Las Vegas Median Home Prices Up Anew

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.

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