Archive for January, 2013

“Boomerang Buyers” Recover from Home Foreclosure in Las Vegas

Monday, January 14th, 2013

A growing number of former homeowners just out of foreclosure are finding themselves getting back onto the property ladder within just a few years in the Las Vegas area, according to new reports. While these so-called boomerang buyers are still few in number, there are indications that their numbers are poised to grow and could have a huge impact on the city’s real estate market.

Realtors across the city are keen on the market re-entry of these resilient buyers. Dennis Smith, president and CEO Home Builders Research, confirmed that this type of buyer has aroused much interest recently. He said that these buyers are being driven by the fact that, in many cases, it has become cheaper to own a home than to rent a residence. Examining the numbers indicates that boomerang buyers could indeed be a substantial and largely untapped market, particularly for affordable priced homes like those on the short sales list.

In year 2000, the home-ownership rate within Las Vegas Valley was 64 percent, a figure which soared to a 68.8 percent high alongside the housing boom of 2006. As of this March, home ownership had dropped to just 48 percent. Although it is difficult to estimate how many homeowners became renters due to foreclosures, a housing analyst believes that mortgage defaults were largely responsible for the rental surge. During the downturn, some 130,000 households suffered a short sale or foreclosure. With the city maintaining its population level, it is logical to assume that many of those residents who defaulted remain, and a great majority of them would  now be renting homes instead of owning.

One firm, Premier Mortgage Lending, was quick to see the benefit of boomerang home buyers. Last year, it came up with a special program called “Another Chance,” which it specifically launched for recently foreclosed home buyers. The program has already funded close to 200 loans. The owner of the company, Rick Piette, said it took some time for people to realize that there was available financing of this type, but now their phones are now busy with callers ringing non-stop about the program.



Country Singer Luke Bryan Hits High Note at Las Vegas American Country Awards

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Country music artist Luke Bryan went home a big winner from The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas last week, though not with a bagful of chips from the gaming tables. What he did receive was actually worth a whole lot more, as he romped home with nine guitar trophies in the third annual American Country Awards (ACA) held at the hotel casino.

Bryan underscored his dominance as he copped three major titles at stake in the fan-voted awards. Fans voted his “Tailgates and Tanlines” as the album of the year and likewise gave him the accolade as artist of the year and male artist of the year. In addition, Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night to End” garnered the Music Video of the Year and the Most Played Radio Track.

Recognition as the female artist of the year was bestowed on Carrie Underwood, who now holds a record 11 ACA trophies, a feat yet unmatched in the awards’ three-year history. Another female artist who was dominant in this year’s voting was Miranda Lambert, Female Singer of the Year. Additionally, her “Over You” stood out in the female category’s Single of the Year, Music Video of the Year, and the Most Played Radio Track.

Other top winners included, Lady Antebellum, which got the Group of the Year and Single (“We Owned the Night”) of the Year Group plums. During the awards, it was announced that the Lady Antebellum trio is coming out with new music in early 2013. The honor for the favorite new artist went to Lauren Alaina, while Jake Owen took the breakthrough artist of the year award.

For the second year in a row, the tandem of singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth and county music artist and actor Trace Adkins hosted the 2012 awards. Antics centering on the Mutt-and-Jeff hosting duo served as the appetizer to the event which kicked off with the hulking Adkins carrying the pint-sized Kristin onstage.


Las Vegas Median Home Prices Up Anew

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Despite sluggish sales moving into the December holidays, median home prices in Las Vegas rose by 4.3 percent this November from October, thereby sustaining gains for most of 2012, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR) reported. The November average price of $146,000 estimated for 2,682 single-family homes stands 16.8 percent higher than what it was one year ago.

GLVAR president, Kolleen Kelley, said home prices in the metro area have either risen or stayed stable during ten of the past eleven months. This steady appreciation hasn’t been observed since 2004, she noted. Kelley likewise believes that the market is so undervalued now that a quick turnaround can also follow any price downswing brought by the market’s inability to support higher-priced home offerings.

This November’s sales were 10.1 percent lower than those posted in October, and 15.1 percent below from a year ago. Typically, home prices and sales decline in the winter prior to a rebound in the spring. Local statistics indicate a transitioning of the home market from foreclosures to short sales, a situation where a lender sells for less than the amount that the borrower owes on the home mortgage. This November, short sales constituted 41.2 percent of total sales, a decline of 44.7 percent from October, but still 26.8 percent ahead of a year earlier. Foreclosures in November accounted for 10.7 percent of total sales, a marked reversal from the previous two years when approximately half of all sales were from foreclosure listings.

Kelley expects short sales to remain high even after the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expires this December 31. If Congress doesn’t extend this act, any amount that lenders write off in a short sale will be taxable upon filing of the sellers’ income taxes. Realtors also note that while there’s a steady increase in the number of residences being sold by their traditional owners, the number of homes that lenders sold as foreclosures or short sales is steadily declining.

Las Vegas Heads toward Sustained Growth

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Long-term economic growth that rivals the level prior to the Great Recession is in store for Las Vegas and Southern Nevada if the region can weather the next two years. The same steady economic growth after 2015 can be expected for the entire West, economists told local businessmen in a recent meeting at M Resort, Las Vegas. Regional and national trends were used as the basis for the economists’ forecasts.

The director of Business and Economic Research in the University of Nevada (UNLV), Stephen Brown, noted that although the growth in the region is slower than the rest of the United States, the area is rising from deeper losses. There is still a long way to go in regaining growth in 2007, he said, adding though that the region is improving.

A quarter of a century of unprecedented growth was achieved in Nevada before the precession, recalled Lee McPheters, an economics professor at the Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Nevada, prior to 2008, wasn’t just the nation’s fastest growing state economy over the previous 25-year period. In terms of job creation and population growth, the state was also the U.S. leader. Reflecting those trends, McPheters said that the biggest economic gains and increases in jobs and population were recorded across the states west of South Dakota during that same 25-year span.

However, when the economic crash came, it fell hardest at these western states, the economist observed. From the highest of high flyers, the region sank to the lowest of the lows, he said. With the current slow economic rebound, however, benefits are coming to the western states. According to McPheters, Arizona and Texas were only behind North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Kentucky in terms of employment growth. Job creation is felt most in North Dakota and Oklahoma on account of the states’ energy development, he said. Cities in the western states, including Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston, dominate metro areas with the highest job growth, the economist also said.