Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | 8:34 a.m.
Las Vegas-area home prices retreated in January as measured by the influential Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices issued today.
After rising 0.2 percent on a month-to-month basis in December, prices in Las Vegas fell 0.5 percent in January, Standard & Poor's said today in its report. That compares to a monthly decline of 0.4 percent in prices among the 20 big U.S. cities analyzed monthly.
Among the 20 cities in the report, Las Vegas led year-to-year price declines with prices locally down 17.4 percent from January 2009, Standard & Poor's said. The 20-city average year-over-year decline was 0.7 percent.
The Case-Shiller numbers for Las Vegas in January compare to numbers for February issued by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
The Realtors earlier this month reported the median price of single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada was $135,694, up 0.6 percent from $134,925 in January, but down 12.8 percent from one year ago.
The median price for condos and townhomes decreased 5.8 percent, from $69,000 in January to $65,000 in February. That’s down 13.3 percent from $75,000 one year ago, the Realtors said.
Prices have fallen dramatically during the recession in Las Vegas, with the city regularly leading U.S. foreclosure rankings due to a high default rate for subprime mortgages and waves of layoffs that have lifted unemployment in Nevada to 13.2 percent.
Nationwide, the Standard & Poor's report showed mixed results, the debt rating agency said.
"While we continue to see improvements in the year-over-year data for all 20 cities, the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading. Fewer cities experienced month-to-month gains in January than in December 2009, on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis," David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's, said in a statement.
"Other recent data on housing also paint a mixed picture. Housing starts continue at extremely low levels, recent reports of home sales suggest the market remains difficult, and concerns remain about further foreclosures and a large shadow inventory of unsold homes. We are in a seasonally weak part of the year, but given the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price data reported today, we can't say we're out of the woods yet," Blitzer said in his statement.
As of January 2010, average home prices across the United States were at levels near those in the autumn of 2003.
From the peak in June/July of 2006 through the trough in April 2009, S&P's 20-City Composite Index is down 32.6 percent.
Four markets – Charlotte, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa – in January posted new index lows in the current housing cycle that peaked in 2006 and 2007 depending on the market. Las Vegas led the decline with prices off 55.8 percent from their housing-boom peak in August 2006.