Las Vegas Real Estate Investments - Is the Boom Over or Just Getting Started?

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Real estate investors flocked to Las Vegas during the first six months of 2004 and drove prices up an unprecedented 35% in some parts of the Valley according to top Century 21 agent Diann Tonnesen. And she predicts that the beginning of 2005 will see more of the same.

A scarcity of vacant land for developers to build on and a continuing influx of over 6,000 new residents a month quickly turned the Las Vegas real estate market into a battlefield last spring. Buyers found themselves in multiple offer situations as they competed against up to ten other hopefuls for a dwindling supply of homes. Much of this money was being shifted out of the California market where rental income had hit a ceiling due to the high prices, and savvy investors were liquidating their properties in order to take advantage of the better cash returns Las Vegas and Henderson real estate investments could offer. Most new home builders quickly placed a moratorium on investor purchases to prevent future competition from buyers who "flipped" their new home purchases and cashed in on quick profits.

It is estimated that more Las Vegas homes sold for over list price in just a few months last spring than in the previous five years combined. In July the Bureau of Land Management auctioned off 1940 acres of unimproved land in Henderson for a record shattering $287,000 per acre to Focus Property Group. In order to make its winning bid Focus joined forces with seven homebuilders who will develop the parcel as a master planned community. The homebuilders included KB Home, Toll Brothers, Woodside Homes, Kimball Hill Homes, Pardee Homes, Meritage Homes and Beazer Homes.

In late July and August, however, the dramatic upward surge rapidly ceased as new homes (purchased by investors who were under contract before the moratorium was implemented) finished construction and went back on the market. In addition, local residents who had already toyed with the idea of moving out of state decided to cash in on the bonanza profits as well. Through the end of October the supply of Las Vegas homes for sale increased steadily, investor purchases settled back to a normal pace and prices even decreased slightly as the market stabilized.

But the big international real estate investors are already zeroing in on the newest "hot buy" in the valley - luxury Las Vegas high rise condos and condotels. Downtown Las Vegas is becoming urbanized and major developers from all over the world have over 80 new Las Vegas preconstruction condo projects on the books. Many sites have already sold out and have not yet broken ground. "Las Vegas has barely scratched the surface of the luxury condo market," said Bruce Langson, a Las Vegas native and developer of Las Vegas Central. He said there's a 20,000-unit deficit of Las Vegas condos at this time. Even famous actors like Leonardo DiCaprio are purchasing units for their own private residences as they become available.

Springtime also promises to be interesting on the Las Vegas new homes front again. The vacant land crunch is still in effect for the new home builders and as of the end of November the supply of new homes is once more diminishing as the investor owned properties are finally selling off. Focus Property Group will not be able to begin sales on its latest project until 2006. Plus the baby boomers are coming into their own, and Las Vegas is their number one retirement destination. So look for another burst of excitement in a few months as the dynamic Las Vegas real estate market takes another leap in pricing.

For more information on Las Vegas real estate investment opportunites please contact:

Diann Tonnesen

Century 21 Las Vegas

702-596-7821

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