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Las Vegas Homes Draw Absentee, Cash Buyers

LAS VEGAS (DQNews) -- Home sales rose more than usual in the Las Vegas region last month compared with May but fell short of a year earlier amid exceptionally weak new-home sales. The median price paid for a home dropped from both May and a year earlier as foreclosure resales and sub-$100,000 transactions accounted for a higher portion of all transactions, a real estate information service reported.

In June, 5,262 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County), up 15.1% from May but down 5.1% from June 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

On average, the region's sales have risen 9.5% between May and June since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. June's sales total fell 1.3% short of the average number of homes sold in June, but only because new-home sales were so low -- the second-lowest on record for a June. The resale market performed relatively well last month: Resales of houses and condos rose 14.4% from May and 2.2% from June 2010, when outgoing federal homebuyer tax credits gave the market a final boost. Last month's resales were 35.7% above average for the month of June.

Resale activity has risen year-over-year for six consecutive months, lifted by robust investor and cash-only purchases, including by many out-of-state buyers.

In June, 50.6% of the Las Vegas-area homes sold were purchased by cash buyers. That was down from 53.0% in May and a record 56.7% in February, but it was up from 41.9% a year earlier. Cash purchases are where there is no corresponding purchase mortgage in the public record.

Cash buyers in June paid a median $83,000 for a home in the Las Vegas area, down from $89,000 in May and $106,000 a year earlier.

Absentee buyers - mainly investors and vacation-home buyers - purchased 45.9% of all homes sold in June, down from 46.2% in May and a record 49.9% in March this year, but up from 37.5% a year ago. Absentee buyers paid a median $94,000 in June, down from $98,000 in May and $115,000 a year earlier. Absentee buyers are those who indicate at the time of sale that the property tax bill will go to a different address.

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