Category Archives: Real Estate Updates

Lake Las Vegas BOOM

LAS VEGAS – Lake Las Vegas is known for its beauty, million dollar homes, and as a popular staycation spot.  But it’s also had its share of setbacks, from shuttered businesses to home foreclosures and bankruptcy.

The area is on the far east side of town in Henderson.  You can see it on the way out to Lake Mead, and recently Lake Las Vegas has seen a big boom in development.

The lake is the center of attention in the area, so many developers are using it to their advantage to lure more people.  From new homeowners to out of town visitors, and their strategy appears to be working.

“It’s a pretty special place,” said Jim Andersen, executive director of Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club.

Lake Las Vegas is home to the first collegiate rowing regatta that will take place in Nevada this weekend.

Andersen coaches the Nevada State College team.  He says the lake is the perfect spot for the competition.

“This is very unique,” Andersen said.  “Normally, with rowing courses, you can see maybe the last 500 meters, but here you can stand on a hill and see the full  2000 meter course.”

“It’s just one of many ways developers are working to bring people to the lake.  Residents say they like the new vibe.

“I’ve seen a lot more people on the weekends down in the village so yes it’s picking up,” said Tawnya Palma, resident.

Developers say the growth isn’t just about visitors looking for a day of fun outside; they said they’re seeing a big demand.

In fact, six new communities are being built at Lake Las Vegas.  Each neighborhood would house about 60 homes.

“There is a need. “We’re feeling a lot of people coming this way; coming to the east side of the valley and a lot of people looking for homes on this side,” said Cody Winterton, executive vice president of Raintree development. “As we’ve added these amenities and added community we’re getting a lot of interest.”

Amenities such as the Lake Las Vegas Sports Club which opened at the start of the new year.

“When you drive in now, this is one of the first icons of Lake Las Vegas now,” Dann Battistone, the general manager of Lake Las Vegas Sports Club said about the sports club.

With more than 700 members already signed up, the sports club is something residents have been waiting to see come to life.

“In fact, I drove by this building every day thinking something is going to be great and possible that happens here and here it is happening.  It’s fantastic,” resident Dan Smithman said.

With all the changes, Smithman who has lived in Lake Las Vegas for eight years says it’s really starting to feel like home now.

“It’s just a place where we all come together as a community,” Smithman said.

Developers say one of the reasons for the growth is the direct access now from U.S. 95 off of Galleria Drive.  There’s also a new elementary school opening up nearby.

Come April 1, Proof Tavern is expected to open and it will reportedly have gaming. Prices going up in Vegas!

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Real estate agents say median home prices in southern Nevada topped $229,000 in May.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that the median sale price of existing single-family homes was up 8.5 percent, from about $211,000 a year ago.

Condominium and townhome prices were up 5.4 percent from a year ago, at a median price of $118,000 last month.

Association president Scott Beaudry says he thinks a tight housing supply is driving prices up.

The organization says almost 3,350 existing homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in May, or about the same number as in May 2015.

Beaudry says 4.5 percent of local sales in May were short-sales, for less than the value of the mortgage.

That’s down from 7.3 percent of all sales a year ago.

Vegas Real Estate Settles After Wild Ride


Las Vegas home prices went through a wild roller-coaster ride the past decade or so: they soared, crashed, shot up again, then downshifted.

Today, the ride seems almost boring. For the first time in a long time, prices are flat.

The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — by far the bulk of Las Vegas’ for-sale housing market — has hovered around $220,000 since June. Prices still are up 7.5 percent year-over-year but have been roughly the same for the past nine months, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

The stalled prices are good for buyers — who wants to pay more for a house? — and industry analysts say the trend reflects a more stable and more normal market after years of price swings and other volatility. It also comes as investors, who revived Las Vegas’ resale market after the economy tanked, continue pulling out.

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The stagnation, however, could give sellers heartburn. And considering Las Vegas is the underwater capital of America, the plateau in prices prevents homeowners from escaping upside-down status.

But Brian Gordon, a principal with Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, said it was “probably a good thing over the long run” that prices have flattened.

In a normal year, analysts say, home values grow 2 to 5 percent. After last decade’s boom and bust, resale prices for single-family homes grew 24 percent in both 2012 and 2013, 10 percent in 2014 and 6 percent last year, GLVAR data show.

Gordon said he expected price-growth to keep slowing, but he’d be “hesitant to suggest we’ll see any material downturn in prices.”

He said prices grew much faster than wages in recent years, but now they’d become “better aligned.” He also noted the economy was on “more-solid footing,” indicating a continued demand for homes.

Gordon also pointed out that housing sales no longer were dominated by distressed properties, which blanketed the valley after the bubble burst.

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In 2012, bank-owned homes comprised 26 percent of single-family resales; short sales accounted for 37 percent; and “traditional” deals, or those not controlled by lenders, comprised 36 percent.

In 2015, foreclosed homes comprised 7.7 percent of single-family resales; short sales, 7.5 percent; and traditional deals, 84.7 percent, according to the GLVAR.

“Stability really has emerged,” Gordon said.

Amid flat prices, house shoppers might have more time to save money for a down payment “without the worry of prices continuing to go up and possibly out of reach,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for San Francisco-based Trulia, a home-listing service.

This, however, can create competition for sellers. For instance, they might have to spend more money to spruce up their house to lure a buyer, McLaughlin said.

Overall, home-value growth around the country is “coming back down to Earth” and becoming “more sustainable,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist with Seattle-based listing service Zillow. But in cities like Las Vegas, he noted, the trend makes it harder for borrowers to get above water.

Some 21 percent of Las Vegas-area homeowners with mortgages are underwater, meaning their debt outweighs their home’s value, according to Zillow.

That’s down from a peak of 71 percent in early 2012 but still highest among large metro areas — reflecting how high prices soared during the bubble, how badly they crashed, and how much room they have before reaching peak levels again.

Underwater borrowers typically can only sell their homes through short sales, in which lenders approve selling the property for less than what’s owed on the mortgage. It’s a potentially time-consuming, paperwork-heavy process that can badly bruise a seller’s credit score, and there’s no guarantee a bank will approve the deal.

According to Terrazas, many underwater borrowers are unable to sell their homes. The result is a reduction in listings, especially among lower-priced houses that draw first-time buyers, he says.

Zillow called negative equity “one of the most persistent reminders” of America’s real estate bust and “a major barrier to a full recovery in certain markets.”

As Terrazas sees it, underwater borrowers will linger “for a long time,” especially in places like Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, house prices have leveled off as investors, who gobbled up cheap homes in bulk after the economy crashed, have continued backing out amid the shrunken inventory of bargains and a crowded home-rental market.

So-called institutional investors — or non-lenders who buy at least 10 homes per year — accounted for 2.2 percent of home purchases in the Las Vegas area last year. That’s down from 7.6 percent in 2014 and 14.1 percent in 2013, according to RealtyTrac.

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The result is the market must rely more on mom-and-pop buyers. If Las Vegas relied heavily on them a few years ago and didn’t have investors propping things up, the market would have stayed dormant much longer.

Foreclosures, bankruptcies and short sales swept through the valley during the recession, wrecking people’s credit and making it all but impossible for many of them to buy a house for years.

Today, Las Vegas’ economy remains at the bottom of the pack nationally in many ways. The valley’s unemployment rate, 6.5 percent, is second-highest among large metro areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and its foreclosure rate is fifth-highest among metro areas, says RealtyTrac.

But it’s on the mend — jobs are growing, mortgage lending is slowly climbing after falling for years, visitor levels hit a record-high last year — and mom-and-pop buyers appear to be picking up at least some of the slack from investors.

Moreover, people sometimes forget that home prices typically grow just a few percentage points a year, said John Restrepo, founder of Las Vegas-based RCG Economics.

The housing market is becoming “more normal,” and that’s not a bad thing, he said.

“I don’t see any major catastrophes out there at this point,” he said. “It’s just slower.”

By Eli Segall (contact) Eli Segall
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 | 2 a.m.