MDA DataQuick.

Las Vegas region home sales posted their sixth consecutive year-over-year gain last month as distressed properties continued to rule the market. With so many sales involving foreclosures the median sale price slipped to $150,000 - the lowest since spring 2001, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 3,317 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) last month, up 6.1% from January and up 28.2% from a year ago, according to MDA DataQuick. The San Diego-based firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

February marked the 11th consecutive month in which sales of existing single-family detached houses rose on a year-over-year basis, while resale condos have seen an annual sales gain for eight straight months. Total home sales have been held down by the sharp decline in new-home sales, which have fallen on a year-over-year basis for 32 consecutive months.

The 322 new detached houses and condos sold in February was the second-lowest monthly new-home total on record low for any month in DataQuick's complete Las Vegas statistics, which go back to 1994. The lowest month for new-home closings was January 2009, when 249 sold.

The median price paid for all homes sold in the Las Vegas metro area fell to $150,000, down 5.7% from $159,000 in January and down 40.0% from $250,000 a year ago. Last month's 40.0% annual drop is a record for any month in DataQuick's Las Vegas statistics.

The overall median sale price has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 22 consecutive months and in February stood 51.9% below the region's peak $312,000 median in November 2006. Last month's median was the lowest since it was $148,000 in May 2001.

Another gauge analysts watch indicates similar price erosion since the peak: The median paid per square foot for resale detached houses fell to $86 in February, down 34.8% from a year ago and down 54.8% from the $190 peak reached in June 2006.

Across the West, year-over-year declines in the median sale price - the point where half of the homes sold for more and half for less - have generally overstated the extent to which the value of the typical home has fallen.

It's because the median is also being tugged lower by shifts in the types of homes selling, and where they're selling best. For example, more of today's sales involve foreclosures, which tend to sell at a discount and be concentrated in more affordable areas.

Also, the August 2007 credit crunch made larger "jumbo" mortgages more expensive and harder to obtain, which has led to sluggish sales - in some cases the lowest in many years - in higher-priced communities. (A drop in high-end sales can pull down the median.)

About 71.0% of the Las Vegas-area houses and condos that resold in February had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months, MDA DataQuick reported.

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