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January Market Update

Those who make a close study of our local housing market have made their predictions for 2010.  Larry Murphy, of RealtyTrac, a respected local housing market expert, is looking at 2010 to be similar to 2006, when there was no appreciation in house values.  In 2009, there were 5,184 new home closings, the least since 1985; Murphy expects an increase in sales in 2010, but he foresees a decline in the median price of new houses, which was $212,883 in December.  That was a decline of 20 percent from 2008.   

Resale, or existing, home sales were up 57 percent in 2009, over 2008, with 48,075 closings.  The median price of existing homes was $120,000, down 25 percent from December, 2008.  Median prices were $125,000 in April, 2009, indicating a leveling off in depreciation. 

Analysts, including Murphy, anticipate there will be 26,000 foreclosure homes coming onto the Las Vegas market in 2010, up a little from 23,981 in 2009, which is not the huge number others have anticipated.  This steady stream would provide a two month inventory.  In other words, based on last year’s sales figures, houses will remain on the market about 60 days before selling. 

The median price of a bank owned house is $116,900, compared with $150,000 for a short sale.  Murphy predicts short sales will account for 15 percent of all sales in 2010, as banks realize short sales are more profitable.

Another local expert, Steve Bottfield of Marketing Solutions, sees some economic indicators improving in Las Vegas.  He sees more visitors, more gaming revenue and more house sales.  

Too many new homes were built between 2000 and 2005, according to Murphy, about 50,000 more than were needed.  Of these houses, about one-quarter were purchased by investors and second home owners.  38,000 homes were built in 2005 when only 18,000 were needed.

There were 230 active subdivisions at the end of 2009 compared with 350 at the beginning of 2009.  In January, 2008, there were 525 new subdivisions.

MLS data indicates there were 23,803 houses for sale in January, 2008.  In December, 2009, there were 10,262, a 2 and a half month supply.


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