – bought up 47.1% of the homes sold in August. That is up from 43.3% a year earlier. Absentee buyers paid a median price of $92,000 in August, down from $110,000 last year. New home sales played a small role in last month's market, making up only 9.8% of all transactions. August condo sales represented 20.3% of total Vegas sales, compared with a 10-year monthly average of 13.5%. Distressed sales, meanwhile, represented 70% of Vegas resales. That segment includes both foreclosed homes and short sales. Additionally, Clark County – the county seat of Vegas – noted a spike in default notices in August, with filings growing 58% over July, hitting 5,354. " A significant portion of the month-to-month gain in NODs reflects a nearly 190 percent increase between July and August in the number of NODs filed where Bank of America is listed as the 'beneficiary' – from 747 in July to 2,163 in August," DataQuick said. DataQuick says the surge in filings is attributed to the fact that some lenders have new strategies for working more aggressively through backlogs of delinquent loans. Write to Kerri Panchuk.