Home sales spike in Las Vegas area

LAS VEGAS REAL ESTATE– Southern Nevada home sales surged in March while prices remained stable, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported.

The median price of homes sold through the association’s Multiple Listing Service in March was $205,000, unchanged from February, but up 5.1 percent from one year ago. The median price of condominiums and townhomes sold last month was $115,000, up 9.5 percent from February and 13.9 percent from a year ago.

The association reported the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in March was 3,358, up 37 percent from 2,452 in February and 8.5 percent from 3,094 in March 2014.

“I’m glad to see that we’re selling more homes,” said Realtor Keith Lynam, the association’s president. “Home sales usually warm up with the weather each spring, but this is the biggest spring sales spike we’ve seen since the same time of year in 2006. Maybe our members and homeowners are taking our advice and asking more realistic prices for their homes.”

Lynam suggested “taking some caution to see if the uptick in sales becomes a trend or more of an aberration.”

The association reported that 8.3 percent of all local sales last month were short sales, which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. That’s down from 9.3 percent in February and 12.9 percent a year ago. An additional 9.3 percent of March sales were bank-owned residences, down from 9.7 percent in February and 11.7 percent last year.

Lynam said short sales could increase this year if Congress extends the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.

Some 32.4 percent of all local properties sold in March were purchased with cash. That’s down from 37.4 percent in February and 43.1 percent a year ago, the association reported. It’s also well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent, suggesting that fewer investors have been buying local homes.

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