By Jack Woodcock
It’s that time of year again- beautiful weather, flowers blooming, and a steady rise in the number of homes on the market for sale. We are also seeing a steady increase in home prices as well. We aren’t getting the monthly increase of 2-3% as we did last year, however, we have seen as much as a 2% increase for the first four months of this year. Obviously, this is not across the board in all areas of the valley; however, it is a trend that is occurring in all parts of the valley. The slow and steady increases, the rise in traditional sales, and the increase in population are all good indicators that we are nearing a stable market.
Each time a real estate professional conducts a comparative market analysis (CMA) they are finding more traditional listings than we had the same time of year, last year. As of May 1st, there is a total of 6,297 listings available for sale without an accepted offer, of those, 859 are short sales, only 13% of listings, and only 349 are REOs a merely 5%, that is a HUGE shift in the market. A traditional sale is when a seller is making the decision to put their home on the market and either take advantage of a lower price on a home that they intend to keep for a period of time, or maybe it’s just the desire for a change in lifestyle, whereby a homeowner is possibly downsizing, desires to have a home without a pool and outside maintenance responsibility, and possibly even a condominium that allows them to be more mobile. One of the trends that we see prior to listing their house is that some people are electing to identify maintenance issues, repainting, minor upgrades themselves, or hire a property inspector that provides them with a list of suggestions to make the home more marketable. After all it is springtime, the weather is quite good, and home repair places like Home Depot and Lowes make this opportunity a little easier with the kind of specials that we see running. This is always the time of the year when many people start to plant and upgrade their landscaping. With market conditions improving, we will see better quality listing inventory.
Another positive trend we are seeing is an increase in those moving to our valley over this time last year by approximately 10%, and we expect that to continue as long as there are employment opportunities. Some of the employment opportunities are SLS on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara where they are hiring approximately 2,000 people; the LINQ project where the High Roller has already become a major tourist attraction, the Cromwell which is a complete renovation of the old Barbary Coast/Bills Gambling Hall and the new 20,000 seat stadium planned behind the New York and Monte Carlo. These are just some of the examples of the kind of increase in employment that favorably affects the housing market. These employment opportunities along with the ability to purchase a home at below replacement costsaresome of the primary reasons our sales activity is coming back to normal.
With the slow and steady increase in home prices, the decreasing amount of short sales and REOs, and the steady growth in our economy with population and job growth, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year.