What’s my home worth?
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Las Vegas Home Values
Everyone would like to buy at the bottom of the market, after all those that do will see the most capital appreciation. So are we at the bottom of Las Vegas real estate pricing? That’s impossible to answer, and the wrong question to ask. As with stocks, the smart investors buy on the way up, not by speculating on whether we are at the bottom. The better question to consider is whether the market is showing any signs of stabilizing, and whether Las Vegas home values are moving back up.
If you asked that question in early 2010, you would have seen stable pricing for the prior year, and even signs of slight uptick in the summer. Many investors thought they were coming at the bottom at that time, only to find that prices declined yet further in 2011. There is a downwards trend line that started in 2007 and continues today. But there is clearly a deceleration in the decline, with the 2009-2011 rate of decline nothing like the 2007-2009 freefall.
So are the investors that bought in 2010 disappointed? Well if they bought right they have enjoyed an 8%+ net annual yield from the rental income on their property and will continue to do so year after year until they decide to sell. If they bought with a medium or long term view then they are likely comfortable to hold during this period of slow deceleration and wait for the market to improve. Buyers today with a similar mindset and time horizon have a greater chance of meeting their goals than those buying in the expectation of a rapid increase, after all the fundamental driver of Las Vegas real estate value, the local economy, remains weak.
One interesting statistic of the 2011 year of decline is that more existing local homes were sold than during any other year on record. In total 48,186 local properties were sold in 2011, including 38,153 single-family homes and 10,033 condominiums and townhomes. If demand remains at its current high levels, or increases, then the market will eventually work through its distressed inventory, at which point upwards price pressure would have a surer footing.
Through December, 58.3 percent of all homes and 63.7 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to November, when 58.7 percent of all homes and 65.9 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. This pace of sales, along with the volume is a positive sign that the market has the capacity to work through its foreclosure inventory.
There are plenty of reasons not to be excited about prospects for the Las Vegas home values:
- Two-thirds of homeowners with a mortgage are underwater, and there could be as many as 100,000 additional homes foreclosed on in the next few years.
- There were only 3,894 new build homes sold 2011 to 3,894, compared to 39,000 in 2005.
- 75% of all sales in the current market are either foreclosures or short sales. Some estimate that one third of all Las Vegas real estate will have been foreclosed by the time we are through the crisis.
- The median price of single-family homes sold as part of a short sale in December 2011 was $125,000, down from $129,900 in November. More short sales would be an upwards pressure on average prices, however, 26.6 percent of all existing local homes sold during December were short sales. That’s down slightly from 26.8 percent in November, and down from a peak of 34 percent set in June 2010.
- Bank-owned homes were 6% of all existing home sales in December 2011, matching the percentage in November. The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported that the median price of bank-owned single-family homes sold in December was $104,900, down from $107,640 in November.
Now ask yourself, has the market stabilized?
Now ask yourself, where else can I get an annual return of 8%+ on my investments? The answer to that question is what is enabling the Las Vegas market to correct itself, with over 50% of all residential acquisitions being snapped up by yield-driven investors. How long it will take to stabilize, and what price trends we may see at that time will be driven by a number of factors, including the health of the broader US economy.