August 19, 2011 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in Las Vegas declined in July but were above levels from a year ago as distressed property sales increased to 70 percent of all purchases according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 4,535 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area in July. Sales were 13.8 percent lower than June, but were 5.2 percent higher than July of 2010. Home sales in the region typically decline 8.4 percent between June and July.

New home sales continued to be a drag on the overall monthly sales totals as new home sales for the month were the third-lowest on record for a July.

Cash buyers were responsible for 53.0 percent of the purchases in July, which was up from 50.3 percent in June and up from 48.2 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in February 2011, when 56.7 percent of the sales were for cash.

The price that cash buyers paid for a home in July increased to $85,243 from $83,000 in June and down from $108,000 in July 2010.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 46.5 percent of all homes sold in July. The prices they paid were less than previous months with the median price paid in July being $93,050, which was down from $94,000 in June and down from $115,000 in July of 2010.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in July was $115,000, which was unchanged from June, and down from $129,900 in July of last year. Cash buyers and investors accounted for 41.9 percent of the sales for homes under $100,000. A year ago, they accounted for 32.1 percent of those same sales.

The current median price is at its lowest level since October of 1995 when the median home price was $113,000, and it’s 63.1 percent below the peak median price of $312,000 in November 2006.

Distressed sales represented 70.6 percent of the resale market in July as foreclosures accounted for 59.5 percent of the distressed sales and short sales accounted for 11.1 percent of the distressed sales.

Foreclosures continued at a high rate in July with lenders foreclosing on 3,161 single-family homes and condos, down from 3,673 foreclosures in June. The highest number of loans foreclosed by lenders was in May 2011 when lenders foreclosed on 3,818 loans.

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