Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | 9:46 a.m.
The price of existing homes in April in Las Vegas rose to its highest level in more than a year, according to figures released Tuesday by SalesTraq.
The median price of existing homes closed in April was $126,000, the highest median price since it was $134,000 in March 2009, the firm reported. The price is $6,000 higher than March 2010.
Prices had been expected to increase since foreclosure sales have declined in recent months. SalesTraq reported 4,323 existing home closings in April, 348 fewer than March but 3.6 percent higher than April 2009.
Of the 4,323 sales, 1,636 were foreclosure sales by banks and 335 were auctions. Routine sales by owners made up 1,383 sales and there were 969 short sales in which banks allow owners to sell homes for less than what’s owed on the mortgage.
Foreclosure sales fetched a median price of $125,000 compared to $135,000 for routine sales by the owner. Short sale homes sold for $122,000. Normally, foreclosure homes sell for less than those sold in short sales, which means banks are foreclosing on larger homes, said SalesTraq President Larry Murphy.
The price per square foot of existing homes sold in April was $81.61, a $2.09 increase over March. The price was 4 percent higher than April 2009, which suggests that larger homes closed in April than a year ago.
The federal tax credit for buyers required contracts be in place by the end of April but does not require closings until the end of June. The SalesTraq numbers won’t show the impact of the credit for another two months.
Sales numbers released earlier this month by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors showed that there wasn’t a mad rush to buy existing homes in April, but some analysts said new home sales picked up.
In the new home market, SalesTraq reported 480 closings in April, 18 fewer than March but it was 44 percent higher than April 2009. For the year, new home sales were up 11.5 percent over the first four months of 2009, according to SalesTraq.
The median price of new home closings was $204,313, which represents a 5 percent decline from April 2009.
Home construction remains tepid in the area by historic standards with builders taking out 474 permits in April, but that’s well ahead of last year’s pace. That brings the yearly total to 1,918, led by the 700 permits issued in March as builders tried to meet demand with the tax credit expiring, analysts said.
If that pace continues, nearly 6,000 permits will be issued in 2010. Only 3,776 were issued in 2009.
The one figure to watch in the April stats was the 2,146 homes foreclosed upon in the Las Vegas area. That’s about 900 more than March and 91 percent higher than April 2009. It’s the most foreclosures since there were 2,212 in June 2009.
For the year, however, the 5,244 foreclosures are behind the pace of year ago when 20,426 homes were foreclosed.