Lack of supply may be a problem
With the spring buying season underway, Las Vegas house hunters may have to spend more time scrolling through listings and visiting properties — and pay more than they hoped.
Southern Nevada’s inventory of available homes has been sliding for months amid a nationwide drop. Sales totals are still climbing, and the menu of options is not so diminished that it’s impossible to find a place, but availability has reached its lowest point since summer 2013.
A shrinking supply can be good for sellers, who can fetch higher prices amid strong demand and decreased competition. But it doesn’t bode well for buyers or for real estate agents, who have fewer properties to sell.
Roughly 11,200 single-family homes were listed for sale in Southern Nevada at the end of March, down 17 percent from a year earlier. Within that, almost 5,500 listings did not have offers, down 24 percent from a year earlier and the seventh consecutive monthly slide, according to figures from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, which pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service.
Homes worth ‘top dollar?’
Factors pushing or holding availability down include increased demand from buyers, a still-large tally of underwater borrowers who can’t easily sell, and a sizable number of rental homes that aren’t listed for sale.
Nationally, inventory has dropped in part because rising prices have made it “increasingly difficult” for homeowners to buy a place after they sell, according to Cheryl Young, a senior economist with listing service Trulia. Not only are “buyers in the hottest markets likely to be priced out,” but sellers “may be locked in to their existing homes.”
If that’s a factor in Las Vegas, it’s almost surely not as acute as in cities where home values have reached new peaks.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of Southern Nevada’s market — was $242,000 last month. That’s more than double the market’s low point but still below its peak of $315,000 in 2006, during the housing bubble, GLVAR data show.