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New laws give boost to residential real estate

Nevada Realtors say the recently wrapped state legislative session was a positive one for the real estate industry.

Most important was Assembly Bill 125, a construction-defect reform law that took effect in February. The law, called the Homeowners Protection Act, narrows the definition of what constitutes a defect, curbs trial attorneys’ fees and requires specific descriptions of defects. It also cut the statute of limitations from 10 years to six, and prohibits HOA boards from filing defect suits on behalf of homes in their communities.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said when he signed the bill that it would discourage “frivolous litigation and strengthen Nevada’s rebounding housing market.”

Kevin Sigstad, president of the Nevada Association of Realtors, said June 4 that the law should “expedite the growth and recovery of an area of the housing market that has been lagging — construction of new town homes and low-rise condominiums.”

Because town houses and condos are common-interest communities, it was easy for HOA boards to bring an entire community into a lawsuit in which a few homes had defects. That made attached homes popular targets of defect lawsuits.

The new law will also give homeowners the right to address and repair defects before costly litigation, Sigstad said.

Other new laws favorable to the real estate sector include Assembly Bill 201, which closed legal loopholes that allowed local governments to use eminent domain to seize mortgages from distressed homeowners, and Assembly Bill 386, which gives law enforcement more tools to evict squatters, including making it a crime.

Also, Senate Joint Resolution 13 would amend the state constitution to limit some property taxes. To become law, the Legislature would have to approve it again in 2017, and voters would have to approve it in a 2018 referendum.

Realtors’ income slips

Incomes among Realtors dipped nationwide in 2014, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

The report traced the drop to a decline in existing-home sales, which lagged year-over-year levels until October, plus more Realtors signing up for membership, said the trade group’s economist, Lawrence Yun.

The typical Realtor closed on 11 transactions in 2014, down from 12 in 2013. Median gross income fell to $45,800, compared with $47,700.

Still, median income was the second-highest since the recession, and up more than 5 percent from 2012, when it was $43,500.

Income increased with years in the industry. Realtors in business for more than 16 years earned $68,200 on 13 transactions. Those with three to five years of experience made $37,400 on 10 transactions.

Members of the National Association of Realtors account for about half of the nation’s 2 million active real estate licensees.

Prologis center ready

Just as Panattoni Development Co. broke ground June 3 on its 452,710-square-foot, six-building Henderson Freeways Crossing industrial project at West Lake Mead Drive and Eastgate Road, another industrial developer was wrapping up on another big project across town.

Prologis’ Las Vegas Corporate Center No. 19 received its certificate of occupation on June 3, contractor TWC Construction announced.

The 464,200-square-foot building, on 27 acres at Pecos and Gowan roads, broke ground in September as the largest local spec industrial space to be built since the recession.

“We are thrilled to have met the very aggressive schedule set forth by our client and delivered this completed building to them on time,” said Matt Ryba, CEO of TWC Construction. “It is a testament to the skill and professionalism of the TWC team and I am very proud of our achievement.”

The Cliffs breaks ground

Nevada’s biggest master-planned community has taken a big, new step in its future development.

Summerlin broke ground June 10 on The Cliffs, its first residential village in more than a decade.

The Cliffs, at Summerlin’s southernmost tip near Hualapai Way and Patrick Lane, will have 1,700 homes in 11 neighborhoods. Neighborhoods will include Regency, a luxury, age-qualified community by upscale housing developer Toll Brothers.

The Cliffs will be the 20th of 31 planned villages in Summerlin.

Land within the village’s 450 acres is already home to the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park and Faiss Middle School.

Summerlin has 5,400 acres of its 22,500-acre footprint left to develop.

The last Summerlin village to break ground was The Mesa, in 2004.

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