Builders sell 6,802 new homes countywide last year, up 13 percent

A carpenter works on a KB Homes project at Inspirada in Henderson Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Las Vegas homebuilders sold more houses last year than in 2014 and geared up for a rising volume of construction, a new report shows.

Overall, though, business remained far below what it was during the housing bubble or even 15 to 20 years ago, before the market inflated rapidly. And not everyone expects sales to keep climbing this year.

Builders closed 698 new-home sales in Clark County last month, bringing the final 2015 tally to 6,802. That’s up 13 percent from 2014, according to Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

Buyers last month paid a median price of $310,814 for new homes, up 6.5 percent from a year earlier.

Builders, meanwhile, pulled 583 new-home permits in December, putting the 2015 sum at 7,582, up 14 percent from 2014.

When builders post an annual sales jump of 13 percent, “it should be considered as very good news and result in congratulatory backslaps all around,” Home Builders Research founder Dennis Smith wrote in the report.

But, he added, the market remains bogged down by underwater borrowers, land shortages and other issues that show “all is still not roses for the Las Vegas housing market.” Builders’ current sales totals are less than half of what they achieved during more-normal years before the recession, he noted.

In 1995, for instance, builders sold about 17,900 new homes in the Las Vegas area. That soared to almost 39,000 homes in 2005, but after the housing bubble burst and the economy tanked, the number plunged to just 3,900 sales in 2011.

It would be a “very good year” if builders sold 250 to 500 more homes than in 2015, said Smith, who is projecting 7,150 new-home sales this year. Still, many in the housing industry expect sales totals to drop, he wrote.

Here’s a look at builders’ annual sales totals and prices over the years: