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Static home prices signal a stabilizing Las Vegas market


According to a report released Wednesday by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, the median price for an existing single-family home sold through its Multiple Listing Service was $300,000 during April.

The number represents no change from March, but it’s a nearly 4% year-over-year increase from the median price in Southern Nevada in April 2018. For February, the median price came in at about $296,200.

The median price for a local condominium sold in April was $170,000, up about 2% from March and up almost 10% from April 2018, according to the report.

Janet Carpenter, the association’s president and a longtime area Realtor, said April marks the first month since the same month in 2012 that an annual percentage increase has been as low as 3.8%.

“This shows how the local housing market is stabilizing this year,” Carpenter said. “With gradually appreciating prices, there are more homes on the market and slower sales.”

Home prices in the area had generally been rising since early 2012 before retreating in recent months.

According to the association, the median price for an existing local home peaked at $315,000 in June 2006. A post-recession bottom of $118,000 was reached in early 2012.

The total number of units — home, condos and townhomes — sold last month was 3,625 with 753 of those being condos and townhomes. The condo and townhome number for April represented a year-over-year increase of close to 9%.

About 22% of all properties sold in April were purchased with cash, a decrease of more than 5% from the same month in 2018.

That number peaked at 59% in February.

Home sales, of course, generally pick up during the spring and summer months. At the current sales pace, Carpenter said Southern Nevada has less than a three-month supply of homes available on the market.

Anything under a five-month supply is generally thought of as a seller’s market.

The 55+ housing market is booming


Builder confidence in this sector reaches record high

The 55+ housing market is thriving right now as more Baby Boomers look to invest in a new nest to live out their retirement dreams.

With scores of older adults looking at new single- and multifamily builds, homebuilder confidence in this market has soared to a record high.

According to the latest from the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in the 55+ market reached 76 in the first quarter of 2019 – up six points from the previous quarter and the highest score since the index started more than a decade ago.

All three components of the index in both the single- and multifamily categories posted gains in Q1, with present sales, expected sales and prospective buyer traffic climbing, the NAHB revealed.

"Favorable demographics and recent declines in mortgage rates have helped support demand for 55+ housing," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "We expect continued growth in the 55+ housing market, provided builders are able to manage the challenges of regulatory, land acquisition and construction costs." 

Karen Schroeder, chair of NAHB's 55+ Housing Industry Council, said the market is strong, but not without its challenges.

“Overall, demand for homes in 55+ communities remain strong as more buyers and renters in that market search for simpler living arrangements," said Schroeder. "However, there are still headwinds that are impacting the market.”

Schroeder pointed to rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor as problems for builders, factors that could drive up costs for buyers.

In order for the 55+ plus market to realize its potential, building affordable homes that appeal to this demographic is key.

Some mortgage professionals point out an answer in a little-known financing option that is specifically designed for older homebuyers.

It’s called a Reverse for Purchase or, using the official product name Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, a HECM for Purchase.

It allows an individual 62 or older to purchase a primary residence and obtain a reverse mortgage in a single transaction. With one set of closing costs, they can purchase a new home without incurring a monthly mortgage payment.

The deal requires a significant down payment, often more than half the purchase price and that equity is then used to generate the reverse mortgage.

Michael Banner, a long-time HECM for Purchase advocate and the president and CEO of Professional Mortgage Alliance, said builders that are not promoting this financing option in their marketing are missing out big time.

“You will sell a more expensive house if your client is getting a Reverse for Purchase, there is no doubt about it – statistics prove that,” Banner said. “The clients will buy more extras, and more expensive extras, due to the simple fact that they are not going to have a mortgage payment.”

Banner said builders should get in touch with a local HECM specialist for details on the product and should make sure they’re working with someone knowledgeable.

“Ask, ‘How many Reverse for Purchases have you and your company done?’ They’ve got to ask that question because this is a specialized product. If that answer is not satisfactory, they need to contact a true HECM for Purchase professional. Look on Google, YouTube, or contact the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association,” Banner said.

“Bottom line, you will sell more expensive homes, you will most certainly sell the higher options and extras, which, let’s face it, that’s where the builders profit.”

Best Days of the Year to Sell a Home Revealed


According to ATTOM Data Solutions, there are nine days of the year that offer U.S. home sellers a premiums of 10 percent or more - eight of which occur in the Summer months, while one occurs the day after Valentine's day.

Sellers who want to wait for the weather to heat up, will receive the hottest seller premiums as well. This analysis of more than 28 million single family home and condo sales over the past eight years is evidence that Summer is when people are looking to buy, therefore if you're looking to sell your home soon, now is the time to start.

"Since Summer is a time for vacations and outings, it's no surprise that it's also a time when people are most likely to move," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "Families start their home search when they know their kids will be out of school and when the weather is ideal for home viewing and moving, giving home sellers an upper hand in price negotiations."

Best Months to Sell in U.S.

The analysis also took a more high-level look and showcased how seller premiums faired throughout the year and broke it out by month.

The months realizing the greatest seller premiums were as follows: June (9.2 percent); May (7.4 percent); July (7.3 percent); April (6.4 percent); March (6.1 percent); August (5.8 percent); February (5.6 percent); September (4.7 percent); November (4.0 percent); January (3.7 percent); October (3.3 percent); and December (3.3 percent).

Summerlin, Insipirada lead home sales in first quarter of 2019


As Summerlin and Inspirada led the way in master plan sales during the first quarter, a research firm Thursday projected that with interest rates steadying, Southern Nevada new home closings will finish the year 3 to 5 percent higher than 2018.

Andrew Smith, president of Home Builders Research, told a group of builders at Springs Preserve that while new home closings were 4.6 percent below the first quarter of 2018 – one of the strongest since the Great Recession – they are 12 percent higher than 2017’s first three months.

In January, Home Builders Research said new home closings would fall about 5 percent in 2019 after steep decline in the fall when interest rates reached 5 percent. The 30-year fixed rate has since fallen between 4.25 and 4.35 percent.

 “We have growing population, job numbers are strong and in speaking with builders and contractors they’re not seeing a slowdown,” Smith said. “It’s unrealistic to get any higher than we are right now for the time being but we’re fairly steady.”

There were 10,669 closings in 2018, a 14.2 percent gain over 2017.

“In 2018 we got superhot, pretty quick and that was surprisingly strong before taking a dive all the way to the end,” Smith said. “This year so far we’ve jumped up fairly quickly. While 2019’s numbers haven’t been as high year-over-year, they seem to be relatively steady and a better than expected based on what was happening in December when sales were slow. Hopefully, we see a little more of the 2017 behavior of steady growth with interest rates looking like they will stay constant.”

Summerlin and Inspirada led the way in master plan net sales during the first quarter of 2019, according to data released by Home Builders Research. Net sales for the quarter overall were down 19 percent compared to a robust 2018 but similar to 2017.

Some 55 percent of the net sales during the first quarter were in master-planned communities. Net sales are contracts minus cancellations.

Summerlin reported 333 net sales during the first quarter, a decline of 18 percent over the 407 in the first quarter of 2018.

Coming in second was Inspirada in Henderson with 172 net sales, a 36 percent decline from the 267 in the first quarter of 2018.

Cadence in Henderson was third with 161 net sales, a 17 percent decline from 193 sales in the first quarter of 2018.

Skye Canyon was fourth with 129 net sales. That’s a 15 percent increase over the 112 sales in the first three months of 2018. Smith said higher density and lower prices helped boost sales.

The Villages of Tule Springs in North Las Vegas, which wasn’t in the top 10 a year ago, jumped to fifth with 85 net sales, a 204 percent increase after the 28 sales in the first quarter of 2018.

Tied at fifth with 85 net sales was Coronado Ranch, up 29 percent from the 66 sales in the first quarter of 2018.

Highlands Ranch was seventh with 66 sales, down from 97 in 2018.

Sedona Ranch, the former farm site in North Las Vegas, made its debut in eighth place with 56 sales in the first quarter.

Lake Las Vegas with 45, and Tuscany in Henderson with 41 wrapped up the top 10 among valley master plans. Southern Highlands and Mountain’s Edge were 11th and 12, respectively.

Drop in Mortgage Rates Could Put Market in 2005 Territory


The recent plunge in mortgage rates may help the market for home loans surge to a 14-year high, according to recent housing forecasts. In the past month, mortgage rates have posted their biggest drop in a decade, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.08 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey.

The rate decline has enticed more home buyers to enter the market, prompting mortgage demand to reach its highest level since the fall of 2016. Mortgage applications jumped 18.6 percent last week as borrowers rushed to lock in lower financing costs. Mark Watson, director of forecasting for mortgage advisory firm iEmergent, predicts $1.2 trillion in home lending this year, which would be the best year since 2005. “We think the lower mortgage rates will create a huge push, partly from millennial buyers,” Watson told HousingWire. “That is going to support strong growth in home sales over the next several years.”

iEmergent projects a 3.9 percent increase in total home loan volume this year. That’s more optimistic than other forecasters, such as Freddie Mac, which is predicting a 1.5 percent increase in total mortgage lending for 2019, and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which predicts a 1 percent gain.

But the threat of higher mortgage rates is diminishing. The Federal Reserve announced at its January meeting that due to a slowing economy, it does not plan to raise its short-term key interest rates again this year. Therefore, mortgage rates will likely stay low for a while, which will bode well for the housing market, Watson says. “The benefits of the decline in mortgage rates that we’ve seen this year will continue to unfold over the next few months due to the lag from changes in mortgage rates to market sentiment and ultimately home sales,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! March 26th 2019


According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below.

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | Keeping Current Matters

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:

“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.

Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, Contact me today so I can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!

Nevada is the 2nd fastest growing State according to Money Magazine


Contact me today to view homes 702-859-8322

1-yr. pop. growth: +2.00% (+58,785)

Current population: 3.0 million (18th smallest)

1-yr. change in median home value: 7.8% (8th highest)

Nevada’s population grew by 2% from mid-2016 to mid-2017, the largest increase of any state after Idaho. About 46,000 more people moved to Nevada than left in that period, accounting for nearly 80% of the state’s total population growth. A growing population means a growing demand for housing, and between 2016 and 2017, real estate rental and leasing was the fastest growing industry in the state by total economic output.

The growing population has also led to rising home prices. However, because Nevada was one of the states hardest hit by the housing market collapse, the state’s median home value of $258,200 remains below the pre-recession median value of $311,300. 

Greater Las Vegas Home Prices Dip in February

According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, local Las Vegas home prices dipped below $300,000 in February 2019 while fewer properties changed hands and more homes were on the market than one year ago.

GLVAR reported that the median price for existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada through its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) during February was $296,200. That's down from an even $300,000 in January, but still up 7.7 percent from $275,000 in February of 2018.

The median price of local condos and townhomes sold in February was $165,000. That was up 10.0 percent from $150,000 in February of 2018.

"Our home prices have been going up faster over the past year than almost anywhere else in the country, but they've been slowing down lately," said 2019 GLVAR President Janet Carpenter, a longtime local REALTOR®. "This is consistent with what's happening nationally. We're also following national trends with our increasing housing supply and the decreasing number of homes being sold here. Home sales and prices usually pick up in the spring and summer, although there are signs that we may see a slower spring selling season than we have during the past few years."

While she was encouraged to see mortgage interest rates remain at historically low levels, Carpenter said headwinds in the local housing market include home prices that have been rising faster than average incomes in recent years. As a result, she said many sellers have been lowering their listing prices.

In fact, some national reports have suggested that Southern Nevada led the nation with nearly 24 percent of all local home sellers cutting their asking price during the last year.

Before slowing down in recent months, local home prices had generally been rising since early 2012, inching closer to their all-time peak. According to GLVAR, the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada peaked at $315,000 in June of 2006. Local home prices hit a post-recession bottom of $118,000 in January of 2012.

At the current sales pace, Carpenter said Southern Nevada now has less than a four-month supply of homes available for sale. That's up sharply from one year ago, but still below what would normally be considered a balanced market. By the end of February, GLVAR reported 7,134 single-family homes listed for sale without any sort of offer. That's up 95.3 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,754 properties listed without offers in February represented a 158.3 percent jump from one year ago.

The total number of existing local homes, condos and townhomes sold during February was 2,508. Compared to one year ago, February sales were down 7.6 percent for homes and down 5.9 percent for condos and townhomes. 

GLVAR reported a total of 42,876 property sales in 2018, down from 45,388 in all of 2017. At this rate, Carpenter expects sales numbers to be slightly lower this year than last year.

GLVAR reported that 26.2 percent of all local properties sold in February were purchased with cash. That compares to 32.4 percent one year ago. That's well below the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent, indicating that cash buyers and investors are still active in the local housing market, but have been playing a much smaller role than they were during and just after the Great Recession.

The number of so-called distressed sales also continues to drop. GLVAR reported that short sales and foreclosures combined accounted for just 2.6 percent of all existing local property sales in February. That's down from 3.8 percent of all sales one year ago and 10.6 percent two years ago.

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of February 2019. GLVAR distributes statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or homes for sale by owners.

Other Las Vegas housing market highlights include:

  • The total value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during February was more than $689 million for homes and nearly $96 million for condos, high-rise condos and townhomes. Compared to one year ago, total sales values in February were down 3.4 percent for homes, but up 4.5 percent for condos and townhomes.
  • Homes and condos are selling at a slower pace. In February, 69.3 percent of all existing local homes and 69.7 percent of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to one year ago, when 79.8 percent of all existing local homes and 86.4 percent of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days

Top Features Home Buyers Want in 2019

According to a new survey recently released from the National Association of Home Builders, laundry rooms and energy-saving features such as Energy Star appliances, windows and whole house certification are among the most wanted home features.

NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 home buyers--those who have either recently purchased a home or plan to purchase a home within the next three years--ranking 175 features based on how essential they are to a home purchasing decision.

The top 10 features also included home-storage needs, such as garage storage and walk-in pantries, as well as hardwood flooring, a patio and exterior lighting. 

Housing trends across the board include a continued decline in the average home size and decreased demand for upscale features such as three-plus-car garages. In 2018, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average home started declined to 2,576 square feet--down from its peak at 2,689 square feet in 2015--driven in part by increased production in townhouses, which comprised 14 percent of new home starts. 

"Builders are trying to meet demand where it's hottest, and that is at the lower price points," Rose Quint, AVP of survey research at NAHB, noted regarding the increase in townhouse production. "To that end, they are building more townhomes and smaller detached homes. Townhomes take up less land, and that automatically brings the price down."

Recent trends show new homes have been downsizing since 2016; fewer have four or more bedrooms, or three or more bathrooms. These data "show that builders are trying to respond to the crisis around housing affordability," Quint added.

NAHB's survey also includes key information on types and location of homes desired by buyers, including generational differences. Suburbs are the most desirable home location (64 percent), followed by a rural setting (24 percent) and the central city (11 percent). Millennials are the most likely to want to buy a home in a central city (23 percent), compared to Gen X buyers (11 percent), baby boomers (8 percent) or seniors (3 percent).

Kitchen and Bath Trends to Watch

According to NAHB's survey, 86 percent of home buyers prefer their kitchen and dining room to be completely or partially open. Top finishes include stainless steel appliances (67 percent), granite or natural stone kitchen countertops (57 percent), and white kitchen cabinetry (32 percent).

Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, shared similar findings from its consumer research for kitchens and master bathrooms. 

"White upon white is the new style that is emerging," she stated--both for the kitchen and bathroom--in terms of cabinets and countertops, as well as gray on white.

Other rising trends include: farmhouse styles incorporating ample amounts of wood; engineered quartz countertops for color flexibility; vinyl and resilient flooring, especially for aging in place; wireless controls, and open interior and exterior spaces in the kitchen; and higher-end fixture installations in the bathroom, such as wall-mounted sinks, faucets and toilets.

Median home price climbs to $300K in Las Vegas


The median sales price for existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada in January was $300,000, according to a report released today by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

That’s up 13.2 percent from $265,000 in January 2018. It’s the first time the sales price hit $300,000 since September 2018. Before that, the median sales price hadn't surpassed the $300,000 mark since 2007.

“Just when you thought these double-digit increases might become a thing of the past, it’s interesting to see the median home price go back up again,” GLVAR President Janet Carpenter said. 

The median sales price of condos and townhomes in January was $170,000, or up 13.4 percent from last January.

The spike in sales prices is encouraging because January is traditionally one of the slow months in the Las Vegas housing market, Carpenter said.

There were 7,254 single-family homes for sale at the end of January, which is about a four-month supply of homes and up 95.1 percent from one year ago, according to the report. 

Other highlights from January’s report include:

• Cash transactions accounted for 24.9 percent of purchases. That’s significantly below the 59.5 of cash buyers in February 2013 at the height of the recession, signaling investors are still active in the market but playing a smaller role.

• Foreclosures accounted for 2.8 percent of sales in January, which is down from 4.3 percent in 2018 and 11 percent in 2017.

• The total value of transactions was $641 million for homes and nearly $89 million for condos/townhouses.

• Homes and condos are selling at a slower pace, with 72 percent of existing local homes and 71.2 percent of existing condos selling within 60 days. One year ago, 76.8 percent of homes and 83.1 percent of condos sold within 60 days.

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