Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Las Vegas: It's definitely a buyer's market

Las Vegas: It's definitely a buyer's market

By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY
Real estate looks like one of the biggest gambles in Las Vegas. During the real estate boom, investors helped propel the market here — especially for condos — and pushed prices up 137% from 2000 levels.
About 60% of home buyers from January to March took out high-risk loans that give them the option of paying only the interest or even less each month, according to LoanPerformance. (Would their odds have been better at the blackjack table?) The number of condos listed for sale is up 67% from last year. And a dozen projects are under construction or have recently been completed.

"The condo market — there are your investors; that's the whole story of the market," says Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research, a data firm. At least five condo projects have been canceled in recent months. Sales of single-family homes were off 17% in May. And with a 7½-month supply, it's definitely a buyer's market. Meantime, sales of newly built homes, which make up 40% of all sales in Las Vegas, are roughly flat compared with last year, Smith says. Still, the gambling business remains strong. Last month, MGM Mirage poured the foundation on Project CityCenter, a $7.7 billion, 66-acre development with hotels, condos, retail and, of course, a casino.

The most expensive

MGM Mirage is selling this mansion on 4.7 acres on a golf course in North Las Vegas. If it fetches this price, it'll be the most expensive home ever sold there.
Price: $28 millionBedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 5 full baths, three half bathsSize: 12,041 square feetFeatures: Built-in entertainment center, wet bar, intercom system, formal living room, marble floors, jet bathtub, steam shower, walk-in closets, hot tub, swimming pool
Median-price home

This two-story house was built in 2003 on less than half an acre.
Price: $330,000Bedrooms: 3Bathrooms: 2½Size: 1,677 square feetFeatures: Two-car garage, formal dining room, foyer, walk-in closet, mirrored closet, pantry, laundry room

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