The holiday season is upon us although this year it might be more subdued than in a long while due to the overall weakness in the national economy. The mortgage and housing markets have taken unprecedented punishment in most parts of the country that requires extraordinary efforts and just plain old time to turn around. Las Vegas real estate, for its share, has paid dearly for past excesses but has lately shown some flickers of hope that perhaps a tentative recovery may be forming.
November stats from Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, or GLVAR, back up the cautiously upbeat sentiment. There were 2,183 single-family house closings last month that is well over double the number for the same month in 2007. True, it's a small drop from October that really is a normal development as the slower-paced winter season sets in. For several months now resales in Southern Nevada have been significantly better than comparable figures a year ago, an entirely positive sign.
The inventory is down slightly in November from a year ago, to 22,700. It appears to be a major hurdle to bring it down below 22,000 listings, a level that once breached might signify better times ahead. The improved sales are mostly fueled by bargain-priced bank-owned homes but the temporary void is quickly filled with more foreclosures that continue to dog the Las Vegas housing market.
The median home price is still slowly drifting lower, this time settling at $186,000 that is a somber decline of 32% from 2007. Opportunistic foreclosure pricing by lenders puts a lot of downward pressure on it to the detriment of valley homeowners. What obviously is needed to arrest it is to slow down the foreclosures that may be a few months away.