Investors, Future Homeowners Battle for Keys

By Brian Brennan, Reporter – bio | email
By Mark Zamora, Photojournalist – email

LAS VEGAS — Financial institutions are driving up Las Vegas home values, but at the same time, they may also pushing out the average person trying to buy.

A new report by RealtyTrac shows Las Vegas as one of the top cities for short sales and homes bought in cash. That’s good or bad, depending where you are in the market.

Outside investment groups are pouring money into homes across the valley, brining the median price of a Las Vegas home to $155,000 in Sept — which is 20 percent more than the year before, RealtyTrac reported.

“It’s good for homeowners who are already holding property. It’s driving prices north, so that’s a positive in creating more wealth and more equity,” said Brian Gordon of Applied Analysis. “For buyers trying to get in on the market, it’s a little tough to get in their offer accepted over cash buyers.”

Deep pockets contributed to more than six out of 10 homes sold in September being bought with cash.

Realtor Fafie Moore has been in the market before and after Vegas’ housing meltdown and said it’s big investors which made a rebound possible.

“You have no utilities turned on, you have no one caring for the yard, you have an increase in crime so for us to find people that were buying the properties is a good thing for Las Vegas,” said Moore.

However, for the “average” person looking to buy, the competition is fierce. Just ask John Littlejohn who has made bids on eight homes, losing each time to investors ready to pay up front.

“It is frustrating to a normal, regular guy trying to buy a home. You can’t compete with that,” he said.

There might be a silver lining, however. Gordon said future homeowners who need a loan before buying could soon see house values stabilizing.

“Availability is rising, there’s more resales in the market, so that dynamic is shifting and making it more possible for folks to finance some of those purchases,” said Gordon.

That could equal good news for the little guy trying to go up against the big investor.


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