LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet ) -- The number of homes sold in the Las Vegas region last month shot up from May but fell short of a year ago, when first-time buyers and investors had more deeply discounted foreclosures and other sub-$100,000 homes to choose from. Various home prices measures indicated little change last month, a real estate information service reported.
Foreclosure resales -- homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months -- fell to 46.4% of all resales in June, down from 49.5% in May and down from a near-record 70.0% a year ago, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. Foreclosure resales have declined each month since they peaked at 73.7% in May last year. Last month's figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales were 43.3% of the resale market in January 2008.
A total of 5,397 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) last month, up 23.1% from May but down 2.2% from a year earlier. On average, sales have increased 8.9% between May and June since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. It's likely that June's jump in escrow closings over May is at least partly the result of a burst of escrow openings back in April, given the deadline to open escrow to be eligible for the former federal home buyer tax credit was April 30. Many of those deals would have closed escrow in June, especially if they were short sales, which typically take longer to complete. Despite any boost from the tax credits, June's sales total was still the third-lowest for that month -- behind 2007 and 2008 -- since 2001. It was 1.3% higher than the average June sales tally back to 1994. The dip in sales from a year ago is partly a reflection of growing price stability and, in some areas, price gains, which have coincided with the decline in foreclosure resales over the past year. Buyers simply have fewer bargains -- especially under $100,000 - to choose from. Last month's sales of homes priced below $100,000 fell to 28.9% of all transactions, down from 30.8% in May and 32.1% a year ago. Meanwhile, sales between $100,000 and $200,000 rose to 47.6% of all deals, up from 46.4% in May and 43.9% a year ago.