October 27, 2011 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in Las Vegas declined as expected from August to September but remained above year ago levels for the third consecutive month according to the latest data released from DataQuick.

A total of 4,690 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area in September. Sales were 13.3 percent lower than the 5,412 homes sold in August but were 9.7 percent higher than September of 2010. Home sales in the region typically decline 7.7 percent between August and September.

September’s home sales marked the third consecutive month that transactions in the Las Vegas area have increased year-over-year. Last month’s sales total was only 1.0 percent lower than the area’s historical average for September.

New home sales continued to be weak with September’s tally the third lowest total since 1994 with new home sales only achieving lower results in 2010 and 2009.

Cash buyers accounted for 51.2 percent of the purchases in September, which was down from 52.3 percent in August and up from 48.9 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 September declined to $83,000 from $84,000 in August and down from $100,000 in September 2010.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 45.2 percent of all homes sold in September, down from 47.1 percent in August. The prices they paid were less than the previous month with the median price paid in September being $90,000, down from $92,000 in August and down from $110,000 in September of 2010.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in September was $115,000, up 2.2 percent from $112,500 in August, but down from $130,000 in September of last year. Cash buyers and investors continued to scoop up lower priced homes as 41.4 percent of the homes sold during the month were under $100,000 and 66.9 percent of all home sales were under $150,000.

September’s median price is 63.1 percent below the peak median price of $312,000 in November 2006.

Distressed property sales accounted for 69.6 percent of the resale market in September as foreclosure re-sales accounted for 56.3 percent of total re-sales, down from 57.2 percent in August, and short sales accounted for 13.3 percent of total re-sales, up from 12.8 percent the previous month.

Foreclosures continued to decline in September with lenders foreclosing on 2,027 single-family homes and condos, down from 2,477 foreclosures in August, but that is expected to rise in the future as 4,739 notices of default were issued in September, the second highest ever behind the previous month of August. 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