-- "Las Vegas area home sales jumped to the highest level for an August in five years, the result of a relatively long month for escrows closings and robust buying by investors and first-time buyers in the sub-$150,000 market. Home prices seemed to trend sideways to downward last month, with the median sale price dropping to its lowest level in more than 16 years. In August, 5,412 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County), up 19.3% from July (4,536 homes) and up 26.4% from August 2010 (4,281 - see chart above)."
Some of the details for August sales are pretty interesting:
1. In August, a popular form of low-down-payment financing for first-time home buyers – government-insured FHA loans – accounted for 39.9% of all home purchase loans. That was down from 42.1% in July and down from 46.6% a year earlier and a peak of 55.1% in September 2008.
2. Cash buyers purchased 52.3% of the Las Vegas-area homes that sold last month. That was down from 53% in July and 48.8% a year earlier. The record was 56.7% this February. Cash purchases are where there is no corresponding purchase mortgage in the public record.
MP: That means that 92.2% of Las Vegas-area home sales were either low-down-payment FHA financed purchases or cash sales, which must mean that only 7.8% of sales were conventional purchases with 20% down payment, etc.
3. Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 57.2% of the Las Vegas resale market in August. That was down from 59.5% in July but up from 52.5% a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 73.7% of the resale market in April 2009.
4. Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 12.8% of Las Vegas-area August resales. That compares to an estimated 11.1% in July, 16.5% a year ago, and 9.2% two years ago.
5. In other words, distressed sales – the combination of sales of foreclosed homes and “short sales” – continued to dominate, representing 70% of the resale market last month.
MP: The good news is that Las Vegas home sales were the highest for the month of August since 2006, indicating an increased level of transactions and more property changing hands, but the real estate market there is certainly a long way from "normal" based on the high concentrations of FHA-financed properties, cash sales, and distressed sales.