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New-home numbers painting vibrant picture

The Las Vegas Valley’s new-homes market posted gains in several areas in May.

From prices to permits, indicators showed notable improvements that will likely continue into the second half of the year, according to analysis firm Home Builders Research.

Start with sales, which came in at 2,360 through the first five months of 2015, up 8.9 percent when measured against the same period in 2014.

Also, May’s median closing price of $315,250 was up $35,350, or 12.6 percent, including a one-month jump of $9,546, or 3.1 percent, from April. It’s possible that double-digit percentage price increases will reign across most parts of the new-home sector at the end of the year, said Dennis Smith, president of Home Builders Research.

And permits made up the most ground of all, spiking by 23.3 percent in the first five months of the year, to 3,289.

“That is an impressive gain in annual permit activity,” Smith said.

He added that strong weekly traffic inside local new-home subdivisions early in 2015 portended the boost in new starts.

The market isn’t without its challenges.

Market share of affordable homes has continued to shrink. New-home closings priced below $200,000 made up just 2.7 percent of the market in May, down from 18.3 percent in 2013, and 7.8 percent in September.

Plus, the number of listings of single-family resales has remained relatively flat in recent months. If that changes and listings grow quickly, that could hurt the new-home segment, Smith said.

Also, millennials don’t seem ready to buy, the result of high levels of student debt and difficulties qualifying for home loans. Millennials could play a vital role in making up for the loss of investor sales, Smith said, but they’re not able to help out just yet.

Still, broader economic trends — including job growth well above the national average — look “pretty positive” for Las Vegas, Smith said.

“The number of unemployed is improving steadily … suggesting Las Vegas has turned the corner on the recovery and growth is imminent,” he said.

Brokerage expands

One of Southern Nevada’s biggest residential brokerages has opened a California post.

Americana Holdings, which operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, has opened its new division — Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

The franchise will operate in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties.

The first office, in Yorba Linda, opened June 29. A second office, in Brea, is scheduled to launch in July. There’ll be a third location later this year, said Gordon Miles, president and chief operating officer of Americana Holdings.

The Nevada and Arizona branches have nearly 2,000 real estate sales executives in 20 offices. The franchise is the fourth largest in the Berkshire Hathaway system.

Course in retrofits

Curious about how to determine whether a deep energy retrofit might be worth the investment for commercial landlords?

The Institute of Real Estate Management and Rocky Mountain Institute have an educational program for you.

The groups have partnered to develop a series of interactive online courses that will show you how to crunch the numbers on a retrofit design and its effect on a property’s value.

The classes are designed to “empower professionals in the investment real estate industry to make a compelling case to move projects forward with owners, investors and other stakeholders,” said Michael Bendewald, a manager and author with Rocky Mountain Institute.

To enroll or for more information, email sustainability@irem.org, or call 312-329-6096.

Home Builders active

The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association has scheduled its fall golf tournament and is looking for participants and sponsors.

The tournament is scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Revere Golf Club at Henderson’s Anthem community.

As of late June, 26 of 54 possible foursomes are sold or committed to the “Bid on a Builder” silent auction. Four of 27 tee sponsorships are left, as is the top sponsorship — tournament host.

If you’re interested in the host sponsorship, email Monica Caruso, at monica@snhba.com.

Sponsors on board include Comfort Engineering, KB Home, Wright Engineers, NV Energy, Raptor Plumbing, Cal Pac Painting, Cadence, CAMCO, Classic Door &Trim and FirstService.

In other association news, the trade group’s HomeAid Southern Nevada received an Award of Merit and was a finalist for a Grand Award in the Gold Nugget Awards from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in late June. The group was recognized in the Building Industry Community Spirit Awards for its Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth Drop-in Center project.

Also, the American Society of Association Executives named the association a Gold Award winner for HomeAid Southern Nevada’s work in the community. HomeAid is in the running for one of six summit awards.

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