New-home sales, construction off to a slow start

Carpenters frame a home at a residential construction site in the west side of the Las Vegas Valley in Las Vegas, April 5, 2013.

The Las Vegas home-construction market started the year somewhat of a dud.

Southern Nevada builders sold 401 new homes last month, down 22 percent from January 2013, according to a new report from Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

Local builders also pulled 450 construction permits last month, down 26 percent from a year earlier.

Despite the slump, sales and permits still were higher than the January figures from 2009 to 2012, when the valley’s new-home market was at its worst after the economy crashed, Home Builders Research President Dennis Smith said in his report.

Moreover, prices continue to climb. The median sales price last month was $300,000, up 36 percent from a year earlier.

That roaring pace could fade, though, if builders keep selling fewer homes and continue cutting back on construction plans, according to Smith.

“Sales and permits have to rise to keep the prices from reversing their upward advances,” he said in the report.