Tuesday, July 7, 2020 / by Ken Couture
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — was a record $325,000 last month, up 3.2 percent from May and 6.9 percent from June 2019, according to trade association Las Vegas Realtors, or LVR.
Buyers scooped up 2,464 houses last month, up 44.7 percent from May but down 15.1 percent year over year, the association reported, showing that despite the monthly sales boost, buyer activity during the coronavirus pandemic remains below year-ago levels.
LVR reports data from its resale-heavy listing service.
There are still plenty of unknowns for Las Vegas’ housing market, including whether Nevada’s surging coronavirus caseloads will lead to another round of business closures. It’s also anyone’s guess how long it will take for Las Vegas to recoup the stratospheric job losses sparked by the outbreak.
But there have been signs that the housing market’s initial turbulence from the pandemic has eased, with the latest report showing a burst of deals last month.
“The demise of the housing market due to COVID-19 was highly overrated,” LVR President Tom Blanchard, a broker with Renters Warehouse, said in a statement. “The Las Vegas housing market is alive and well.”
The inventory of available homes is still tight, “but buyers are willing to pay more for a home here,” he added.
Las Vegas started 2020 with a burst of home sales and on strong economic footing following a long crawl back from the depths of the Great Recession. But after the pandemic hit, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos and other businesses closed in March to help contain the virus’ spread.
The valley’s financial lifeblood, the Strip, effectively shut down amid the pandemic, and job losses skyrocketed in the tourism-dependent region.
Las Vegas’ unemployment rate — 3.9 percent in February — shot up to a jaw-dropping 34 percent in April. It dipped to a still-sky-high 29 percent in May, saddling Southern Nevada with by far the highest jobless rate among major metro areas.
The pipeline of home sales shrank rapidly after the pandemic upended daily life in Las Vegas, though the market has regained momentum as locals have gone back to work.
Sisolak allowed certain businesses, including retailers, auto showrooms and nail salons, to let customers back in their stores in May, albeit at limited capacity. Casinos were allowed to reopen June 4 after more than two months on state-ordered lockdown.
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