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Your knowledge of real estate and management together is why we have chosen B.I.F Realty and Investments above and beyond any other management companies. The combination of buying and finding the right tenant on top of managing everything makes it such a pleasure to purchase an investment property. As we have in the past we will continue to refer you to our friends."

- Steve R.

postheadericon LV home values dip for second straight year, losing 11 percent of value on average

Posted: Feb. 19, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.

As miserable as the housing market has been in Las Vegas, Sherry Stidhum didn’t want to sit on the sidelines waiting for the upswing.

The high school teacher at Advanced Technologies Academy purchased her first home last year in the midst of Southern Nevada’s crippling housing bust, paying $100,500 for a three-bedroom, 1,660-square-foot foreclosure home in the master-planned Aliante community of North Las Vegas.

It’s ZIP code 89084, where median home prices fell by 7.5 percent in 2011, according to an analysis by Las Vegas-based housing research firm SalesTraq. The area has among the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.

“Yes, I know,” Stidhum said at her two-story home with mountain views. “I think we’re at a place where we’re bottoming out and I expect things to turn around. I’m from Mississippi. I can handle tough times and make it through.”

Home values dropped in all but three of the Las Vegas Valley’s 56 ZIP codes last year, on average by about 11 percent, SalesTraq reported. That’s coming off a 6 percent decline in 2010, which was encouraging compared with the 23 percent decrease in 2009.

“So we had a little bit of the dreaded double dip,” SalesTraq President Larry Murphy said. “We all thought we were on the way to the get-even line and then we drop 11 percent. The $64 million question is: Where’s it going to be this year? That’s where we have varying opinions.”

Overall, Las Vegas home prices have fallen more than 60 percent from their peak and have yet to find the proverbial bottom. They could easily go down another 10 percent, Murphy predicted, which means the median existing home price will slip below $100,000.

“Who knows what shoe will fall next,” he said. “I’m curious to see what the $25 billion settlement with the banks is going to do. It reminds me of the tobacco industry. They either pay it or they’re basically history. The banks are saying, ‘We’ll give you $25 billion just to see this go away.’ ”

Murphy cautions homeowners not to get depressed over his ZIP code map that shows steep declines in several areas of the valley.


In ZIP code 89169, east of the Strip between Desert Inn Road and Tropicana Avenue, median home prices plummeted 27.9 percent from $88,300 in 2010 to $63,661 in 2011.

The situation isn’t much better in ZIP codes 89107 in the central city, 89131 in the northwest and 89120 in the southeast, all of which saw declines greater than 16 percent.

That’s just how the chips fall in the nation’s worst housing market.

Murphy said people should not use the ZIP code map to make home-buying decisions, nor should they use it as a tool “to beat themselves up.”

Don’t assume that every home in ZIP code 89131 went down by 16 percent. Of the 10,000 homes in that ZIP code, there are probably some that increased in value last year, Murphy said.

“There are good buys and bad buys in every ZIP code,” he said. “Only a naive and stupid buyer would use this map to base their buying decision on.”

Las Vegas is composed of some 100 submarkets that are all “pretty erratic” when it comes to home valuation, appraiser Mike Brunson of Brunson-Jiu said. He’s not seeing unilateral gains in any specific area. Depreciation depends on the amount of distressed inventory in the neighborhood.

“As appraisers, we strive to measure and reflect what a specific market is doing,” he said. “A ZIP code doesn’t really represent the market an appraiser would use. ZIP codes are huge and you can have a diverse quality of housing, like 89030 (North Las Vegas). You’ve got homes built in 1964 on the low end of the socioeconomic scale all the way to up to high-end custom homes.”

Chris Howard isn’t worried about declining home prices. He sees it as a great buying opportunity, much like the stock market.

Howard, 50, is downsizing from his 11,000-square-foot home to one half that size in Red Rock Country Club, ZIP code 89135, where prices decreased by 13.5 percent last year. His home is sold, expected to close escrow in March. He also bought his daughter a home in the Summerlin community.

“I think in Las Vegas we can look at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty,” the Primerica Financial Services adviser said. “I’m a native of Las Vegas and I love Las Vegas. As prices went through the roof, I wondered how the younger generation could afford to buy a house.”

Luxury Realtor Tom Love said it’s been his experience that “pristine gems” have held their value in Las Vegas, while “middle-of-the-road” properties are having more difficulty.


One ZIP code that showed home appreciation last year was 89146, around Sahara Avenue and Jones Boulevard. The median price rose 5.3 percent from $95,000 in 2010 to an even $100,000 in 2011, though it was a relatively small sample with just 360 sales, Murphy noted. It’s also a more mature neighborhood, with 20- to 30-year-old homes on half-acre lots.

A better example of where Las Vegas home values are headed is ZIP code 89178 in the southwest valley and 89166 in the northwest. Those are the master-planned communities of Mountain’s Edge and Providence, where prices fell 8 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

That’s where the bulk of new-home construction took place in the boom years, and where you’re going to find a lot of foreclosures, Murphy said.

About half the buyers in Las Vegas are investors. If banks continue to tighten the spigot on foreclosures as a result of recent legislation, investors won’t be able to pick up distressed properties at bargain prices and they’re going to stop buying, Murphy said.

So while inventory may be shrinking and fundamental economics say prices will go up, many investors will drop out of the marketplace, Murphy said.

“I see everything being up in a dark cloud floating above our heads,” he said. “It could start to rain on us or a big wind could come along and blow the cloud away and we’d see sunshine. For people who see a bright future, they could see something that’s going to blow all this away.”


Not everyone is concerned about return on investment, said Kevin Savage, president of Evergreen Home Loans. He secured hundreds of loans for owner-occupants in 2011.

“The ones that are buying, God love ‘em, they’re staying in town,” he said. “They’re committed to the community. They don’t care if the home goes down 5 percent. They say, ‘I’ve got to live someplace,’ and they have optimism. The ones that aren’t buying are the flotsam on the water. The minute they can, they’re going to get out of Dodge.”

And the entire market is not in decline. Savage said some appraisals are coming in at list price or higher in certain areas.

“It’s a mixed bag,” he said. “People that are buying take a longer view. Buying is cheaper than renting, buying is more stable and their life is stable. If you’re renting, there’s a chance you’re going to get kicked out by the bank or the house is going to get sold out from under you. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard where this is the second or third time and they don’t want to go through it again.”

Savage said he has people from across the country buying second homes in Las Vegas, waiting to sell their homes when the market gets better and take that cash to pay off their homes in Las Vegas.

“This is still the deal of the century,” he said. “These people realize that waiting for the bottom is like a blind man walking downhill. He knows he’s at the bottom when his next step is uphill.”

Some real estate experts point to artificially depressed appraisals for contributing to Las Vegas’ declining home prices. Appraisers are using comparable foreclosures and short sales, or homes sold for less than the principal mortgage balance, to set values for nondistressed homes.

“We know values are declining,” appraiser Brunson said. “I’m not going to say there aren’t appraisers out there overreacting. We know that’s the wrong thing to do. Appraisers analyze the market and determine the best price using validated methodology.”

Having a buyer and seller agree on a price does not set market value, he added.

“If it’s cash, that’s fine, but if you have a willing buyer and willing seller asking a financial institution to risk their money, you can’t assume the appraisal is wrong,” Brunson said.

Stidhum, the teacher from North Las Vegas, said she didn’t buy for investment reasons, though she thinks home values appreciating in the future. She got a house with landscaping already in place and upgrades such as granite countertops and marble in the bathrooms.

“Now is the time if you can do it and get a good deal,” she said. “I have confidence that the market will improve sooner rather than later.”

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at or 702-383-0491.


postheadericon Sales of LV apartment complexes may surge

Posted: Dec. 16, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.

Out-of-state investors are scouring the Las Vegas market for apartment properties selling for $10 million or more, a segment that will see the number of transactions double in 2012, a commercial real estate executive said Wednesday.

About 20 apartment complexes with at least 100 units changed hands in 2011, said Richard Bird, regional manager of Marcus & Millichap real estate services in Las Vegas. About 90 percent of the transactions are cash deals and 80 percent of buyers are from out of the market, he said.

From his research and what he’s heard from brokers at other firms, a large volume of transactions will come in 2012, Bird said.

“People are coming in from out of state, from California, and they’re still buying properties for 40 cents on the dollar, which leaves room for capital improvements,” Bird said.

Many of the transactions are lower-quality “B” and “C” class apartments that are bank-owned, Bird said. More distressed sales are expected in 2012. Among Las Vegas properties receiving notices of default in October alone were the Bonanza Springs Suites just north of downtown and Mountain Paradise Village apartments at 5800 Meikle Lane.

With prices so low, the city of North Las Vegas was able to buy the 288-unit Buena Vista Springs apartments near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Carey Avenue in September for $7,900 a unit. City officials plan to raze the crime-ridden complex, Bird said.

“That speaks volumes that local municipalities are doing this to spark the market and to make Las Vegas a better place to live,” Bird said. “That wouldn’t have been possible during the heyday.”

Meanwhile, the high number of foreclosures in overbuilt suburban communities has spurred strong demand for Class A properties as displaced homeowners become renters.

“What’s shaking is not just the distressed stuff, but also the stabilized Class A properties in Summerlin and other nice areas. We’re going to see that stuff shake loose,” Bird said.

Among the highlights from Marcus & Millichap’s fourth-quarter apartment market report:

■ Asking rents will climb 0.3 percent this year to $798 a month, while effective rents — taking out concessions — will rise 0.3 percent to $745 a month. Rents were flat in 2010 compared with the previous year.

■ Supply-side pressure and growth in demand from renters re-entering the workforce will result in a decline in vacancy to 7.8 percent, down 130 basis points from a year ago. In 2010, vacancy fell 210 basis points from prior year’s peak.

■ Following a year with inventory growth of more than 1,500 units, rental stock expanded by only 680 units in 2011, or less than 1 percent. With fewer new units, the market will find equilibrium and ease the upward trend in vacancy.

■ Local employers are projected to add 10,800 jobs in 2011, a 1.4 percent increase in total employment, the largest since the recession began in 2007. By comparison, employment in the metropolitan area shrank by 13,800 jobs in 2010.

Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported $2.4 trillion in commercial multifamily mortgage debt in the third quarter, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter.

Life insurance companies, banks and the Federal Housing Authority (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) all increased their holdings of commercial and multifamily mortgages in the third quarter, said Jamie Woodwell, the association’s vice president of commercial real estate research.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at or 702-383-0491.


postheadericon Study confirms role of home flippers in Nevada housing price collapse

Study confirms role of home flippers in Nevada housing price collapse


postheadericon Las Vegas home sale prices rise in September 2011

Median prices for both new and existing homes rose slightly in September from the prior month, though they’re still down from a year ago, Home Builders Research reported Wednesday.

Sales of new homes increased for the third straight month, part of some encouraging data for the Las Vegas housing market, Home Builders Research president Dennis Smith said.

He counted 405 new-home sales in September at a median price of $206,480, an increase of $7,875 from the previous month but down 3 percent from a year ago.

New-home builders, struck by the recession, tight lending and competition from foreclosures, have recorded 2,788 sales through the third quarter, a 35 percent decrease from the prior-year period.

The drop in new-home sales is largely due to comparing this year’s figures with those enhanced by the federal tax credit in 2010, Smith noted.

Resales fell by 557 units to 4,281 in September, still an impressive sum, the Las Vegas Smith said. The third-quarter total of 35,828 represents an 11 percent increase from last year.

The existing home median price inched up to $108,100, a gain of $1,100 from August.

Homebuilders pulled 252 new-home permits in September, the lowest level since February. Permits, a good indication of future housing starts, are down 24 percent for the year at 2,901 single-family units.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday reported 658,000 privately owned housing starts in September, seasonally adjusted, 15 percent above the revised August estimate and 10.2 percent above the September 2010 rate.

Smith said he agrees with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. During Tuesday’s nationally televised debate in Las Vegas, Romney said the best way to solve the foreclosure crisis is to let the free-market system run its course.

“I don’t see what the big problem is with letting the system work out the solution,” Smith said. “Basically, that’s what we’ve been doing up until now. Attempts by the federal government and the state to solve the foreclosure crisis haven’t worked much at all.

“The logistics of the housing depression are so deep and broad, it would take all involved to work together to dig out of the recessionary hole,” he added. “It seems so fundamental to suggest the first and basic fix must be to deal with the excess of inventory homes. That begins with keeping current homeowners in their homes.”

Las Vegas-based SalesTraq reported similar housing data for September. The median existing-home price edged up to $104,200 from $103,500 in August, while new-home prices increased to $202,595 from $197,490. Those prices are down 11.5 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

Sales of existing homes, driven by investors buying foreclosures and short sales, continued to show strength, rising 14.8 percent from a year ago to 4,992 in September.

“September’s housing data is more of the same,” SalesTraq President Larry Murphy said. “It’s tempting to look at minor upticks and minor downticks each month and try to extract from them a morsel of significance, but the truth is, nothing has changed.”

About half of all home sales in Las Vegas are real-estate owned, or bank-owned, while one-fourth are short sales, or lender-approved sales for less than the principal balance owed, according to real estate agency Residential Resources.

SalesTraq showed an average price of $85,000 for 570 auction sales in September; $113,000 for 891 short sales; $103,000 for 2,235 REO sales; and $107,900 for 1,296 traditional sales.

“Many people are obsessed with finding the bottom of this market,” Murphy said. “I believe that we have been on the bottom for over two years now, and that we will stay there another two years.”

Murphy defines the “shadow inventory” differently than most. It’s not the 10,000 homes already taken back by the banks that have not yet hit the market. That number pales in comparison to the number of homes likely to be foreclosed upon in the future, which could easily approach 100,000, Murphy said.

“Regarding a recovery, I believe that the resale housing market will have to recover first, followed by the new-home market,” he said. ”I say that because 80 percent of existing homes being sold today are vacant.

“As long as this condition exists, demand for new construction is going to remain anemic.”

He reported 399 new home sales in September, a 10.9 percent drop from a year ago.

Nevada has experienced both ends of the housing spectrum over the past few years, from the peaks to the valleys and even underground, said Al Peterson of Huntington Beach, Calif.-based HouseHunt. Prices are up in some areas of Las Vegas, but have remained flat overall.

Aliante and Coronado Ranch showed a 3 percent decrease in prices the past few weeks, while Blue Diamond Ranch, Canyon Gate, Summerlin, Green Valley and Henderson are all holding steady, Peterson said.

“From the agents I’ve talked to in other parts of the country, most see prices going up a tad in the coming months,” he said. “Not much, but everyone seems to think the bottom has been reached. Of course, Nevada and Arizona could be different because of all the short sales and foreclosures that have yet to flood the market, but that’s the consensus.”

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at or 702-383-0491.

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postheadericon 9124 Tailor Made Ave, Las Vegas, NV

Every square inch has been redone. Freshly painted inside and out. New carpet, ceramic, marble, appliances and fixtures. Nothing compares.
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 2
Square Feet 1205
Lot Size 1,742 sq ft / 0.10
Property Type Single Family
Year Built 2006

Original purchase price:

Sale Price: $55,000


postheadericon Slightly better news for Las Vegas housing

By Hubble Smith

Posted: Jun. 8, 2011 | 10:08 a.m.


postheadericon 5063 EL CASTANO AV, LAS VEGAS, NV 89108

Every square inch has been redone. Freshly painted inside and out. New carpet, ceramic, marble, appliances and fixtures. Nothing compares.
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2
Square Feet 1754
Lot Size 5227 sq ft / 0.12
Property Type Single Family
Year Built 2003

Original purchase price:

Sale Price: $84,900


postheadericon 1708 PARCHESTER DR, LAS VEGAS, NV 89108

Every square inch has been redone. Freshly painted inside and out. New carpet, ceramic, marble, appliances and fixtures. Nothing compares.
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 3
Square Feet 2266
Lot Size 11,016 sq ft / 0.25
Property Type Single Family
Year Built 1970

Original purchase price:

Sale Price: $89,900


postheadericon 6121 WARM RIVER RD, LAS VEGAS, NV 89108

Every square inch has been redone. Freshly painted inside and out. New carpet, ceramic, marble, appliances and fixtures. Nothing compares.
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 3
Square Feet 1811
Lot Size 4,240 sq ft / 0.10
Property Type Single Family
Year Built 1988

Original purchase price:

Sale Price: $90,000


postheadericon 6305 CARL AV, LAS VEGAS NV 89108

Every square inch has been redone. Freshly painted inside and out. New carpet, ceramic, marble, appliances and fixtures. Nothing compares.
Bedrooms 4
Bathrooms 2.5
Square Feet 1844
Lot Size 77,00 sq ft / 0.18
Property Type Single Family
Year Built 1979

Original purchase price:

Sale Price: $89,900

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