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Area Realtors seeing ‘rush’ of boomerang buyers

A new homebuyer demographic is emerging in Southern Nevada.

And that market segment could make up a substantial share of the buying public through much of the next decade.

A new report from RealtyTrac says the Las Vegas Valley will lead the nation from 2015 through 2022 for its share of boomerang buyers, or homebuyers who went through foreclosure or short sale in the downturn and are able to buy again.

RealtyTrac says Southern Nevada will be home to 220,660 potential boomerang buyers in the next seven years. That population is the equivalent of 26.3 percent of the city’s entire housing stock. And that means that boomerang buyers will make up well more than a quarter of local buyers in coming years, because most homes don’t go on the market in a given year, said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Local brokers say they’re already seeing a surge in boomerang buyers.

Joanne Stucky, a Realtor with Realty Executives of Nevada, said she’s seen a “huge” jump in such buyers since Jan. 1, with queries from the segment up 10 times over what they were three months ago.

“It’s almost a rush. They’re absolutely a growing share,” she said. “Everyone who has done a short sale or foreclosure who is still here is counting the days until they can get a loan to come back into the marketplace.”

And Bryan Kyle, owner and managing broker of First Serve Realty, said he sees evidence of new boomerang buyers “daily” in the 250 rental homes his company manages.

“Many long-term tenants are now giving notice and are now ready to buy again,” he said.

It’s still a challenge to get boomerang buyers qualified for a loan, Blomquist acknowledged, but the median single-family home price — $202,000 in December, down from $315,000 at the 2006 peak — makes it easier to be approved, he said.

If there are concerns that boomerang buyers are riskier because of their past, experts say not to worry.

“A large segment of this population was not intrinsically risky, but they were risky given the loan amounts and terms they were given during the bubble. That’s what made them risky, as opposed to their income,” Blomquist said.

And there’s evidence from boomerang buyers themselves that they were chastened by their circumstances and don’t want to make the same mistakes again.

“I have already decided that I will not overpay for a home and the lender better have a stellar reputation, because I will never lose another house again,” said Las Vegan Irene King. “So this boomerang buyer, a responsible older person who makes a good living but who got caught in an untenable situation, is cold-eyed and my BS-ometer is on full force.”

New-home market sags

Statistics from late 2014 indicate the new-home market weakened toward the end of the year.

Builder Magazine’s local housing data showed that new-home closings totaled 458 units in October, a 17.3 percent drop compared with October 2013.

That falloff was steeper than September’s year-over-year decline of 12.4 percent, the magazine reported.

The new-home market’s share of all closings also declined: New-home sales made up 10.8 percent of all closings in October, compared with 11.2 percent in the same month a year ago.

Also, foreclosures and bank sales abated in October, but continued to be a substantial drag on the market, the analysis said. Such sales made up 28.5 percent of existing-home closings, down from 31.6 percent a year earlier.

Builder’s study also found that attached units grew their share of the new-home market, accounting for 4.4 percent of all sales.

That was up from 3.2 percent in October 2013.

Also, the average size of newly sold homes fell 25.7 percent year over year, to 1,635 square feet.

Contact Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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