The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has done nothing to quell the upward trajectory of home prices in Southern Nevada.
The median price for an existing home in the area was $345,000 in November, according to a report released by the Las Vegas Realtors trade organization today.
The monthly figure, for the sixth month in a row, set a new all-time record.
It’s a puzzling trend for some amid one of the most economically challenging years in recent Nevada history.
“Like other places around the country, we’re seeing multiple offers on properties listed for sale,” said Tom Blanchard, the Realtor association’s president, in a statement. “The supply of available homes is very low, and demand is high. I hope the new year will bring some additional inventory as local homeowners start to feel more comfortable moving.”
At the end of last month, according to the trade group’s numbers, about 8,400 existing homes in the Las Vegas area were listed for sale.
That’s a drop of 19% from November 2019 and 11% from October of this year.
Vivek Sah, director of UNLV’s Lied Center for Real Estate, said it’s likely that many people who may have considered selling their home recently have taken advantage of coronavirus mortgage forbearance opportunities.
Those programs have allowed homeowners suffering through economic hardships — tens of thousands of workers in Southern Nevada were furloughed or laid off earlier this year — to, at least temporarily, avoid foreclosure while not making payments.
“Those programs have kind of helped the market stay afloat,” Sah said. “Those programs are starting to expire at the end of this month. Back in 2008 and 2009, people who lost their jobs, many of them, had no choice but to hand over their keys. That brought a lot of supply to the market.”
Sah said that at the start of the pandemic, he figured home prices would drop by 5% or more as the year went on.
He added that a steady supply of new Nevada residents coming here from other states — think California — has also helped to keep existing home prices up.
“I think we’ll start to see some things change at the end of December, unless the federal government keeps those forbearance programs in play,” Sah said. “At some point in time, these loans that are not being serviced, the lenders will start to ask for payment. It’s at that point that you’ll see some movement because some people will be forced to sell.”
Blanchard said the housing market in Southern Nevada could “easily” absorb four times the number of homes available for sale now without “tilting the scales of meeting our current demand for housing” in the area.
LVR reported that more than 3,700 existing homes, townhomes and condos were sold in November. Sales were up 26% from November 2019 for single-family homes and 35% for condos and townhomes.
The median price for a home in the valley last month was up 12% from November 2019.
Local condos and townhomes sold last month for a median price of just under $200,000, which represented a jump of 14% from November 2019.
At this pace, LVR figures for December could show that the median price for a Las Vegas home might be more than triple what it was at one point in 2012, when it bottomed out at $118,000 following the Great Recession.
Founded in 1947 and previously known as the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, the LVR group is made up of about 15,000 area agents.