October 10, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home sales in the Las Vegas area made a double-digit comeback in August but still couldn’t beat last year’s tally, while home prices continued to climb higher according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 4,795 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area in August. Sales were 12.0 percent higher than the 4,280 homes sold in July and were 11.4 percent lower than the 5,412 homes sold in August of 2011. Home sales for the month were the lowest since August 2010.

Home sales in the region typically increase 6.6 percent between July and August and were 6.3 percent below the average number of homes typically sold during the month. Existing home sales for the month were 19.7 percent above average but were hindered by a lack of new home sales which were about 57 percent below average.

Cash buyers accounted for 50.9 percent of the purchases in August, which was down from 53.4 percent in July and down from 52.3 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in August 2011, when 56.7 percent of the sales were for cash.

The price that cash buyers paid for their purchases in August increased to $105,000 from $104,900 in July, and was up from $84,000 in August of last year.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 48.7 percent of all homes sold in August, down from 50.9 in July. The prices they paid for their purchases increased to $110,000 from $108,000 in July and were up from $92,000 in August of 2011.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in August was $133,000, up from $128,994 in July and up from $112,500 in August of last year. It was the fifth consecutive month that year-over-year prices have improved after 21 consecutive months of declines.

August’s median price was still 57.4 percent below the peak median price of $312,000 in August 2006.

Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 21.9 percent of total re-sales, down from 25.8 percent in July, and short sales accounted for 38.2 percent of total re-sales, up from 38.1 percent the previous month. Foreclosure re-sales were at their lowest level since October 2007.

Foreclosures in the area declined from July to August with lenders foreclosing on 793 single-family homes and condos, down from 864 foreclosures in July. The highest number of loans foreclosed by lenders in a single month was in August 2011, when lenders foreclosed on 3,818 loans.

Notices of default (NoDs) increased 25.1 percent in the eleventh month following the new Nevada law that created additional requirements in order to foreclose on a property, increasing from 1,618 in July to 2,025 in August. 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