Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2024

real estate column:

Where is housing market headed? Nowhere, Realtor says

Everyone is looking for insight into where the housing market is headed — will it improve or will it worsen?

Devin Reiss, co-broker and owner of Realty 500/Reiss Corp. in Las Vegas, says the safe prediction is it will remain as it is.

Reiss, who was awarded the Nevada Association of Realtors’ Realtor of the year award for 2009, is president of the 16,500-member organization. He is a former president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

“Obviously, it is still a strong market. Properties are moving, but they are bank-owned properties that are typically under $150,000,” Reiss says. “That seems to be our market and will be as long as those properties keep coming on the market. It seems for the time being it will be more of the same until we get through that product.”

The competition for homes remains fierce with 10 to 20 offers in many cases, Reiss says. That has caused lenders to take homes off the market because there is no need for 40 to 60 offers on a property, he says.

That will stop if foreclosures start to slow, but they are on a good pace, Reiss says. Hopefully, the foreclosure mediation program started last summer will make a dent and help keep people in their homes, he says.

Investors remain active, and Reiss says he doesn’t see that changing as long as prices are so low.

The state association is down from 21,000 at the height of the market in 2006, but Reiss says interest in the profession has perked up with about 100 going through orientation every month.

Many people who left the industry when sales were scarce are returning. Also, the recession is bringing new people into the profession, he says.

“The higher the unemployment (rate), the more who want to get into the real estate industry,” he says.

Nevada foreclosures are high

California-based RealtyTrac, a firm that tracks foreclosures, reports Nevada still had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation during the third quarter with one in 23 homes having a some sort of a foreclosure filing, about six times the national average. Foreclosures during the third quarter rose 10 percent over the second quarter and were 59 percent higher than 2008’s third quarter. The number of homes repossessed rose 29 percent in the third quarter, but defaults increased by 8 percent compared with the second quarter. That may be attributed to a law that took effect July 1 that gives homeowners the option to mediate with lenders. In September 8,568 notices of default were filed statewide and overall filings rose 5 percent over August. Filings were 44 percent higher than September 2008.

In other news:

• The Commercial Alliance Las Vegas announced its 2010 board of directors. Robin Civish, who works as a senior commercial adviser at Prudential Commercial/IPG, is president; Gary Banner of Commerce CRG/Cushman & Wakefield is president-elect. Other board members are Nancy Anderson of Maverick Real Estate, treasurer; Richard Lybbert of Summit Commercial and Patricia Nooney, managing director at CB Richard Ellis, directors. Mike Hillis, managing director at Commerce CRG, will fill a vacant spot on the board. The alliance is the commercial real estate division of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

• Windermere Real Estate reported that at the beginning of October, 8,513 homes were available, of which 2,098 were owned by banks and 3,719 were short sales — or 68 percent of the inventory. As for condos and town houses, 2,474 were available, including 602 owned by banks and 1,046 short sales — or 67 percent of the market. Pending and contingent sales reached 14,770, which surpassed the available inventory. The numbers show 96 percent of all pending and contingent properties were distressed, signifying that few homeowners who do not have to sell are putting their homes on the market.

• The National Association of Home Builders has granted its local affiliate, the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, an increase in jurisdiction to include Lander, Eureka and White Pine counties. The jurisdiction previously covered Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties.

• The Commercial Alliance Las Vegas is hosting its fourth annual symposium Oct. 29 at the Gold Coast. Dr. Mark Dotzour, a national real estate instructor, will teach an accredited class on interpreting global and national economic trends and how those trends are likely to affect the industry and value of commercial real estate investments. He is the chief economist and director of research at the Real Estate Center of Texas A&M University.

Brian Wargo covers real estate and law for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at 259-4011 or at [email protected].

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