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Las Vegas’ housing market sees burst of sales at year’s end

Updated January 7, 2020 - 3:38 pm

Las Vegas’ housing market ended 2019 with a burst of sales and with prices just below their bubble-era peak.

But in a year marked by a broad cool-down, fewer homes traded hands in 2019 than the year before, a new report shows.

The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes ­— the bulk of Southern Nevada’s market ­— was $312,990 in December, up 2 percent from November and 6 percent from December 2018, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

A total of 2,609 houses sold last month, up 8.4 percent from November and 21.8 percent from December 2018.

Meanwhile, after the tally of available listings rose through much of 2019, underscoring the market’s slowdown, the year ended with a sharp drop in inventory.

At the end of December, 5,538 single-family homes were on the market without offers, down 15.2 percent from November and 16.3 percent year-over-year, according to the GLVAR.

The trade group reports data from its listing service, which largely comprises previously owned homes.

All told, Las Vegas’ housing market ended 2019 with a boost in activity after a year of slower price growth, fewer sales by homebuilders and increased availability on the resale market.

Things cooled off after a heated stretch sparked affordability concerns — in a market, no less, that likes to tout its relatively low prices, especially compared with neighboring California.

Last year, 41,269 previously owned homes were sold in Southern Nevada, down about 4 percent from 2018, the GLVAR reported.

The association’s president this year, Renters Warehouse broker Tom Blanchard, said in a statement that 2019 ended with a “fairly strong” December, which is “usually one of our slowest months.”

He said the market this year should closely resemble its performance in 2019 with gradually rising or stable prices, strong demand and tight supply, according to the GLVAR.

Las Vegas also looks poised in coming months, barring a drop or stall in prices, to break its pre-recession price record — a peak reached more than 13 years ago, underscoring just how high the market soared during the wild mid-2000s bubble, how badly it crashed when the bubble burst, and how long the road to recovery has been.

Before the recession, the median sales price of previously owned houses topped out in June 2006 at $315,000, according to the GLVAR. Still, the current gap of just $2,010 is wider than it appears.

Adjusting for inflation, the peak price was above $399,300 in today’s dollars.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

Note: This story has been corrected to provide Tom Blanchard’s current position with Renters Warehouse.

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