After appreciating steadily since early 2012, statistics released by the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR) show local home prices dipped slightly from March to April. 

GLVAR reported the median price of existing single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada during April was $192,000, down 1.5 percent from $195,000 in March, but still up 15.0 percent from $167,000 in April of 2013. The median price of existing condominiums and townhomes sold in April was $100,000, down 0.9 percent from $100,953 in March, but still up 17.6 percent from $85,000 one year ago. 

“We’re not surprised to see local home prices starting to level off a bit,” said GLVAR President Heidi Kasama, a longtime local REALTOR®. “The Las Vegas area has been among the national leaders in home price appreciation for the past two years. Prices have to balance out eventually.” 

Putting this into perspective, Kasama said existing local home prices are still well below their June 2006 peak of $315,000. Prices bottomed out at a median price of $118,000 in January 2012 before rising for a record 19 straight months until September 2013, then increasing more gradually since then. 

As for other trends, Kasama said so far, local home sales in 2014 are about 15 percent behind last year’s sales pace, though sales increased in March and April. And compared to one year ago, she said Southern Nevada now has more than twice as many homes available for sale without pending or contingent offers on them. 

GLVAR continued to track the transition from distressed to more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. GLVAR has been reporting fewer short sales – which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. In April, 12.4 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down from 12.9 percent in March. Another 11.4 percent of all April sales were bank-owned properties, down from 11.9 in March. 

Kasama said one of the reasons for the slide in short sales is uncertainty about whether Congress will vote this year to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 that expired Dec. 31, 2013. If Congress doesn’t extend this law and make it retroactive to Jan. 1, she said “it can create a big tax hit for anyone who did a short sale in 2014.” She said REALTORS® are pushing Congress to extend this act for at least another year. Unless Congress extends this act, as Nevada’s congressional delegation has proposed, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a 

home as part of a short sale starting in 2014 may become taxable when sellers file their income taxes.

The total number of single-family homes listed for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service in April was 13,833. That’s down 0.8 percent from 13,944 in March and down 0.3 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 3,697 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in April, down 0.1 percent from 3,701 listed in March, but up 6.1 percent from one year ago. 

By the end of April, GLVAR reported 6,420 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s down 0.8 percent from 6,470 such homes listed in March, but a 103.1 percent jump from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 2,264 properties listed without offers in April represented a 1.4 percent decrease from 2,295 such properties listed in March, but a 79.5 percent increase from one year ago. 

According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in April was 3,215, up from 3,094 in March, but down from 3,789 one year ago. 

GLVAR said 41.4 percent of all existing local homes sold in April were purchased with cash. That’s down from 43.1 percent in March, and well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent. 

The median price of bank-owned homes sold in April was $159,000, down from $165,900 in March. The median price of homes sold as part of a short sale in April was $165,000, up from $164,500 in March. 

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of April 2014. GLVAR distributes such statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners.

Other highlights include:

  • The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during April increased by 3.1 percent for homes to more than $607 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all April sales was nearly $83 million, up 8.2 percent from March. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in April were down 5.0 percent for homes and down 16.5 percent for condos and townhomes.
  • In April, 67.1 percent of all existing local homes and 63.9 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to March, when 62.8 percent of all existing local homes and 59.0 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.