And Now … Too Few Homes on the Market?

Jared Jones is a big fish in Las Vegas real estate. For the past couple of years, he has been among the top 10 producing agents in the nation. In 2010, he topped 900 transactions, a clip of about two to three closings a day. He admits that pace may be tougher to achieve in 2012, if not impossible. But more importantly, buying a home may seem virtually impossible this year.

Passed in May 2011, and effective in October, AB 284 reset foreclosure procedures for Nevada banks. Now, with banks learning the new rules, the foreclosure pipeline has come to a virtual standstill. Housing supply has been shrinking rapidly. Throughout 2011, roughly 11,000 houses were available to the market on any given day, Jones says. As of February, it has dropped to about 6,500.

At this pace, the Horizon Realty broker and salesman says about four out of 10 properties are sold in less than 30 days. He anticipates supply levels to drop to 3,000 or maybe even lower by summer, the height of the buying and selling season. At that point, eight out of 10 homes will be gone in 30 days or less, a pace not seen since 2004.

As for appreciation? Jones says the median asking price from November 2011 to February 2012 has risen nearly 12 percent, from $139,000 to $155,000. It’s only logical that prices will rise this year, he says, though he refrained from predicting how high. The big question is, once they rise, can they hold?