Bump in new-home sales surprises builders

Southern Nevada’s unseasonably warm winter might have given a boost to new-home sales in the new year.

New numbers from Home Builders Research show a big spike in traffic and sales activity inside local model-home communities. Net sales doubled from December to January to roughly 0.9 sales per subdivision per week, matching the brisk pace of early 2014, the report showed.

“It’s not at any type of record pace for our market, but it is a very positive turnaround from the lackluster activity during the last two quarters of 2014,” said Dennis Smith, the firm’s president and CEO, in the report. “Frankly, we are a bit surprised that demand has improved so quickly in 2015.”

Smith said a number of factors likely have led to the gains. First, “postcard” weather, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s for much of January, made it easy for consumers to be out and about.

Also, buyers are “coming off the fence” because they’re convinced interest rates will rise this year, Smith said.

He added that it’s “inevitable” rates will rise, but when or by how much isn’t yet clear. But even small jumps could rein in early 2015’s sales improvements, he said.

“Let’s face it, the housing market is still very fragile. Regardless of how much some try to pump up the sustainability of the housing industry, professionals who follow not only the numbers but also the ‘feel’ of the demand understand it would take very little to reverse the current positive trend,” he said. “Therefore, it would take not much of an increase in interest rates to thwart and reverse the recent gains in housing sales.”

Insider look at homebuilding

A custom-home community in Henderson wants to help potential clients understand the building process.

Ascaya, a 313-lot neighborhood in the McCullough Mountains south of town, is hosting free workshops for architects, builders and members of the public March 15 and April 19, from 1 to 2:30 at 808 Roma Hills Avenue.

Workshops will include representatives from Nevada State Bank, an architecture studio and a home-building company. The professionals will share tips on the custom-home building process, timelines and budgets.

“If you are interested in building your own home but don’t know what that entails, this is the perfect place to learn,” said Darin Marques, Ascaya’s sales manager.

“The architect will discuss how to start designing your home. Participants will have a chance to discuss their lifestyles and needs to determine an overall concept. The banking representative will discuss the lending process including lot loans, construction loans and take-out loans. And the builder will share their processes for bidding, negotiating the budget and managing the construction process. It is a great overview of the three main processes involved in building a custom home,” Marques said.

To RSVP, call 702-978-5800

Contact Jennifer Robison at Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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