Despite rising borrowing costs, Southern Nevada’s housing frenzy kept at it last month as buyers again paid record-high prices and homes traded quickly.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — was $460,000 in March, up 2.2 percent, or $10,000, from the previous all-time high set in February, according to a new report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors.
Last month’s median price was up 26.7 percent, or $97,000, from March of 2021.
Sales totals shot higher month-to-month but fell from year-ago levels as buyers picked up 3,272 single-family homes in March, up 30.2 percent from February but down 12.2 percent from March 2021.
Properties also sold rapidly, as 82.8 percent of the houses that traded hands last month had been on the market for 30 days or less, up from 76.8 percent of the sales in February and 74 percent in March 2021, the association reported.
The group pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service.
“We keep expecting prices to slow down at some point, but it’s not happening yet,” LVR President Brandon Roberts said in a news release, noting that local prices have now nearly quadrupled since hitting bottom in early 2012 after the mid-2000s bubble burst.
Simply Vegas agent Jillian Batchelor told the Review-Journal that demand is still “through the roof” and that she sees multiple offers on her listings.
Buyers typically need to offer about 10 percent above the asking price to get their bid accepted, she said, adding that plenty of house hunters are paying cash.
“It’s still a very strong seller’s market,” Batchelor said.
Big draw at open house
Fueled largely by cheap borrowing costs that let buyers stretch their budgets, Southern Nevada’s housing market accelerated last year. Houses sold rapidly, buyers paid above the asking price, supply was tight and fast-rising prices reached new all-time highs practically every month.
Overall, it became increasingly difficult to buy a home in the Las Vegas area, more expensive and, some said, increasingly unaffordable, even as Southern Nevada logged a record-high number of resales last year, underscoring the heated demand from buyers.
Helping feed the frenzy: The Las Vegas Valley has drawn more out-of-state buyers than usual during the pandemic, real estate pros have said, as people nationwide have been working from home and newcomers can often get a bigger place for less money here.
Batchelor’s team recently hosted an open house for a nearly $700,000 home in the northwest valley that drew 46 different sets of buyers.
Around 80 percent of them were from outside Nevada, she said.
‘No sign of that cooling down’
Analysts had expected higher mortgage rates to throw some cold water on America’s unexpected housing boom of the past year-plus, but locally and nationally, prices are still accelerating.
The average rate on a 30-year home loan last month was 4.17 percent, still historically low but up from 3.08 percent a year earlier, according to mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac.
According to Batchelor, buyers recently “took a pause” for about a week as rates went higher, but overall, a big slowdown “just didn’t happen in Vegas.”
There are still plenty of buyers, said Batchelor, who also pointed to Las Vegas’ fast-rising rents as a reason that people are still willing to purchase a place.
The typical rental rate in the Las Vegas area in February was $1,805 per month, up almost 33 percent from two years earlier, listing site Zillow recently reported.
Locally, rents climbed fourth-fastest among the 50 metro areas tracked for the report.
“There’s no sign of that cooling down, either,” Batchelor said.