September 13, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home sales in the Las Vegas area remained dismal again during July, with sales at the their lowest level since July of 2008, but home prices continued to improve as fewer foreclosure re-sales pushed prices higher according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 4,280 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area in July. Sales were 3.3 percent lower than the 4,423 homes sold in June and were 5.6 percent lower than the 4,535 homes sold in July of 2011. Home sales for the month were the lowest since 2008.

Home sales in the region typically decline 8.2 percent between June and July and were 11.6 percent below the average number of homes typically sold during the month.

New home sales were 21.0 percent higher than last year but were still almost 63 percent below their historical average, while existing home sales were 8.7 percent lower than in July of last year and 12.4 percent below their historical average.

Cash buyers accounted for 53.5 percent of the purchases in July, which was up from 51.4 percent in June and up from 53.0 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in July 2011, when 56.7 percent of the sales were for cash.

The price that cash buyers paid for their purchases in July increased to $104,500 from $99,000 in June, and was up from $85,243 in July of last year.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 51.0 percent of all homes sold in July, unchanged from June. The prices they paid for their purchases increased to $108,000 from $104,000 in June and were up from $93,050 in July of 2011.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in July was $128,800, up from $125,000 in June and up from $115,000 in July of last year. It was the fourth consecutive month that year-over-year prices have improved after 21 consecutive months of declines.

July’s median price was still 58.7 percent below the peak median price of $312,000 in July 2006.

Distressed property sales accounted for 43.5 percent of the re-sale market in July with foreclosure re-sales accounting for 25.8 percent of total re-sales, down from 32.6 percent in June, and short sales accounting for 17.7 percent of total re-sales, up from 16.0 percent the previous month. Foreclosure re-sales were at their lowest level since November 2007.

Foreclosures in the area declined from June to July with lenders foreclosing on 864 single-family homes and condos, up from 1,102 foreclosures in June. The highest number of loans foreclosed by lenders in a single month was a year ago in July 2011, when lenders foreclosed on 3,818 loans.

Notices of default (NoDs) increased 3.1 percent in the tenth month following the new Nevada law that created additional requirements in order to foreclose on a property, increasing from 1,568 in June to 1,618 in July. In September of last year, the month before the new law took effect, 4,507 NoDs were filed.

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