real estate

Top 10 cities with Affordable Housing

Waiting for the right time to buy a home? That time is NOW. According to a study done by Deutsche Bank cited by CNN Money, the right time to buy a home is now based on affordability and the cost of owning a property versus renting it. Here are the top cities with the most affordable real estate:

Top 10 Cities

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Rochester, NY
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  6. Las Vegas, NV
  7. Jacksonville, FL
  8. St. Louis, MO
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Memphis, TN

Las Vegas Real Estate

Las Vegas homes are coming in at number six on the list. The metrics the study used were two fold. First it looks at the percentage of their income the average homeowner pays in after tax costs: home mortgage payment, real estate taxes and home owner's insurance.  The study found the current percentage is 9.8%, down from 17.2% at the height of the bubble in 2007. Second the study looks at the cost of ownership versus renting. One of my clients is currently looking to move to Las Vegas from Boulder City and rent a home. We found a suitable home for $1,150 a month. The identical floor plan was for sale across the street and would cost him $864 a month to own it. Las Vegas is not alone in this phenomenon. The study found that in 28 out of 54 major housing markets it is now cheaper to own a home than it is to rent the same house. Here are the Las Vegas housing statistics according to the study:

Rent as % of after tax mortgage payment: 125.1%
Median home price change, 2006-2010: -56.5%

Investors Making a Move

Shawn Tully of Fortune Finance interviewed Dotan Y. Melech, who owns UnitedAMS. UnitedAMS manages apartments and other properties and has raised more than 20 million from outside investors to specifically buy distressed properties. According to the article, Mr. Melech has bought around 300 Las Vegas homes and is planning on buying another 200 before the end of the year. His justification is simple. Occupancy rates are high, around 95% and the cap rate is between 8% and 10%. Melech also targets a specific demographic when choosing his renters---people who lost their own property but are reliable renters. The Las Vegas rental market is booming due to the high number of foreclosures. Many renters having lost their home to foreclosure are unable to buy an affordable home due to bad credit.

More than half of the sales in Las Vegas are cash (if you are buying a Las Vegas condo, cash may be your only option).

National Real Estate Market

Other hard hit foreclosure areas like Phoenix, Miami and parts of Northern California are starting to see improvements as well. One of the biggest factors is the dwindling supply of new homes into the market. The Phoenix real estate market has a total of 8,100 new home, down from 53,000 in mid 2006. Another factor is the absorption rate of foreclosures. Foreclosures can radically effect pricing because of the randomness of their markdown pricing. MIT economist William Wheaton was quoted saying "We had levels of inventory even higher than this in 1990 and 1991. But they were traditional listings, not foreclosures so they didn't create the big discounts you get with foreclosures." Mr. Wheaton is right on the money. Foreclosures have pushed prices down past historic values creating an artificial market price. As less and less homes go into foreclosures, prices will soar back up to historic levels.

Thanks for reading our Las Vegas real estate blog.

Sources: CNN Money

Popular Posts:

Real Estate Update

The construction industry in Las Vegas has slowed down considerably compared to prior years. For a while, it seemed that a new project was opening every other month. With the national economy in a slump, tourism has fallen and massive foreclosures, builders weren't eager to put new communities on the market.

Despite the odds, last month saw the grand opening of the largest green project in the state, CityCenter. CityCenter obtained gold LEED ratings, making it one of the greenest projects in the US. Overall, new construction is down but not as much as one would think according to a recent article in the Las Vegas Review Journal. Heavy construction has resumed at Tivoli Village at Queensridge with the first phase scheduled to open in December of this year. Unfortunately the project was not immune to the market. The planned  Queensridge condominiums units have been put on permanent hold. Tivoli Village isn't the only project to be scaled back. Condos at the Harmon at CityCenter were also scrapped, although the official reason given was that it was due to a construction defect in the original plan, not because of the market. Some builders have stopped construction completely while others are going ahead with their plans.

Lennar, Richmond American, Pulte and other large builders are still rolling out new homes but have scaled back construction. A good example of would be Canyon Springs. Lennar Homes is holding the grand opening of the community tomorrow. There are seven immediate move-in homes available and another 12 homes will be complete by March 31. Lennar isn't the only builder to downsize communities either. Some builders have gone so far as to suspend all new community construction and even halt building on partially finished communities. Overall construction in the valley is down just over six percent, so there are plenty of new homes to choose from. New home builders are still feeling the pinch of so many foreclosed properties available on the Las Vegas real estate market. To lure in homebuyers, builders are offering some great deals to entice homebuyers to buy 'new'.

If you are thinking about buying a new home and would like a list of brand new properties on the market, feel free to contact me. Thanks for stopping by our Las Vegas real estate blog.

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

There has been a lot of talk (and confusion) about the economic stimulus bill and what it means to home buyers. Who qualifies? What year can I claim the credit? How much of a refund would I get back? What are the criteria to receive the credit? So I'm going to attempt to answer the most common questions about the bill. Keep in mind, I am NOT a tax professional or accountant and always recommend when it comes to your taxes to seek the advice of an accredited tax professional.

That being said, the bill states that first time home buyers can claim a tax credit worth $8,000 OR 10% of the home's value, whichever amount is less. So, if you bought a condominium for $65,000, your tax credit under the bill would be $6,500, not $8,000.


In order to qualify for the credit, the home purchase must be made between January 1st and November 30th of 2009 (so if you buy a home on December 1, 2009 you are not eligible). In addition, there are income restrictions as well. To qualify, a single person must make less than $75,000 a year. Married couples must make under $150,000 a year. However, higher income buyers may receive a partial credit. You must also live in the house purchased for at least three years or you will be required to pay back the credit. The property being purchased can not be owned by a close relative like a parent, grandparent or one of your children. The definition in bill for a first time home buyer is anyone that has not owned a home in the last three years.

Tax Filing

The credit can be claimed on your 2008 or 2009 income taxes. Now as I said you can claim the credit on your 2008 tax filing. If you have already filed them, you can file an amended return to claim the credit if you wish to do so. Based on the feeback we've been getting, the process takes about 12 weeks. Another great thing about the credit it that it is fully refundable, so even if your total tax bill (refund) is less than $8,000 (and you qualify for that amount of a credit), you would still receive the full $8,000 back plus the amount you had overpaid.

For example, John's taxes showed that he had paid $5,000 in taxes over the year. He filed his return and he actually only owed $3,000 in taxes. Normally he would have received a refund of $2,000. But under this bill, he would receive the full $10,000 instead! To claim the credit on your taxes is just a matter of filling out the form, without any additional paperwork involved.

This is a simplified breakdown of the economic stimulus bill. I highly recommend consulting a professional tax service regarding your taxes. You can download the tax form here:

Thank you for reading our real estate blog and feel free to contact us for all of your Las Vegas NV real estate needs.  


Are the Chinese Next?

Its no secret that there are huge bargains to be had in the foreclosure markets of the United States. New home builder in Las Vegas are practically giving their inventory away in order to compete with the massive number of foreclosure properties on the market. With over a half a million jobs lost last month, the number of foreclosures may not be going down any time soon.

These numbers haven't been lost on foreign investors. Earlier this year, I had written an article about the influx of Canadian real estate buyers snapping up property here in Las Vegas and other foreclosure heavy markets like Phoenix. I was reading an artice in the Financial Times about a Chinese real estate company with the biggest real estate website in China, SouFun. The company has organized a trip to the US that would focus on California, particularly San Francisco and Los Angeles and possibly Nevada to invest in real estate. So far the company is concentrating on areas that have high levels of Chinese population, hopefully making the area more comfortable for their clients.

Given that criteria, certain parts of the Las Vegas valley could certainly qualify. Home buying for someone living outside of the US is a little more complicated. If you are considering buying a home in the US, I have assisted several international clients buy property here. Call me at 702-493-8033 and I will be happy to assist you. Thanks for reading the Las Vegas Real Estate News Blog.

The Real Haunted Houses of Las Vegas

Las Vegas Haunted Homes

Happy Halloween! The Las Vegas market is recovering from housing bubble. Investors and regular home buyers are snapping up property all over the city. Things are far from perfect, unless of course you are a home buyer. The market has experienced a 'perfect storm', driving down prices while raising home inventory. The result are some of the lowest home prices in the several years in the Las Vegas valley with a huge selection of homes and condos for sale.

With so many homes for sale on the market, its hard as a home seller to stand out from the crowd. The latest marketing trend is property auctions. The results have been mixed. The last major auction at the Las Vegas Country Club for some 80 Monterey condos was fairly successful, but there are still leftover condos for sale. Some companies have taken the idea further by having a strictly online auction, cashing in on the bargain atmosphere that auctions generate.

Buyer Beware

But property auctions aren't always the great bargains they are portrayed as. There are additional fees that tacked on to bid price that most first time auction goers were not aware of. These buyer's premiums can range from one to several percent of the winning bid price and can quickly wipe out any savings you might have incurred, especially on higher end properties. Properties will also have minimum bids in place that must be met or the property will not be sold.

Quite often these properties are bank owned as well, which means a longer closing time than a regular home sale. If time is of the essence in closing escrow, then you should avoid bank owned properties entirely.

There are plenty of great deals still out there. The number of Las Vegas homes for sale has been declining and the number of homes sold has surpassed last year's numbers. If you are thinking about buying a home or condo in the Las Vegas valley, feel free to contact me at 702-493-8033 or by email at info

How rising gas prices are effecting the real estate industry

Just a few years ago the thought of seeing gas prices hitting over $4 per gallon was unthinkable. Today, its a reality and the odds are prices will continue to climb and hit over $5 per gallon before the end of the year. Fuel prices affect everything, since the majority of goods in the U.S. are moved by truck.

Real Estate Industry

The effect rising gas prices have had on the real estate industry is two fold. Consumers are more concerned with commute time than they were a few years ago, making communities on the outskirts of the city less desirable (its still about location!). In response, developers have switched to mixed use developments, marketing them as live/work areas. Business owners can live right above their place of work, virtually eliminating the need to commute. The monetary savings in fuel costs is a large incentive. Other communities take it a step further by providing free transportation to other areas of town, like the airport and the strip (two of the largest employment areas in the city). As fuel prices continue to go up, I'm sure we'll see more communities offer these type of amenities. Redevelopment of older neighborhoods closer to the city core will also increase.

Energy Star

Almost all of the new homes built in the Las Vegas valley meet the minimum requirements for the Energy Star rating. Currently, a few builders exceed those requirements and build homes that are very energy efficient. To stay competitive with an increased consumer demand, developers are going to have to build even more energy efficient homes. Green buildings may become the standard in the next five years due to energy costs. But its likely that location will still play a huge part in the buying decision. It may effect resales of older, less energy efficient homes in the coming years. Those home sellers will be competing against more energy efficient homes for buyers. A rise in the number of "green" remodelers is a definite possibility and such remodeling may become a necessity to get top dollar for a resale home in the future, since it is doubful that energy costs will be going down any time soon.

Related posts from the blogsphere:

Real Estate news update

One of the major contributors to the job market in Las Vegas is the construction industry. It looks like construction will not be slowing down any time soon. Time-share giant Wyndham Vacation Ownership plans to develop another property in Las Vegas near the Rio. Dubbed the Wyndham Desert Blue, this will be their fifth time-share property in town. Later this month their prior project the WorldMark Las Vegas Tropicana, is scheduled to open (Wyndham has been advertising heavily employment sites). The project will feature 280 units in phase one on a 14.75 acre parcel on West Twain at Dean Martin Drive.

The phase one of the project is slated to open in early 2010. The first phase will have one, two and three bedroom units and 50 suites. Amenities will be the standard fare, pool, computer library (no word yet on whether free internet access will be included), fitness center and recreation room. According to Clark county records, the site has been owned by Wyndham since 2005 and was purchased for $1 million dollars.

High Rise Condos

There is good news for some high rise condo buyers. Today One Las Vegas received its Certificate of Occupancy for tower I and residents can expect to take possession of their condos soon. Tower II is due to be completed in the next few weeks. At build out, One Las Vegas will have four residential towers and two hotel towers located on the front of the property, facing Las Vegas boulevard.

Other projects are coming along as well. Earlier this year, Metreon lofts had their ground breaking party. This is another mixed use project, located in the growing beltway area of West Flamingo being developed by Kennedy Commercial.

Housing Deals

Lennar has been consistantly sending me emails about special pricing, etc for the last month. Right now Lennar is offering special financing, with the first year interest rate of 2.88% fixed for the first, year, 3.88% fixed for the second and 4.88% (5.34% APR) for the life. Of course there are some requirements, including you must put 3% down and have a credit score of at least 580.

Old school Las Vegas more your style? Check out this page about vintage Las Vegas.

Historic property in Las Vegas

Believe it or not, there are still a few historic places that have not been hit by the wrecking ball. There has been some efforts to save a few of the older places left and a quick search online will give you a few websites dedicated to preserving the Las Vegas of the past. Usually the best you can hope for here is name preservation, which is what is happening to the Moulin Rouge.

A Piece of History

If you haven't heard of the hotel, not to worry. The Moulin Rouge opened in 1955 as the first inter-racial hotel in Las Vegas. It only remained open for a very short time before going belly up, along with a few other hotels that year. But during that time such legendary performers as Jack Benny, George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra performed in its show room. The property has been boarded up ever since for the most part. Interestingly, it was used as a meeting place in 1960 to discuss civil rights' issues and again in 1995 for filming the movie Casino.

Most of the original property unfortunately is gone due to an unsolved arson in 2003. Only the original neon sign and facade survived the fire. The current owners are proposing a major renovation and expansion to 700 hotel rooms, retail space, convention space, restaurants, jazz center and concert venue. The property is located in downtown Las Vegas, at 900 W Bonanza. There are some zoning issues that the project will have to get approved, but given that its downtown and the city's commitment to rennovate the area, its a safe bet there won't be any problems getting approval.

Restoration and expansion of the Moulin Rouge should only help raise property values downtown, especially for projects like Juhl and Streamline. The downtown renovations are still ongoing, but some areas are nearing completion. Fremont East has its retro neon signage up and construction can be seen in several areas.

The Canadians are coming!!!

The sliding housing market and recession are good news for our neighbors north of the border. A recent article in the Edmonton Journal talks about how Albertans and other Canadians are scouring the once red hot markets in the US for deals and steals. The story cites that home prices are down in Las Vegas by 13.2 percent. That combined with a strong showing against the US dollar by the Canadian dollar (loonie), Canadians are looking to buy property in the once red hot markets now in a slump, like Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Miami and Tampa. Never before has it been a better time for Canadians looking to buy property in the US.

Vacation destinations are the most likely to see an influx of Canadian and other foreign buyers. Personally I've had more foreign buyers inquiring about some of the Las Vegas high rise condos for sale, especially in the strip area. It will be interesting to see what impact these buyers will have on those markets.

This is great news for vacation and second home sellers. Local statistics are showing a slight upswing in the amount of properties sold as well as a stablization of prices.

Changes to the site

If you are a regular visitor here, you'll notice a change on the right hand navigation bar. The search function has been integrated into the site. So now if  you are looking for a particular community, you can simply type in the name and let the search function find it for you.

My webmaster has been hard at work adding more pages of information. Summerlin has some new communities coming up soon, and information about Sun City Summerlin, The Canyons and Summerlin Centre is now available. If you like mixed use projects, information about the Village at Queensridge is available.

Syndicate content