Homebuilders’ sales activity in Southern Nevada this year has surpassed that of the prior two years despite the bleak economy, a new report shows.
Builders notched more than 10,000 net sales — newly signed sales contracts minus cancellations — this year through November, topping 2019 and 2018’s full-year totals of more than 9,900 each, according to Las Vegas housing tracker Andrew Smith, president of Home Builders Research.
Based on activity so far this month, Smith wrote, he would not be surprised if builders fetched more than 11,000 net sales this year, the most since 2007.
The report underscores the surprising strength of Las Vegas’ housing market amid severe economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The public health crisis has kept people home and away from crowds for fear of getting infected, devastating tourism, Southern Nevada’s main financial engine.
The valley’s unemployment rate in October, 13.8 percent, was highest in the nation among large metro areas, federal data shows.
Las Vegas, however, has seen record home prices and rising sales activity this year. Record-low mortgage rates have provided much of the fuel by letting buyers lock in lower monthly payments and stretch their budgets.
“Heading into the final month of 2020, the housing market in Southern Nevada continues to impress and defy normal seasonal trends,” Smith wrote. “Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, low interest rates and low inventory have kept both new and resale homes moving at unprecedented levels for this time of year.”
On the resale market, the median purchase price of a single-family house hit an all-time high for the sixth consecutive month in November at $345,000, trade association Las Vegas Realtors reported.
On the construction side, development plans have ramped up. Builders pulled nearly 10,400 new-home permits this year through November, up 6.6 percent from the same 11-month period last year, according to Smith.
Builders also closed 9,345 new-home sales this year through November, down 1.8 percent from the same period last year. After a buyer signs a sales contract with a builder, it can take several months before construction of the house is finished and the sale closes.