Local home prices continued to rise as the year came to an end, though fewer existing homes were sold in Southern Nevada during 2019 compared to the previous year. So says a report released Tuesday by the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR).

GLVAR reported that the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada through its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) during December was $312,990. That was up 6.0% from $295,250 in December of 2018. Meanwhile, the median price of local condos and townhomes sold in December was $178,000. That was up 8.9% from $163,500 in December of 2018.

“As we begin a new year and new decade, I think you can sum up the state of the local housing market with two words: stable and sustainable,” said 2020 GLVAR President Tom Blanchard, a longtime local REALTORS®  whose one-year term leading the association began on Jan. 1. “We ended the year with a fairly strong month of December, which is usually one of our slowest months. Although sales and prices both increased last month, we still sold fewer homes in 2019 than we did in past years. I think the tight local housing supply we’ve been dealing with had something to do with that.”

According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condos, townhomes and other residential properties sold in Southern Nevada during 2019 was 41,269. That’s down from 42,876 total sales in 2018 and from 45,388 in 2017.

The total number of existing local homes, condos and townhomes sold during December was 3,214. Compared to one year ago, December sales were up 21.8% for homes and up 17.2% for condos and townhomes.

 By all indications, Blanchard said “the local housing market in 2020 figures to look a lot like it did last year,” with gradually increasing or stable home prices, strong demand for housing and a persistently tight supply. As long as Southern Nevada continues to enjoy economic, job and population growth, he expects the housing market to continue on its current course.

That’s a dramatic departure from the real estate roller-coaster ride of the previous decade, he added. Before slowing down last year, local home prices had been soaring since early 2012, posting double-digit gains from year to year while climbing back from their post-recession bottom. According to GLVAR, the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada peaked at $315,000 in June of 2006 before falling during the recession. Local home prices hit a post-recession bottom of $118,000 in January of 2012.

 The local housing inventory ended the year well below the six-month supply that is considered to be a more balanced market. At the current sales pace, Blanchard said Southern Nevada has just over a two-month supply of homes available for sale, with the supply shrinking from past months.

 By the end of December, GLVAR reported 5,538 single-family homes listed for sale without any sort of offer. That’s down 16.3% from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,555 properties listed without offers in December represented a 1.8% increase from one year ago.

GLVAR reported that 21.8% of all local properties sold in December were purchased with cash. That compares to 22.7% one year ago. That’s well below the February 2013 peak of 59.5%, indicating that cash buyers and investors are still active in the local housing market, but are playing a much smaller role than they were during and just after the recession.

 At the same time, the number of so-called distressed sales remains near historically low levels. GLVAR reported that short sales and foreclosures combined accounted for 1.8% of all existing local property sales in December. That compares to 2.9% of all sales one year ago, 3.6% two years ago and 11% three years ago.

 These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of December 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 highlights include:

  • The total value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during December was more than $964 million for homes and more than $116 million for condos, high-rise condos and townhomes. Compared to one year ago, total sales values in December were up 30.5% for homes and up 27.5% for condos and townhomes.
  • Homes and condos are selling at a slower pace than last year at this time. In December, 71.5% of all existing local homes and 70.2% of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to one year ago, when 79.9% of all existing local homes and 78.3% of all existing local condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.