Las Vegas home prices hit record despite coronavirus crisis

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Bucking the fears of industry experts about how the coronavirus would impact the housing market, median home prices in the Las Vegas Valley set an all-time high in March.

The COVID-19 pandemic sent the housing market into a period of uncertainty, with some expecting prices to drop. Instead, the valley improved upon its record-setting mark to post a median home price of $319,000 in March, according to a report released this morning by Las Vegas Realtors, formerly known as the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

That's a $3,000 increase from the previous high-water mark set in February. It's also a 6.3% increase from March of last year, when the price was $300,000.

"It just shows how good of a March we had working for us before this really hit," said Tom Blanchard, local agent and president of Las Vegas Realtors. "I'm assuming the median price range would have gone up even more (if not for the pandemic)."

Blanchard was pessimistic last week speaking to the Las Vegas Sun in saying he didn't expect the March numbers to be as high as February's. Before the virus hit, he saw a housing market on a skyward trajectory of breaking records each month. He worried it would cause a downturn in prices.

Instead, the number of home sales continued to rise with the prices. According to Las Vegas Realtors, the number of local homes, condos and townhomes sold in March was 3,472, a 5.2% increase from March of last year on homes and up 11.7% for condos and townhomes. That included 2,542 escrow cancelations, nearly double the figure from March 2019.

Even factoring in that March has more days than February, March was a better month for home-buying, selling nearly five more homes per day.

Before February, the all-time high for median home prices was set in June of 2006. February was a long-awaited day for Las Vegas Realtors, as prices had been on a steady uptick for years.

Not all the news is rosy. The amount of homes available in the valley remains low as demand outpaces supply. There is about a two-month supply of homes for sale, where a six-month supply is considered a balanced market. Home-buying process is also a long one, and many sales were in the pipeline before the pandemic hit. So even if March was able to hold steady against a pandemic, April may not be as lucky.

"Realtors are doing their best to work with the limits that we have right now, but it would be hard to say that April will be as glowing a report as March was," Blanchard said. "April will be a telling month."

Tribune Content Agency