Las Vegas home prices

I haven’t posted on Las Vegas in a long time. A lot less is being written about the Las Vegas housing market. A lot was written during the run up in prices. Then a year ago, all the talk was about a possible downturn. Now that the direction is clear, journalists have lost enthusiasm for the story. It seems journalists are attracted to turning points, the tops and bottoms, and “Things are still bad” stories don’t attract them.

The median price of homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service (which are primarily resale homes) fell to $295,000 in July, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

That’s a 3.3 percent drop from June and 6.3 percent below the all-time high of $315,000 in June 2006.

The price drop occurred as the inventory of homes listed for sale continued to set records in July with a combined 30,000 single-family homes, condos and town homes on the market. Not only were new listings up 2.5 percent for single-family homes, but sales of homes listed on the service fell nearly 11 percent from June to 1,318.

That’s 34 percent below sales totals a year ago.

Las Vegas has 14 to 16 months of inventory. Metro Phoenix is at about 11 to 12 months of inventory of homes for sale.

Between 2002 and 2006, the median price of resale homes rose nearly 97 percent from $145,000 to $285,000 last year, according to SalesTraq, a local housing tracking firm. The biggest jump was 40 percent in 2004 and the appreciation slowed to 3.6 percent in 2006.

Arizona’s boom was a year behind Las Vegas. The biggest increase in Arizona was in 2005. The median price in Greater Phoenix in July was $265,000 or $20,000 less than in Vegas.

SalesTraq President Larry Murphy, who doesn’t expect Las Vegas to see home prices begin moving up until 2010 at the earliest