May housing numbers for Southern Nevada are mostly positive. Not too long ago all the key indicators were heading in the wrong direction, but that trend seems to be now history. Recent history for sure, but history anyway. The one truly worrisome category that keeps churning out high figures is the foreclosure filings and it may unfortunately stay that way for a while longer.
On the positive front, as reported by local research shops SalesTraq and Home Builders Research, resales grew 5.2% in May as compared to a year ago, totaling 2,606 homes sold. Bank foreclosures played a large role in this as lenders have slashed prices to unload properties they don't want to keep in their books. Attractive pricing has certainly nudged home buyers and investors off the fence where they've been sitting for the last couple of years. Median values have slumped over 20% from the high of $290,000 in October of 2006. As sales improve, it could also mean that further price declines are unlikely.
Roughly a half of all resales in May were foreclosures and sold for a median price of $215,000. On the other hand, non-foreclosure resales commanded a $239,000 price tag and new homes' median reached up to $269,990. Obviously the bank REOs, real estate owned, are very good value today and tend to drag down prices in the other two categories.
The gap between the REOs and new homes is especially wide and that has actually had a definite negative impact on the new-home sector. It has sold between 800 to 1,000 units a month for a while now when it used rack up figures double that just a year or two ago. Somebody might ask that why are they even building any new homes in this troublesome market. Bring it to a trickle, clear out the existing inventory and then start again with a nice built-up demand knocking on the sales offices' doors.
Anyhow, housing recovery is slowly gathering steam here in Las Vegas, but it'll have a rather long road ahead to real and sustainable health. The current tighter mortgage guidelines are complicating matters more than they should, as is the currently weak economy. With that said, there nevertheless is well-deserved optimism in the air.