Archive for May, 2010

Las Vegas Real Estate Supply & Demand

Monday, May 24th, 2010

In early April there were about 1400 total REO’s in the Las Vegas MLS and only about 900 of them were single family homes, the rest were condos and town homes. Today there are 1917 total REO’s and 1422 of them are single family homes. So we now have more single family Las Vegas foreclosure homes on the market than we had total REO’s just a little over a month ago. The inventory is slowly creeping up and the total Pending and Contingent numbers are 1,000 more than they were in early April. In addition, the Las Vegas short sale process seems to actually be becoming streamlined and expedited; although I think it will take 4 or 5 months before we see short sales approved and closed consistently within 60 days. But any progress in this arena is more than welcome. We also know that the percentage of cash buyers is at an all time high. But, how long can the anomaly of a market with 50% cash buyers sustain itself?

All in all, having more inventory is good news, especially because it is not yet so much as to drive prices down. Although hard to believe after the last 18 months of agony, inventory really does seem to be increasing slowly but surely. Let’s see if supply and demand can become, and more importantly, STAY balanced. How great it would be if we could operate in a “balanced” Las Vegas real estate market. We’ll see….

Crusader AG Andrew Cuomo Strikes Again !!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo has launched an investigation of eight major banks to determine if they provided information to the rating agencies that was less than truthful concerning the components of various mortgage backed securities. The Las Vegas real estate market is ground zero for mortgages that should have never been originated, so we have more than a passing interest in this investigation. Personally, I really doubt that it was necessary to mislead the rating agencies about what they were evaluating to get a better credit risk score. The banks had a more powerful tool to get what they wanted than the manipulation of information, that’s for sure. The ratings agencies live off of fee income, and you get just one guess as to who provides that “fee cash flow”. When you combine this kind of financial leverage (over what is supposed to be an independent evaluative process) with the well developed network of bankers that used to work in the ratings business (and still have jealous friends there), the potential for chicanery of all kinds is clear and probable. No worries though, Andrew Cuomo is on it and the guy doesn’t hold back. With this kind of public interest tenacity in his belly, one could imagine Cuomo making a great Governor or Senator in the not too distant future. Come to think of it, wasn’t his dad a Governor at one time? Do you think Andrew might have given this some thought in his spare moments ??

Slowly but Surely Las Vegas Moves Forward

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This economic downturn has been especially hard on Las Vegas. In my view, we were lulled into a false sense of security concerning recessions because the two previous episodes barely scraped us or slowed us down. This time, the depth and breadth of the nationwide problems showed Las Vegas just how vulnerable it can be to serious economic difficulties and rock bottom levels of consumer confidence.

However, it does seem as if the situation is beginning to stabilize for us and the future may hold more promise than recently expected. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is reporting that visitor volume has either stayed flat or posted modest gains for seven months in a row now. This may not sound overly exciting, but previous to this seven month “stability trend” our tourist numbers dropped for 15 months in a row. The first step in turning the corner in any situation of consistent decline is to arrest that process and stop the elevator from dropping further. It seems as if Las Vegas is reaching that important point in the recovery process. Do we still have a long way to go? Of course, but you have to start somewhere …

Another sector of the local economy that appears to be stabilizing is the Las Vegas real estate market. The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Monday that Las Vegas home prices experienced their first year-over-year increase since 2007. Again, the first task of any recovery is to put the brakes on the steady rate of decline. Thankfully, the median price of residential real estate in Southern Nevada has held fairly steady for about a year now. Without question, it’s going to take many years to repair the damage from the housing bubble, but you have to start by making a start, and we appear to be doing so at long last.

Step Aside Guys – Women Increasingly Dominate Real Estate

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Here is today’s news from the research arm of the NAR …

More than twice as many women purchased a home for the first time in 2009 than men, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Should we consider this to be solid evidence of continued strides towards greater financial independence and decision making capability for 21st century American women? One would certainly have to think so. As more economic opportunities for advancement present themselves, women are clearly stepping up (and forward) to grasp the potential inherent in their lives. How does this steady shift in female independence affect the society at large over time? In my opinion, strong and capable women make better wives and better mothers because they make better partners and set a better example.