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It’s not a bubble: Local real estate’s rebound is solid, from sought-after neighborhoods to those hit hardest

Make sure your sense of the local market is actually based on that market and not national headlines about the health of real estate in America. Nevada no longer leads the nation in delinquent mortgages, but remember that many homeowners who rode out the ...

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Tina is confident enough to buy a new home in Pulte’s Reverence development in SummerlinHe is readying to lower the selling price on his current house, which has sat on the market for two months — a rarity for a market in which 83 percent of homes sold inside of 60 days in September“Would I sleep with one eye open and be cautious and watch for the indicators? Absolutely,” Tina said“It would be foolish not toOn the other hand, we’re not even close to the $315,000 median price of a few years agoI believe we still have five, seven, 10 years (of growth).” Impacts of the recession What areas fared the best? Current median home value as a percentage of peak in June 2006 • Summerlin: 87.5% • Anthem: 81.6% • Central valley: 68% As home values in some of Southern Nevada’s priciest neighborhoods plunged during the recession, the dollar amounts were stunning, with some losses stretching into six figuresIn a portion of the far west valley that includes master-planned developments in Summerlin, the median price plummeted by $222,500 from the height of the valleywide real estate market (June 2006) to the depth (January 2012)It was even worse across town in the area that includes the Anthem master-planned community, where the median price fell off $254,900But if you think those neighborhoods were the hardest hit, get ready for a surpriseHomes there actually held their value better than in any other parts of the valleyWhile the Las Vegas market at large saw a 62.5 percent drop, and some areas suffered losses of 75 percent or more, the median prices in Summerlin and Anthem dropped 54.6 percent and 55.4 percent, respectivelyNot pretty by any means, but relatively not badWhy the disparity? Longtime Las Vegas Realtor David JTina said the same attributes that made the areas attractive to buyers before the recession were magnified during the downturnAs both buyers and lenders became more conservative in their investments, they looked for neighborhoods that offered long-term stabilitySo selling points like tight zoning codes and strict neighborhood covenants, which guard against commercial and industrial development incursion that would wreck resale potential, became more attractive“If you really want to be completely protected, you’ve got to be in a master-planned community,” Tina said“People want to know what’s behind their propertyIn a master-planned community, you don’t have to worry about somebody building a Walmart behind you.” Other factors in these outlier neighborhoods’ ability to retain value included high-performing schools and a relatively low crime rateAnd while the recession prompted business closures in other parts of the valley, options for shopping, dining and entertainment remained relatively strongWhat areas fared the worst? The central valley took an especially cruel poundingNo area was hit harder than the one bordered by Charleston Boulevard, Interstate 15 and Pecos Road, which includes downtown Las Vegas and parts of North Las VegasThere, the median sale price went from $215,000 to $38,000, a plunge of 82.3 percentThe key factors? With its higher crime rate, lower-performing schools and less restrictive zoning and covenants, the area was the opposite of outlying suburbia, magnified by the age of the homes — some of the oldest in the valley“People are generally going to want a brand-new car if they can afford one, and the same goes for homes,” Tina saidToday, nearly six years after the market bottomed out, homes in the central area are lagging behind those on the valley’s edges in regaining lost valueBut there’s good news for homeowners: Percentage-wise, no area has made a faster climb out of the recessionThe sales price has increased 296 percent since January 2012, as investors and homeowners scooped up homes on the cheap“As inflated as the market was in 2008, it really overcorrected in 2012,” Tina said“And those older areas in particular were very undervalued.” Tina said he expected to see the central valley continue to gain, as rising home prices in the hot areas prompt buyers to look for less expensive fixer-uppers“In cities like New York and LA, you see this all the time: People going back to the older neighborhoods,” he said“Then, you see the restaurants and shopping centers come back tooIn Las Vegas, you’ve got pockets of areas that held their values fairly well — the Alta Drive corridor near the Springs Preserve, which is just a beautiful neighborhood, the Scotch 80s, places like thatThose are the anchorsPeople start putting money into them, and it takes off from there.” Home buying/selling tips Set a realistic timeline for when you want to move For example, if you’re planning to move into a home that won’t be completed for several months, wait to place your current home on the market“It all depends on how you price it and what your motivation is,” Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors President David JTina said of how rapidly the market might dovetail with your needsBefore listing your home, fix issues that might lower the asking price According to, sellers see an average of 64 percent return on every dollar they spend on home improvement before listingBut not all investments will pay offThis Old House recommends updating appliances, refinishing floors, cleaning or replacing windows and fixing cracked tiles for maximum returnsInterview three realtors before selecting the one who satisfies your requirements “I like the rule of three,” Tina said“You get three quotes and three different perspectivesYou are looking for someone who is going to be an advocate for you and protect you.” You might love the first candidate and not need to see the other two, but Tina says it’s worth checking out multiple options, similar to getting a second opinion about a medical conditionOne Realtor might promise big numbers and have the market stats to back up that boldness, while another is more conservative and offers an impressive sales recordHow do you know if a home is priced too high? Tina says about 70 percent of all local homes go into escrow within 30 days of hitting the market, a benchmark missed in September“So if your home is still on the market after 60 days or more, there’s a good chance it’s overpriced.” Among the reasons sellers shoot for the top of the market — or the moon — is the depth of emotion tied to the place they’ve called home“You’ve been in a home for 15 or 20 years; you think of all the memories you have and think it’s worth more than it is,” Tina saidHe and his wife, who’s also in real estate, are in the process of selling their home, and they knew they couldn’t see it clearly through their fond memories“We needed someone who could be tough and objective, so we called a colleague,” Tina said“I told them to be honest and don’t worry about offending me.” Does pricing a home low erode perceived value? Tina said pricing to the lower end of a home’s market value could pay offBesides selling faster, lower-priced homes tend to generate more interest from buyers, which could lead to bidding wars pushing the price well past where it was listedIt’s good to keep in mind that even though values have bounced back considerably, selling a home won’t always yield a profitAccording to the National Association of Realtors, home prices will increase nationwide by an estimated 5 percent by the end of the yearYet many markets will see the cost of single-family homes decreaseMake sure your sense of the local market is actually based on that market and not national headlines about the health of real estate in AmericaNevada no longer leads the nation in delinquent mortgages, but remember that many homeowners who rode out the recession remain underwater todayOnline pricing resources These databases are a good place to start when trying to get a sense of pricing on both sides of a potential real estate transactionFor current listings Trulia often will mirror some of what is available through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), though it likely will not be as currentFor comprehensive sales history In addition to a home’s sales history, Blockshopper also allows you to look at an entire block or neighborhood for values, giving you a sense of how the area performed over timeFor ballpark pricing Use Zillow to browse by price in desirable neighborhoods, noting that its algorithm might not take into account all the nuances that would be factored in by a Realtor on the groundFor a variety of data is a digital extension of the National Association of Realtors, so the data is robustBut the site insists nothing can match the level of detail offered by agents working within the market and responding to its fluctuationsFor more specific pricing Local Realtors can provide comparative market analysis (“comps”) for your area or one where you would like to live, showing the specs and historical sale prices of homes to check against what you see onlineAnd you can research such details yourself through the Clark County Assessor’s website1Under Real Property Records, click address 2Enter the information and select “show current parcel number record” 3Click the corresponding parcel number to view the property’s assessed value and most recent sale date and price, as well as the specs of the lot and residential structure 0 $(document).ready(function(){ var addthis_config = { data_ga_property: 'UA-2329840-1', data_track_clickback: true, data_ga_social : true }; var addthis_share = { url: '', title: 'It’s not a bubble: Local real estate’s rebound is solid, from sought-after neighborhoods to those hit hardest', description: 'This summer, Las Vegas home prices rose faster than the national averageBut fears of another bubble should be tempered by the improved economic conditions and refined lending practicesReal estate experts ...', passthrough : { twitter: { via: 'LasVegasSun', text: "It’s not a bubble: Local real estate’s rebound is solid, from sought-after neighborhoods to those hit hardest." } }, url_transforms : {shorten: {twitter: 'bitly'}}, shorteners : {bitly : {}} }; addthis.toolbox('.addthis_toolbox', addthis_config, addthis_share); }); Join the Discussion: Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an accountFull comments policy var disqus_config = function () { = ''; // Replace PAGE_URL with your page's canonical URL variable = "1-1-S2173038"; }; (function() { // DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE var d = document, s = d.createElement('script'); s.src = ''; s.setAttribute('data-timestamp', +new Date()); (d.head || d.body).appendChild(s); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus if (! 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