Las Vegas Home Prices Decline in October

12.5% unemployment and high foreclosure rate pushed prices down 8.5% over 12 months to the recession's low

Las Vegas-area home resale prices fell again in October to a new low during the recession, debt rating agency Standard & Poor's reported Tuesday.

Hurt by an unemployment of 12.5 percent along with elevated levels of foreclosures and underwater mortgages, Las Vegas saw housing prices fall 1.5 percent from September and 8.5 percent from October 2010, Standard & Poor's said.

Data from the Standard & Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show Las Vegas-area prices are now at levels last seen in July 1997 after October's decline.

Prices locally peaked in April 2006 and have tumbled during the recession. While the pricing slide locally has been interrupted by occasional months with increases, newly revised Standard & Poor's data show October's decline was the ninth consecutive month prices have fallen locally.

Of 20 big U.S. markets tracked by Standard & Poor's, the average decline from September was 1.2 percent while the year-to-year decline was 3.4 percent.

Tuesday's numbers compare with more recent statistics for November issued Dec. 8 by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

The real estate organization said the median price of single-family homes sold locally in November was $125,000, down 7.3 percent from $134,900 one year ago but up 3.3 percent from $121,000 in October.

In related news, the Standard & Poor's report followed the release last week of statistics from Home Builders Research Inc. showing sales of new homes were down from October and from November 2010.

On the national front, in the meantime, about the only good news for Las Vegas in Tuesday's Standard & Poor's report was that Las Vegas wasn't the worst-performing city tracked by S&P in October.

That distinction belonged to Atlanta, which saw prices decline 11.7 percent from October 2010 and 5 percent from September.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said most of the good news recently in the U.S. housing industry relates to the multifamily sector.

"Existing home sales rose in November but are still at a low annual rate of about 4 million. Single-family housing starts also rose, but remain close to record lows and are still down about 1.5 percent versus October 2010," Blitzer said in a statement.

Copyright 2011 - Las Vegas Sun