Forecasts of any activity are hard to be accurate about. That's why they are forecasts. Las Vegas Housing Outlook 2009 had attracted the cream of local real estate gurus to discuss the state of the market from here on out. The general feeling among those who stood at the podium and spoke into the microphone was that the road is going to be rocky for a few more years. Whether it has huge boulders on it or is merely covered with fist-sized rocks wasn't specified.
One thing is clear that Southern Nevada is now part of the national economic rhythm and has been dragged screaming and kicking into a nasty downturn because of it. This recession is of course a little more than the garden variety of years past that normally spared Vegas from their effects. In a way it's a good wake-up call for the city.
The forum brought up a few items that give rise to realistic optimism. The median resale home prices are going to drop only about 3% in 2009, a significant improvement from the 34.8% dive they took last year, so predicted by Home Builder Research. The average price then should settle at $158,000, a level they were early in the decade. This will make Las Vegas housing again very affordable and will likely encourage additional in-migration, especially when the national economy improves and pulls the local resort sector up with it that then adds jobs. This all spells demand, the word everyone is looking for today.
Along the same line, new home values will decline just 1.7% to $240,000 in 2009. The wide gap between that and the resale price will clearly put the segment in a tough spot to move inventory.
The existing home sector provides more good news. Or actually predictions. There were 24,838 sales in 2007, then the number grew to 30,491 last year, a noteworthy jump, and for 2009 Home Builders Research estimates 32,000 closings. In comparison, new home sales were only 8,994 in 2008 and will do a meager 6,500 this year, as is predicted. For the next few years observably resales will keep the housing market moving here and eventually will lead it out of the slump, too.