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Las Vegas home prices set record in March, but analysts wary

Las Vegas house prices hit a record high again last month, but the pipeline of sales shrank as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy.

The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes — the bulk of Southern Nevada’s market — was a record $319,000 in March, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier, according to a new report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors, or LVR.

A total of 2,758 houses traded hands last month, up 5.2 percent year over year, Latest Las Vegas News said the group, which pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service.

The coronavirus has upended daily life in Southern Nevada and thrown the economy into crisis with sweeping business closures. Real estate pros have expected the outbreak to hit the housing market as well, and LVR’s report shows how the industry fared during the chaotic month of March when much of the valley — including its financial lifeblood, tourism — rapidly shut down to help contain the virus’ spread.

Closed sales, many of which were probably in the works before the outbreak hit Southern Nevada, were up. Last month’s median sales price topped the previous record of $316,000, set in February.

However, the tally of canceled deals nearly doubled from a year ago as the economy went dark, and the number of newly signed sales contracts dropped sharply.

According to LVR data, 2,542 sales were canceled last month, up 94 percent from March 2019, Press Release Distribution Service and buyers inked 3,175 sales contracts, down 24 percent.

LVR President Tom Blanchard, of Renters Warehouse, said that despite increased cancellations, the jump in closed sales “goes to show you how good our market has been,” though he expects “different numbers in the coming months as this virus affects the pipeline of sales.”

He added, “It just makes me wonder just how good the numbers would have been without this virus hitting us.”

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