The Las Vegas housing market is cooling off. Although home prices increased about 10 percent in 2014, that’s a much slower pace than the previous few years, and the number of total sales was its lowest in at least six years, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. There are less homes on the market in general, but there are also less bank-owned and distressed homes out there.
So is now a good time to buy? That depends on your intention. If you’re looking for a quick flip or sure-fire investment, then no, probably not. The trend is toward stabilization, not rapid growth. But if you’re looking for a reasonably priced house to truly make a home, and enjoy a still-super-low rate on a mortgage? Then, yeah, go for it. And even if you’re searching in the considerably more scarce areas of Las Vegas adjacent to Downtown, there are plenty of options worth checking out. We found several recent listings to get you started.
First up, and on the lower end of the pricing scale, is a three-bedroom, 1.75-bathroom ranch-style house at 1717 Lamplighter Lane, just east of Francisco Park near East Sahara Avenue and Spencer Street. At $149,900 and only 1,152 square feet, it may seem a bit overpriced for the area, but the sellers appear to have put a lot of work into the house, and it’s still $75,000 less than its peak sale in 2005. The upgrades go beyond your basic quick-flip Home Depot bargain approach, too. There are custom cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, two-tone paint throughout, new tub and shower, stainless steel appliances, and even though the countertops are, yes, granite, they’re not the marble-look standard found across the valley. And the backyard has a built-in, brick barbecue, to boot. This one won’t likely last long.
Not far from there is a property that should be familiar to longtime readers of this column: 1632 Bonita Ave., which is back on the market, and priced higher than it was when we first told you about it. The 3,124-square-foot, two-story home—which offers such stunning features as two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows, a spiral staircase leading to an open loft, stone tile flooring, a massive pool, and a backyard terrace—is listed at $319,000, which is awfully close to its 2005 peak of $330,000, but is still only $102 per square foot. That’s above than the neighborhood median (and $44K more than it was in 2013), but there aren’t many homes in the area outfitted like this one. Plus, the house was the longtime residence of former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan, who passed away in 2004. It’s got history.
Next, we move over to McNeil Estates, where a 2,598-square-foot house at 2801 Gilmary Ave. (pictured at top) is listed for $249,900. That’s only $96 a square foot for a spacious, five-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom home sitting on an almost 10,000-square-foot lot. It may not sound like a deal, but the median price per foot in McNeil is $140, so even though this house needs more than a little TLC—looks aside, it has great bones and boasts such features like a sunken living room, breakfast bar and wood-burning, brick fireplace—it could be a reasonable entry into a very desirable neighborhood for someone with the resources and time to restore it.
Finally, for the ballers out there (come on, there have to be a few ballers reading this from the deck of their yachts or whatever, right?), there’s a four-bedroom, 4.25-bathroom estate in gated Rancho Nevada Estates at 2808 Ashworth Circle listed for $549,000. The sprawling house, which sits on a half-acre lot, has the requisite circular driveway, pool/spa and walk-in closets the size of small bedrooms, but it also offers some unique bonus features, like a “secret” garden area hidden behind a tree-shrouded fence, a second-floor suite with private terrace, and a mirrored dance/exercise studio adjacent to the first-floor master suite. There are some, er, questionable paint color choices throughout (mauve, teal and purple among them), but we figure if you can afford this house, you can probably afford a few buckets of paint. And at $140 a square foot, this home is actually one of the lowest-priced properties for sale in this tony area.