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Sin City's housing woes deepened in October

November 23, 2010 |  1:30 pm


There appears to be no end in sight for Sin City's housing woes.

With a moribund economy, an anemic job market and the absence of a boost from the buyers' federal tax credit that had been driving sales earlier this year, the median price for a home in the Las Vegas metro area sank sharply in October to hit its lowest level in more than 12 years, according to San Diego real estate research firm MDA DataQuick.

The median price paid for all homes, including condominiums, was $125,000 in October. That is 60% off the November 2006 peak.

Sales also plummeted in the Vegas metro area in October, with only 3,961 residential properties closing escrow, a 7.4% drop from September and a 21.8% decline from October 2009. That was the worst performance for an October since 2007, when the credit crisis and subprime mortgage meltdown slammed sales nationally.

New home sales were hit particularly hard, falling 23.7% from September and 26.2% from October 2009 to hit a record low.

Sales of foreclosed properties rose to 53.3% of the Las Vegas resale market, up from 51.1% in September but down from 66.8% in October 2009. Foreclosure resales peaked at 73.7% in April 2009.

Investors continued to constitute a big part of the buying last month. Absentee buyers purchased 43.6% of all Las Vegas-area homes sold in October, up from 43.1% in September and 41.3% in October 2009. DataQuick defines absentee buyers as such: "Absentee buyers are often investors, but can include second-home buyers and others who, for various reasons, indicate at the time of sale that the property tax bill will go to a different address."

Another gauge of investor activity, buyers who appeared to use cash to purchase properties, accounted for 51.5% of all October sales, up from 49.1% percent in September and 47.1% in October 2009.

-- Alejandro Lazo

Photo: Foreclosed homes made up more than half the market for previously owned properties in Las Vegas last month. A foreclosure sign is seen in front of a bank-owned property there earlier this month.

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)