Las Vegas Real Estate News

Utility rates going up

Las Vegas, like many parts of the country (I'm sure) has seen a rise in the basic rates from the major utilities. Not surprising, considering what has happened in the last several years. The good thing is that the vast majority of homebuilders in the valley are building Energy Star only homes, that use a fraction of the resources that a household would have used.

However there are quite a lot of older neighborhoods, built before the program was even created. What can you do to cut your bills?  Quite a few little things will help actually. I've recently put up to articles, one about cutting your power bill and the other about conserving water.

Speaking of power, one of the selling points of Boulder City homes is the city run power company. Boulder City residents were grandfathered in when the dam was built. They receive their power from Hoover Dam (through LA power) and pay a fraction of the cost compared to Las Vegas and Henderson residents.

I set up a poll. Do you think that energy efficiency will be a large factor in the home buying decision in the next two years?

More deals and steals


It seems that February is the month of specials this year. So far this month, buyers have had an unprecedented list of communities to choose from with unheard of specials. The builder that started it all was Centex, with their special close out pricing at V at Las Vegas. Not to be outdone, Pulte & Del Webb announced a month long sales event, offering free upgrades and more on all of their communities all month long.

Now, Richmond American Homes is having a three day special weekend sales event, offering up to $35,000 toward home gallery upgrades and up to 3% in closing costs. As usual, there certain restrictions and qualifications apply and you need an actual coupon to receive these savings (call 702-493-8033 or email me for the particulars). But the incentives don't stop there. Loft 5, which is nearly completion, is having a special pricing event through February 29th. The newest Summerlin village, Montechiaro is opening this weekend and having an exclusive priority buyer day, this Saturday, February 23rd. Call 702-493-8033 to schedule a tour of any of these properties.

Pulte Leap4Joy Sales event


Earlier this month, I had put out a notification about the deals that Del Webb/Pulte were having during the month of February. Apparently, Pulte has decided to try to ramp it up even further.

Starting February 28th, Pulte & Del Webb will be offering extra incentives on almost all of their Las Vegas communities. There are free upgrades, huge incentives (up to $150,000) and a 4.4% interest rate (4.9% APR).

The big hook is the absurdly low interest rate through Pulte mortgage LLC, BUT the actual loan is an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). So a word of caution. I can't stress enough why its important for a consumer to have their own representation when visiting a builder. If you are thinking about visiting a Pulte or Del Webb community to take advantage of this sale, call 702-493-8033. Free, expert representation is just a phone call away.

I just added information about a Pulte community in Mountain's Edge, Azure Canyon. They're eligible (at least according to the latest info) for the incentives and are 30% more efficient than the Energy Star standard. Thanks for stopping by.


UPDATE: Pulte added a wrinkle. You now need a voucher (email me) in order to take advantage of the sale. The interest rate requires you put 10% down on the property (for loans up to $417,000).

UNLV Girls Spring Invitational

The Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada will be hosting the UNLV girls golf spring invitational. Several top division one schools from around the country will gather there to compete. This will be the third year Boulder Creek has hosted the event.

Spectators are welcome and admission is free. The invitational will be March 10th and through the 12th. Tee times start at 7:30 am each day from Tee number one and Tee number 10. The course is located at 1501 Veterans Memorial Dr, Boulder City, NV 89005

Boulder Creek is looking for volunteers to help with the event. If you are interested in volunteering, call (702) 294-6534 for more information.

Pulte/Del Webb offering free upgrades in February


All month long Del Webb and their parent company, Pulte are offering free upgrades at all of their communities in the Las Vegas valley. Here is a short list of the upgrades being offered all month long:

• Tile, carpet and hardwood flooring
• Performance features
• Cabinetry
• Appliances
• Light fixtures
• Countertops for your kitchen and bathrooms
• Fine details such as fixtures and hardware

The special lasts until the end of the month (February 29th), and of course, certain restrictions and conditions apply. For more information, call 702-493-8033.

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.

Las Vegas water fight

CNN had an article about the plan by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to pump water some 200 miles from rural Nevada into the Las Vegas area. Unsurprisingly, the plan met some opposition from the residents of those very areas. After all, what is in it for them, besides losing their water?

Given the amount of water they need for the valley, the SNWA has received quite a bit of criticism about their lack of conservation efforts. For the most part the criticism is warranted to a small degree.  The water authority does roll out a water saving program in the summer, specifically when and how much you can water your yard. They will also pay you $2 per square foot of grass that is replaced with a xeriscape yard. To be eligible, you do have to jump through quite a few hoops and the program isn't publicized that much.

With the amount of money at stake, residents in rural Nevada will be fighting up an uphill battle. SNWA is also looking at desalination plants as well. The impact this has on the real estate market isn't clear. Most developers have been putting in desert landscaping for many years already and the number of green projects has been steady. A survey of any of the new developments under construction will show a cognizant effort for water conservation. I don't think the impending water shortage will affect much, except perhaps golf course construction. Golf courses use a lot more water than a housing tract or set of office buildings in the same area. If the water crunch continues, a home with a lake view or view of the fairway may appreciate a lot faster.  One thing is for certain, with over 40 million visitors a year, the water will be coming from someplace.

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.

V at Lake Las Vegas specials

Despite the trouble that the developer of Lake Las Vegas has been having, it hasn't effected residential sales in the slightest. Centex Homes is closing out their luxury townhome community Lake Las Vegas and is offering some very nice incentives with the last units.

V at Lake Las Vegas is offering 3% towards closing costs and up to $25,000 for a designer furniture package. Homes purchased before the end of February are eligible to receive a Silver Membership to the Club at Lake Las Vegas (about a $21,000 value). Memberships are limited, and homes are on a first come, first serve basis. Of course, certain restrictions and qualifications may apply. Call 702-493-8033.


V Townhomes Closeout

Another developer in trouble

Another developer is having trouble making their loan payments. This time, its Focus Property Group not making its February payment on $500 million dollars in loans. The loans were for some 4,800 acres of land in Las Vegas, Pahrump and Victorville, California. Focus certainly isn't the first developer to hit a bump in the road. The company has several residential projects around Las Vegas, including Inspirada in Henderson and Providence in Las Vegas, plus the masterplan for Mountain's Edge.

The impact to these communities will probably be minimal, if any. According to the RJ, their lenders have suggested that Focus give them a portion of the profits when the land is sold.