Updated September 7, 2022 - 6:14 am
Southern Nevada’s once-sizzling housing market was doused with more cold water last month.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — was $450,000 in August, down 3.2 percent, or $15,000, from July, according to a new report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors.
Prices were still up 11.1 percent from a year ago. But this marked the third consecutive month that prices fell after not dropping for more than two years.
Sales are also sliding, and availability has soared.
Buyers picked up 2,002 single-family homes last month, down 3.1 percent from July and 37.6 percent from August 2021. Also, 7,997 houses were on the market without offers at the end of August, up 9.1 percent from July and 145.6 percent year-over-year, according to the association, which reports data from its listing service.
Not long ago, rock-bottom mortgage rates were fueling a buying binge in Southern Nevada and across the country, but house hunters locally and nationally have pulled back in recent months amid higher borrowing costs.
The average rate on a 30-year home loan last month was 5.22 percent, down from 5.52 percent in June but up from 2.84 percent in August 2021, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported.
Las Vegas Realtors President Brandon Roberts said in a news release that home prices are “slowly giving back some of the big gains we saw over the last few years.”
Prices have “leveled off lately” but are “still up substantially from last year,” and coupled with higher interest rates and inflation, it’s “no surprise to see some potential buyers sitting on the sidelines for now,” he added.
Buyers at least have “more homes to choose from today,” Roberts said, noting it’s been about three years since available inventory was this high in Southern Nevada.
Fueled by low borrowing costs — and by an influx of out-of-state buyers as people worked from home — Las Vegas’ housing market last year accelerated to its most frenzied pace in years.
Prices hit new all-time highs practically every month, buyers flooded properties with offers and houses sold rapidly. Amid the buying spree, builders put buyers on waiting lists, regularly raised prices and, in some cases, drew names to determine who could purchase a place.
Nationally, house hunters “who are still in the market are enjoying newfound bargaining power — a stark contrast from last year, when they often had to pull out every stop in order to win,” real estate brokerage Redfin reported last month.
According to Redfin, Las Vegas had the second-highest sales cancellation rate in the nation in July at 27.4 percent, behind only Jacksonville, Florida, at 29.3 percent.
The “less frenzied market compared to last year will feel like a breath of fresh air for those buyers who haven’t been priced out,” Nicole Bachaud, senior economist with listing site Zillow, said in a news release last month.
“It’s not yet a buyers market, but it’s becoming a better time to buy, with more time to consider options and less chance of being dragged into a bidding war,” she said.