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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Lawler: Las Vegas Absentee Buyer Share Up Despite Plunge in “Distressed” Sales

by Calculated Risk on 5/05/2013 09:55:00 AM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

Dataquick released its March home sales report for the Las Vegas Region based on property records, and the data highlighted that despite a plunge in REO sales, the all-cash and absentee buyer share of home sales increased from a year ago. Here are some stats on shares from the report.

Selected Share of New And Resale Home Sales, Las Vegas
Absentee Buyer Share of Total Sales51.2%53.2%
All-Cash Share of Total Sales54.4%54.5%
Foreclosure Share of Resales47.0%13.5%
Estimated Short-Sales Share of Resales28.2%33.1%

According to the report, six buyers purchased 10 or more homes last month (excluding foreclosed homes sold at auction, and these six buyers combined purchased 255 homes – nearly 40% of total “multi-home” buyer purchases.

Based on these sales and share of sales stats, here are some different ways to look at home sales in Vegas for March of the last three years (note: Dataquick revised its methodology for estimating short sales, and has not released revised estimates for 2011).

March Home Sales, Las Vegas RegionYOY % Chg
Absentee Buyer2,4722,5712,3864.0%-7.2%
Primary Residence2,4812,4502,099-1.2%-14.3%
Mortgage Financed2,2782,2902,0410.5%-10.9%
Foreclosure Resale2,5832,086513-19.2%-75.4%
Non-Foreclosure Resale1,9242,3533,28822.3%39.7%
Non-Foreclosure Total2,3702,9353,97223.8%35.3%
Short Sale ResaleNA1,2521,258NA0.5%
Non-Distressed ResaleNA1,1012,030NA84.4%
Non-Distressed TotalNA1,6832,714NA61.3%
Multi-Home BuyersN/A539647N/A20.0%

The number of homes purchased by households for their primary residence this March was down 14.3% from last March, suggesting that “owner demand” was soft in March. New home sales, however, were up 17.5% YOY (though from a low base), suggesting a decent pickup from a year ago. And mortgage-financed sales were down 10.9% from a year ago, suggesting that low mortgage rates weren’t fueling much home demand.

If one’s preferred metric is either non-foreclosure or “non-distressed” sales, however, then the Vegas market looked “sizzling,” as non-foreclosure sales this March showed a YOY increase of 39.7%, and non-distressed (sales ex foreclosures and short sales) a YOY jump of 61.3%. The reason, of course, is that while foreclosure sales plunged and short sales were little changed, absentee buyers dramatically increased their purchases of non-foreclosure (and to a lesser extent non-distressed) properties.