LAS VEGAS ( DQNews.com) -- Las Vegas-area September home sales dipped from August, as they normally do, but climbed above the year-ago level as this year's lower prices and ultra-low mortgage rates continued to attract a steady stream of investors and first-time buyers. The region's median sale price rose modestly from August but remained 11.5% lower than a year earlier and 63% below its late-2006 peak, a real estate information service reported. In September, 4,690 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County). That was down 13.3% from August but up 9.7% from September 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
A decline in sales from August to September is normal for the season, in part because many families try to close escrow and move before school starts in late summer. On average, the region's sales have fallen 7.7% between August and September since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. The larger-than-usual dip in sales between August and September this year largely reflects a relatively high number of business days -- 23 -- for transactions to close in August, compared with 21 in September. The 9.7% sales gain last month compared with September 2010 marked the third consecutive month in which total Las Vegas-area sales have risen year-over-year. Last month's sales total was 1.0% lower than the average number of homes sold in September since 1994. But total sales were only below average because new-home sales remained far below normal. Though last month's sales of newly built houses and condos combined rose 14.7% from a year ago, it was still the third-lowest new-home tally for a September since 1994 (only last year and 2009 were lower). It was different in the resale market, where sales of houses and condos combined rose 36.1% above average for a September and were the highest for that month since 2009. The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Las Vegas metro area last month was $115,000, up 2.2% from August but down 11.5% from $130,000 a year earlier. It was the 12th consecutive month in which the median fell year-over-year.