Vacant land market in Las Vegas faces long slog to recovery

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The demand for vacant land in Las Vegas remains low and prices declined in the second quarter, a report released by Applied Analysis says.

The firm reported the price per acre paid for the 477 acres acquired during the second quarter was $235,071. That’s a 25 percent increase from the second quarter of 2010, when the price was $187,779, and 14 percent higher than the first quarter of 2011, when it was $206,275 per acre.

But Applied Analysis Principal Brian Gordon said the numbers are misleading because the pricing was bolstered by a 40-acre property that transferred ownership through a trustee sale for $51.8 million, or $1.3 million per acre.

Excluding such distressed sales, the vacant land price was $138,100 an acre. That’s an 11.9 percent decline from the first quarter and 10.7 percent from the second quarter of 2010.

The 477 acres of land transactions in the second quarter is slightly above the 442 acres in the first quarter but below the 745 acres in the second quarter of 2010.

Fifty-four percent of the land transferred in the second quarter was trustee sales in a reflection of the continued distressed nature of the land market, Gordon said. Traditional sales accounted for 39 percent of the transfers, while deeds in lieu of foreclosure and quitclaim deeds accounted for 6 percent.

Continued problems loom for the land market, Gordon said.

Residential housing inventory outpaces demand because foreclosures remain high and population growth remains modest, he said.

Commercial and industrial properties continue to report vacancies near all-time highs, and the resort industry struggles with its capacity issues, he said.