Cautious home sellers avoiding market

Consumers may be optimistic about housing’s long-term prospects, but those feelings aren’t pushing cautious sellers into the market.

That’s the word from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ latest Homeowner Sentiment Survey, which interviewed more than 2,500 respondents nationwide in July.

A sizable majority — 71 percent — said U.S. real estate is heading in the “right direction.” But among those who are thinking about selling but haven’t listed, 73 percent say they’re concerned about home prices that haven’t recovered to prerecession levels. Another 61 percent said uneasiness about the economy has kept them on the sidelines as well.

In Las Vegas, the median resale price was $218,000 in July, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. That was up from a recession low of $118,000 in 2012, but it was well below the 2006 peak of $315,000.

Research firm CoreLogic said in early September that among all states, Nevada’s home prices were the farthest below their boom-era highs.

“Though home prices around the country have recovered much of the ground lost during the downturn, contemplators are telling us they want more confidence in the decision to list,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices parent HSF Affiliates. “They’re also telling us they need more information about their markets, pricing and specific home improvement in order to list.”

Another barrier to listing is negative equity. Among homeowners surveyed, 68 percent said underwater mortgages are a listing sticking point.

The Las Vegas Valley has one of the nation’s worst negative-equity rates, with roughly a quarter of all local households with mortgages owing at least 25 percent more on their loan than their home is worth, based on recent numbers from research firm RealtyTrac.

Other issues cited in the survey included credit woes, tough lending guidelines and difficulty competing with cash investors for homes.

Blefari said it’s a market that calls more than ever on brokers to communicate with consumers. More than half of respondents considering listing their home said they’d be likelier to pull the trigger with more information on the home-selling process.

“Education is essential in today’s market,” Blefari said. “The stage is set for real estate professionals to connect with consumers, learn their needs and concerns and determine the best way for sellers and buyers to capitalize on the opportunities that exist today.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has about 2,000 agents between its Nevada and Arizona offices.

PENTA makes a point

Work stoppages aren’t always welcome in the construction world.

But PENTA Building Group shuts down its sites on a quarterly basis to raise awareness about safety on the job.

Its most recent “Safety Stand Down,” on Sept. 1, included all of PENTA’s 1,500 employees nationwide, including 1,000 in Las Vegas. The event focused on hand safety — particularly causes of hand injuries, preventive measures and glove and safety procedures. There were also hand-safety demonstrations and awards for safe subcontractor and exceptional leadership.

The quarterly stand-downs are part of PENTA’s “Exceptional Safety” campaign.

PENTA has offices in Las Vegas; Reno; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Palm Desert, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

The company renovated the SLS Las Vegas for its 2014 opening, and is now working on the Lucky Dragon, a boutique hotel-casino under construction on Sahara Avenue just west of the Strip.


NAIOP talks education

Education is on the agenda at NAIOP Southern Nevada’s September luncheon meeting.

On Sept. 17, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. inside The Orleans at 4500 W. Tropicana Ave., the commercial development trade group will host a panel of experts for a presentation called “What’s Working in K-12 Education — Perspectives From the Front Lines.”

Panelists are state Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas and assistant principal of Somerset Academy’s Lone Mountain campus; Lisa Adams, principal of International Christian Academy; Caroline McIntosh, director of Nevada Virtual Academy; and Dr. Pamela Simone, principal of Cambeiro Elementary School. Suzette LaGrange of Colliers International will moderate the discussion, which is sponsored by NV Energy.

Be there at 11:30 for registration and networking, and bring slightly used, clean men’s and women’s business attire: It’ll be your last chance to drop off donations for NAIOP’s clothing drive benefiting Communities in Schools of Nevada.

For more information, call 702-798-7194.

Ascaya workshops

Henderson’s mountainside Ascaya development has scheduled two workshops for potential buyers interested in working with architects and builders who handle projects in the 313-lot custom-home community.

The workshops are scheduled for Sept. 20 and Oct. 18, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at 1 Ascaya Blvd. They’re free and open to the public.

“With some of the country’s top architects involved at ASCAYA, the possibilities for building a truly stunning custom home are endless,” said Darin Marques, Ascaya’s sales manager.

The sessions will also feature lending representatives from Nevada State Bank.

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