Las Vegas home prices, sales rise despite sluggish time of year

Courtesy of Nancy Tucker

A home for sale in Henderson.

Las Vegas used-home prices inched up last month to cap another year of growth, albeit a much slower rate than previous years.

The median sales price of single-family homes in December was $204,000, up 1 percent from November and 10 percent from a year ago, according to a new report from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

Owners sold 2,225 single-family homes last month, up almost 10 percent from November but down 7 percent from December 2013.

Prices and sales volume rose month-to-month even though December is a “traditionally sluggish time for the local housing market,” according to the GLVAR.

The group’s report is based on data from its listing service, which largely comprises previously owned homes.

Home values typically rise 2 to 5 percent in a normal year. Even though Las Vegas’ increase in 2014 was well above average, it was far below the market’s roughly 24 percent jump in both 2012 and 2013, when heavy investor spending pulled Las Vegas out from the depths of the recession.

Housing prices peaked in mid-2006, during the bubble, at $315,000, and hit bottom in early 2012, after the economy tanked, at $118,000.

Afterward, investors streamed in to buy cheap homes in bulk to turn into rentals. That pushed up prices at one of the fastest rates nationally, causing some insiders to fear another bubble was forming.

But last year, business slowed valleywide as investors, faced with rising prices they helped create and a crowded, not-so-lucrative rental market, drastically cut back on purchases.

Overall, more listings were ignored, sales volume fell and price-growth slowed.

Real Estate