The final count is still coming in, but the MLS already reports 3132 closed sales for the month of September in Las Vegas. That will easily break the July record. What’s also impressive here is that we are now getting closings where the sale took place in Las Vegas’ hot summer months as opposed to its balmy spring months. You don’t usually see sales strengthen from spring to summer.
A recent story in the RJ quoted a new research report from Credit Suisse that shows positive signs in the Las Vegas housing market:
“Buyers are back and looking for deals. Traffic levels improved during the summer…Real estate agents noted a growing sense of urgency among buyers to ‘buy while the price is low’ as inventory levels have been steady for several months and sales are starting to improve.”
Robin Camacho, a Las Vegas Realtor was quoted,
“I’m working with so many buyers, it’s unbelievable,” Camacho said. “It’s been tough getting offers accepted lately, even offers for well over list price. Right now, I’m working with at least seven or eight serious, well-qualified buyers — some strictly cash — at the same time, which is incredible, even in a good market.”
The RJ reports this morning that “Home resales for ’08 already near to matching [the entire total for] ’07.
The Las Vegas housing market is “moving along” and eating through excess inventory of foreclosures, which now account for about 80 percent of resales, a local housing analyst said Monday.
Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research reported 829 new- home sales in August and 3,051 recorded resales.
The inventory of single-family home listings dropped sharply in the first week of September and pending sales on the Multiple Listing Service have been hovering around 200 since June. The resale market continues to absorb inventory of foreclosures and short sales, or homes sold for less than the mortgage owed.
It’s also good to see how low the new-home permit level is:
New-home permits fell to 485 in August, compared with 668 in July and 802 a year ago, Larry Murphy of SalesTraq reported. Overall, permits are down 55 percent for the year at 4,216.
Now that it’s sub-500 per month, that means that the industry is only adding about 6000 homes a year in supply. That may seem like a great deal, but it’s not, especially when you consider that this number doesn’t count homes that are essentially destroyed or torn down. This doesn’t happen in the newer neighborhoods much, but teardowns are more common than one might think. Each time, for example, that an old apartment building is razed near the strip, it removes units from the supply.
The most recent trustee sale numbers for August 2008 showed that 50% of all scheduled Las Vegas foreclosure sales were either canceled or postponed before the auction.
There’s a common misperception that nearly all of the Las Vegas homes currently in the foreclosure process are owned by investors or owners with zero equity and very little incentive to keep their properties from being sold at auction.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that once a home goes into default you might as well count it as inventory because it’s going to end up back on the market eventually.
But the numbers tell a different story.
At least half of the people with homes in foreclosure are fighting to keep them, and many are having some success.
While not all of the postponed sales will escape the auction in the long run, it’s encouraging to see how many people still believe that their homes are worth keeping– even in today’s climate.
The monthly report from RealtyTrac has become a major media event, and the press duly reports the foreclosure numbers RealtyTrac produces. One came out this morning. We apparently have It’s worth perhaps pointing out that there’s an unknown but real amount of double-counting and possibly triple-counting going on. Here’s an example:
These two listings are the same unit. In addition to the same price, they have the same owner, and since I built this condominium and sold it to the owner, I know that he only purchased one.
You can’t fault RealtyTrac too much for this. It’s a very unscientific error-prone process to cull through all those County records.
But keep it in mind when you hear about big foreclosure numbers.
I’ve been meaning to write something about how Las Vegas’ jobless rates hide the increase in total jobs created, because of our population growth. If that doesn’t make much sense, read this good analysis by Las Vegas Business Press, excerpted here:
At first glance, the numbers paint a dismal picture. The Las Vegas jobless rate rose 0.3 percent, taking it to 6.8 percent….
The article goes on to point out:
In Las Vegas, employment grew by 3 percent from July 2007 to July 2008. That is, the actual number of people working rose from 905,500 to 932,800.
Statewide, the trend was similar. Nevada’s payrolls grew by 3.1 percent from July 2007 to July 2008. In raw numbers, the number of people drawing paychecks increased from 1.27 million to 1.31 million.
How is all this possible? How can unemployment numbers increase while the number of people working also increase?
It’s called in-migration, and Nevada has been among the leaders for years.
In other words, every month roughly 5,000 people move to Las Vegas, seeking a better life and a better job. Many, in fact, arrive with no job — just the hope that prospects here are better and their chance of landing work is more favorable than wherever they came from.