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Southern Nevada Housing Market 101

Story courtesy of  Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors® (GLVAR) published in the March 2013 edition of the GLVAR official publication “Southern Nevada Realtor®

The local housing market continues to be a hot topic in Southern Nevada. REALTORS® are often asked about local housing prices, if they’ve hit bottom, if they’ll keep increasing, what’s happening with foreclosures and short sales, the role cash buyers are playing in our housing market and more.

People who live outside of Southern Nevada can have even more questions and misconceptions about our market, sometimes because of misleading or seemingly conflicting media reports or rumors they’ve heard. Here are some facts about our local housing market designed to put things in perspective:

HOW’S THE LOCAL HOUSING MARKET? IS SOUTHERN NEVADA RECOVERING?

• Since 2007, the local housing market has been facing some historic challenges, with record foreclosure rates and most local homeowners now owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

• The good news is that we’re making progress, especially in the past year.

• For example, 2011 set a record for most existing homes ever sold in one year here in Southern Nevada – and 2012 wasn’t far behind.

• From the beginning to the end of 2012, the median price of an existing single-family home sold in Southern Nevada increased by 24 percent. That’s the largest jump in local home prices since at least 2004.

• News reports about the housing market can be confusing. Different news reports cite different sources when quoting prices, sales, inventory and other market conditions. The GLVAR strives to be a source of accurate and timely information for its Members, the media and the public.

• Local home prices and sales fell dramatically for a few years following the unprecedented housing boom we experienced from about 2003-2007.

• But that’s not the case today. In 2013, it’s safe to say that local home prices have been rising for more than a year, the housing supply has been very tight and homes are selling at a very brisk pace.

H AVE LOCAL HOME PRICES HIT THE BOTTOM?

• It’s difficult to predict if and when home prices might hit the proverbial “bottom,” or lowest price over a given period of time. What we can say is that prices went up 24 percent in 2012.

• With more than half of all local homes selling for cash, it’s obvious that thousands of “smart money” buyers purchasing properties here each month believe local homes are a good investment.

ARE CASH BUYERS GOOD FOR THE HOUSING MARKET?

• This steady stream of cash buyers speaks volumes about the future of Las Vegas, which has always had strong selling points. These include our affordable housing options, world-class resorts, entertainment, dining and shopping offerings, warm weather, low taxes and more.

• Though we’d love to see more owner-occupants buying homes, investors buying homes and renting them to others is better than the alternative of leaving homes vacant. At least investors are putting people into homes. This helps our neighborhoods.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT ALL THESE FORECLOSURES?

• We’re actually seeing far fewer foreclosures in Southern Nevada.

• For years, REALTORS® have been urging banks, lawmakers and others to work together to encourage and streamline short sales as a more beneficial alternative to foreclosure.

• Again, we’ve made great progress in this area. By the end of 2012, short sales accounted for nearly half of all existing local home sales, while foreclosures accounted for few than 10 percent of all local home sales.

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