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Las Vegas ranked high as market for entry-level homes

Constrained land supplies, sluggish permitting processes, competition from more affordable resales — the local new-homes market has plenty of obstacles in its way.

But two recent reports show consumer demand, at least, won’t be among the issues builders face in 2015.

Start with a study from online housing marketplace Zillow, which ranked Las Vegas No. 4 on its list of 2015 Best Markets for First-Time Home Buyers.

Zillow based its analysis on income data, growth in home values and the number of entry-level homes on the market. Other cities in the top five were Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Hartford, Conn.

Expect much of the new demand to come from Generation Y, the 20-something millennials who’ve largely sat out the homebuying market as they’ve struggled with student-loan debts and above-average unemployment.

Zillow said millennials will finally jump off the sidelines as rents continue to rise and prices of homes for sale stabilize.

“That economic reality, increased inventory and millennials getting married and having children after delaying those choices will give buyers more negotiating power,” the company’s researchers said.

Zillow economists said they expect 2015 to be the year that Generation Y overtakes Generation X as the largest homebuying segment.

Another online marketplace, Trulia, suggested in its 2015 outlook that rising confidence among home sellers will mean more supply.

In its consumer surveys, which didn’t break down results by market, Trulia found that consumers “are as optimistic about the housing market as at any point since the recovery started.”

Nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed homeownership was part of their American Dream, the same share as in the fourth quarter of 2013 and slightly above the averages of the last three years.

Among consumers 18 to 34, 78 percent said homeownership was part of their dream. That was up from 73 percent in 2013’s fourth quarter, and well above a low of 65 percent in the third quarter of 2011. What’s more, 93 percent of young renters said they plan to buy a home someday — unchanged from a year ago despite higher prices.

“Selling a home” ranked No. 1 on the list of real estate activities consumers think will fare best in 2015. More than a third — 36 percent — said 2015 will be better than 2014 for selling. Just 16 percent said it would be worse.

Still, there are barriers to homeownership. Saving for a down payment was the biggest hurdle, cited by about 55 percent of respondents. Credit history ranked No. 2, with roughly 40 percent of consumers citing it as a potential problem. Close behind at No. 3 was qualifying for a mortgage. Other potential issues included rising home prices and lacking a stable job.

Housing’s transition should continue in 2015, as it continues its slow move from a recovery-driven market heavy on investors to a more traditional market based on sustainable fundamentals such as job growth, rising incomes and new household formation.

But those fundamentals aren’t at full strength yet, so Trulia’s economists left open the possibility that 2015’s housing market might “disappoint by some measures.”

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Distressed center sold

Brokers with CBRE recently helped close the sale of a distressed commercial property on the Las Vegas Valley’s southwest side.

Charles Moore, Marlene Fujita Winkel and Ashley Kolaczynski represented court-appointed receiver Michael Forche in the $1.53 million sale of Tropicana Arville Center.

The 32,711-square-foot Class C flex space at 4970 Arville St. has two buildings — a retail, office and warehouse building and a retail pad. The center has three tenants, as well as available suites ranging from 1,292 square feet to 8,188 square feet.

Clark County assessor’s records show new owner is Val Schwartz LLC of Las Vegas. The entity bought the center at a November trustee sale.

Assessor files also show the prior owner, Arville Street Equity Partners of California, bought the property for $3.64 million in 2004. The Clark County treasurer’s office took possession of the center in June to reclaim roughly $67,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

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Leaders graduate

The Nevada Association of Realtors recently graduated its 15th LeadershipNVAR class.

The year-long program, designed to spot and develop emerging industry leaders, held its graduation ceremony Dec. 5 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno. Graduates were: Jane Armstrong-Morse, Janet Carpenter and Vandana Chima-Bhalla, all of Signature Real Estate Group in Las Vegas; Alexandra Cleary and Angelica Reyes, of Re/Max Professionals in Reno; Jim Fong and Julie Youngblood, of Keller Williams Realty Southwest in Las Vegas; Robert Little, of Re/Max Advantage in Henderson; Dawn Mitton, of Allie Bear Real Estate in Elko; Antonette Shaw, of Ferrari-Lund Real Estate in Sparks; David Tina, of Urban Nest Realty in Las Vegas; Lisa Weber, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties in Las Vegas; and Darra Williams, of Signature Gallery of Homes in Henderson.

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

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