Demand for new homes in Southern Nevada eases in June

Sales of new homes began slowing last month in Southern Nevada amid scorching heat and rising interest rates.

But overall, the home construction market has been far more robust this year than during the same period in 2012, a new report shows.

Local homebuilders sold 3,618 new houses from January through June, up 75 percent from a year earlier, according to Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

The median price of June’s sales was $266,921, up 37 percent from June 2012.

Builders also pulled 3,770 new-home permits in the first half of 2013, up 30 percent from the same period last year, showing that construction plans remain strong.

Sales activity was robust from the get-go this year, with weekly sales reaching 1 to 1.2 per subdivision. That rate, however, inched lower in recent weeks to 0.8 to 0.9, Home Builders Research President Dennis Smith reported.

“This is still a very good, robust sales pace, but it signifies how demand has recently eased,” Smith wrote. “Is it due to the extreme heat in Las Vegas this summer? Seasonal? Rising interest rates? Have rising prices reached their limit (for now)?”

A heat wave struck Southern Nevada last month.

Meanwhile, the national average for a 30-year mortgage rate jumped in late June to 4.46 percent from 3.93 percent the week before — the biggest one-week increase since April 1987 and the highest rate since July 2011, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

The rate hikes came amid talks that the Federal Reserve would start scaling back its bond-buying program later this year. The average 30-year rate has since cooled off but remains higher than last year.

It ended last week at 4.37 percent, compared to 3.53 percent a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.