June 1, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home sales were a bad bet in Las Vegas during April as purchases of new and existing single-family homes and condominiums fell by over twice as much as their historical norm for the month according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 4,409 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area in April. Sales were 12.2 percent lower than the 5,020 homes sold in March and were 1.8 percent lower than in 4,490 homes sold in April of 2011. It was the first decline in year-over-year home sales in eleven months.

Home sales in the region typically decline 5.0 percent between March and April and were 4.9 percent below the average number of homes typically sold during the month.

New home sales were 24.6 percent higher than last year and were at their highest level for the month since 2008 while existing home sales were 11.9 percent lower than in April of last year and the were at their lowest since 2008.

Cash buyers accounted for 53.5 percent of the purchases in April, which was down from 54.4 percent in March and down from 54.0 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in April 2011, when 56.7 percent of the sales were for cash.

The price that cash buyers paid for a home in April increased to $90,000 from $87,000 in March but up from the same amount in April of last year.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 50.6 percent of all homes sold in April, down from a record 51.2 percent in March. The prices they paid for their purchases increased to $97,450 from $95,000 in March but were down from $99,900 in April of 2011.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in April was $119,900, up from $115,000 in March and up from $117,000 in April of last year. It was the first time in 22 months that year-over-year home prices have increased.

April’s median price is 61.6 percent below the peak median price of $312,000 in April 2006.

Distressed property sales accounted for 58.6 percent of the re-sale market in April with foreclosure re-sales accounting for 44.0 percent of total re-sales, down from 49.0 percent in March, and short sales accounting for 14.6 percent of total re-sales, up from 13.6 percent the previous month.

Foreclosures fell again from March to April with lenders foreclosing on 1,237 single-family homes and condos, down from 1,395 foreclosures in March. The highest number of loans foreclosed by lenders in a single month was in May 2011, when lenders foreclosed on 3,818 loans.

Notices of default (NoDs) declined 6.3 percent in the seventh month following the new Nevada law that created additional requirements in order to foreclose on a property, falling from 1,262 in March to1,182 in April. In September, the month before the new law took effect, 4,507 NoDs were filed.

Tags: existing home sales, Las Vegas, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price