Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Median prices edge up in valley Realtors survey By HUBBLE SMITH REVIEW-JOURNAL

Median prices edge up in valley Realtors survey

Michael Colagioia, who wants to move to Southern Nevada from Florida, was hoping to read more stories about the flattening real estate market in Las Vegas, about median home prices continuing to decline.Those days may have already come and gone. Any ground lost in January and February was quickly recovered in March, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported.The median price for 2,521 homes sold during the month was $314,950, up 1.9 percent from February and up 6.8 percent from the same month a year ago."I said not to get excited one way or another," association President Linda Rheinberger said Thursday, "and now the return to normalcy has come true. We're about stabilized if we look at the first quarter."Prices had dropped for two straight months from $312,000 in December to $309,000 in February, leading some to believe the "bubble" was starting to pop in Las Vegas.Stephen East, a housing analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group in St. Louis, said he recently toured Las Vegas and found that many of his observations echoed what he saw and heard in November -- that Las Vegas is in the midst of a return to normal conditions.The market appears more divergent with areas that are distinctly hot and others that he characterized as difficult."Overall, we continue to see a solid housing market in Las Vegas thanks to a robust economy that is creating jobs and attracting significant in-migration," East said, "but we have a higher level of caution now versus five months ago, given elevated incentives and cancellations, combined with further signs of inconsistency in pricing power."Colagioia of Florida said he put his house up for sale, but the market is slow there and not many people have looked at the house. He and his wife have decided that their careers in Florida are going nowhere and they like the opportunity for growth in Las Vegas."She's very excited about a fresh start here," he said via e-mail. "We both are. We found central Florida to be very boring."Rheinberger of the Realtors' association said she'd be surprised if Las Vegas doesn't reach the projected 5 percent to 10 percent appreciation in prices by the end of the year.The number of homes available for sale on the Multiple Listing Service grew 21.8 percent from a year ago to 17,385, association statistics show. Nearly 44 percent of homes sold within 30 days on the market, compared with 38.2 percent in February and 42.9 percent in March 2005.Total dollar volume for March home sales was $957.8 million, down 13.5 percent from a year ago.Statistics from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors are based on records from the Multiple Listing Service and do not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or transactions not involving a Realtor.LAS VEGAS HOUSING STATISTICS March 2006February 2006March 2005Homes sold2,5211,7873,121Median price$314,950$309,000$295,000Available listings17,38517,67514,277
SOURCE: Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors