Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 | 11:02 a.m.
Home sales and prices dipped in January but investors filled the void by becoming an even more dominant player in the Southern Nevada housing market.
The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors announced today that 51 percent of all homes sold in January were purchased with cash – the first time that threshold has been reached.
The percentage of cash purchases has been increasing for more than a year, and Paul Bell, the GLVAR’s president, said he’s not surprised by the new mark. No other metropolitan area in the country has as many cash buyers, he said.
“This says a lot about what’s happening in our housing market,” Bell said.
The vast majority of the cash buyers are investors who are renting out the homes, Bell said. Without investor involvement in the market, the homes would sit vacant and inventory would rise, he said.
First time homebuyers aren’t as active in the market since the expiration of a federal tax credit last spring. Bell said investors will likely keep paying cash for homes as long as lending standards remain tight, home prices remain at lower levels and inventory of bank-owned homes continues to be available.
Bank-owned homes accounted for 48.8 percent of existing home sales in January, down from 49.8 percent in December. Some 25.6 percent of sales were short sales in which the owner owes more on the mortgage than the home is worth. That’s up from 25.3 percent in December, but down from a peak of 34 percent in June.
The GLVAR reported 2,509 single-family home sales in January, down 19.5 percent from December and 3.8 percent from January 2010.
The median price of homes sold in January was $125,000, a 5.3 percent decrease from the $132,000 price in December and down 7.4 percent from January 2010.
The total price of homes sold in January was $394.1 million, down 22.8 percent from December and down 8.2 percent from January 2010.
The 702 condominium and townhome sales in January was down 20.8 percent from December but up 7.1 percent from January 2010.
The median price of those sales was $64,900, a 4.7 percent increase from December but down 5.9 percent from January 2010.
The housing inventory continues to increase.
The 22,010 single-family homes on the market is up 1.6 percent from December and up 11.5 percent in January 2010.
By the end of January, the GLVAR reported 12,468 homes were listed without any offer, up 0.4 percent from December but up 53.8 percent in January 2010.
The median listed price of those homes without offers was $136,000, 22 percent below the price in January 2010.
Homes are staying on the market longer. The GLVAR reported 55.6 percent of homes were sold within 60 days. In January 2010, 71 percent of homes were sold within 60 days.
The GLVAR tracks sales of homes on the Multiple Listing Services in Clark, Nye, Lincoln and White Pine counties.