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Las Vegas house prices set another record as sales fall from April

Las Vegas house hunters pulled back on their buying spree in May compared with the month before as prices reached yet another all-time high, a report shows.

Buyers picked up 3,189 previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of the market — in May, down 9.6 percent from April but up 87.3 percent from May 2020, after the coronavirus pandemic sparked sweeping business closures in Southern Nevada and home sales dropped sharply amid the turmoil, according to figures from trade association Las Vegas Realtors.

The median sales price for single-family homes was a record $385,000 last month, up 2.7 percent from the previous all-time high, set in April, and up 22.2 percent from May of last year.

Meanwhile, 2,031 houses were on the market without offers at the end of May, up 11.2 percent from April but down 65 percent year-over-year, according to the association, which reports data from its resale-heavy listing service.

Fueled by cheap borrowing costs, Southern Nevada’s housing market has accelerated with rapid sales and record prices. Sellers have been firmly in control as buyers shower homes with offers, often within days of being listed, and routinely pay over the asking price, multiple sources have said.

Housing markets are always prone to ups and downs, especially in Las Vegas, and it’s too early to tell whether the month-to-month changes in sales and inventory mark the beginning of a significant downshift in Southern Nevada.

But as rock-bottom mortgage rates let people stretch their budgets, plenty of Californians and other out-of-state buyers have snapped up houses in less-expensive Las Vegas during the pandemic. And as prices keep climbing, some have voiced concern that locals who earn less than the newcomers aren’t able to buy a place.

Las Vegas Realtors President Aldo Martinez said in a news release that last month’s figures benefit from being compared to a period in 2020 “when our housing market was hit especially hard by the pandemic.”

He also pointed to the possible spillover effects of Las Vegas’ record-setting home prices.

“It remains to be seen how much higher these prices can go in the coming months, since we’re reaching a point where more first-time and entry-level buyers are being priced out of the market,” he said.

Sales fell and inventory climbed month-to-month in April, too, but at a slower pace than in May.

Buyers scooped up 3,528 single-family homes in April, down 5.3 percent from March, while 1,827 houses were on the market without offers at the end of April, up 3.1 percent from March, Las Vegas Realtors reported.

Still, homes are selling at an even faster pace.

Among the houses that traded hands in May, 86.9 percent had been on the market for 30 days or less, compared with 81.5 percent of house sales in April, according to the association.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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