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Numbers confirm housing misses target

Year-end local housing numbers fell below early forecasts, and factors that stymied home sales in 2014 likely will be in play through 2015 as well.

Analysis firm Home Builders Research tallied 6,007 new-home closings across the Las Vegas Valley in 2014, about 1,000 units below most industry projections a year ago. The sales total was also off by 1,296 sales, or 17.8 percent, compared with 2013.

Home Builders Research President and CEO Dennis Smith blamed the sales slide on delays in processing final maps of new communities in Clark County’s jurisdiction.

Smith said the delays “possibly” cost the market another 200 or so closings in 2014, as project openings were pushed into 2015. Expect more of the same in 2015, he said, though “pressure from the (home-building) industry through the ‘political network’ may bring (delays) down in a few months.”

Also, demand should stay solid through 2015, and the Federal Reserve likely won’t raise interest rates by much through year’s end, Smith added.

The median price of a new home in December was $291,785, a drop of $6,816, or 2.2 percent, compared with December 2013. Delayed project permitting makes it tough to forecast where prices will go in 2015, Smith said, but because land prices have risen in recent quarters, expect home prices to tick up as well, perhaps by as much as $25,000.

Builders pulled 6,623 new-home permits in 2014, down 343 permits, or 4.9 percent, when measured against 2013. That should improve to as many as 7,250 permits in the year ahead.

As weak as 2014 seemed on its surface, it could have been worse: Smith said many builders don’t feel that 2014 was as bad as it looks on paper when compared to 2013, which was an especially strong year. Compared to 2012, which saw the market hit lows early on before it began recovering strongly late in the year, 2014’s new-home closings were still up by 463 units, or 8.4 percent.

Loan center to Reno

Guild Mortgage has a new operations center to handle loans in the Southwest United States, including the Las Vegas market.

The 16-employee center, located at 5390 Kietzke Lane in Reno, will process, underwrite and fund home loans coming from the San Diego-based company’s Green Valley, Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe branches.

Guild’s Nevada branches closed in 2014 on 2,542 loans totaling $502.7 million — a company record for the state.

Kevin Green, a mortgage veteran with more than 20 years of experience in the Reno area, will serve as the center’s operations manager.

Builders plan events

The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association has scheduled two big events for its membership.

The trade group will hold its Builder Breakfast networking meeting from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Feb. 18 inside The Orleans Hotel Conference Center at 4500 W. Tropicana Ave. Geoff Gorman of Touchstone Living, Larry Simon of Pardee Homes and Frank Wyatt of Pinnacle Homes will talk about their companies’ plans for development and share near-term market projections.

The association also has scheduled its Spring Builders Golf Classic for May 15 at the Paiute Golf Resort in the northwest Las Vegas Valley. The association will kick off player registration in February.

Sketching workshop

Architect Edward Vance of EV&A Architects will host a “Sketching Architecture” workshop Feb. 5 in collaboration with the UNLV School of Architecture, UNLV Galleries and the Marjorie Barrick Museum. The event, which is free and open to the public, will give guests an opportunity to watch Vance perform a sketching demonstration and participate in a question-and-answer session.

The workshop begins at 5:30 p.m. inside the Marjorie Barrick Museum at 4505 S. Maryland Parkway.

Vance is a featured architect in a museum exhibit called “Reflecting and Projecting: Twenty Years of Design Excellence.” The exhibit, on display until Feb. 28, focuses on projects that won the American Institute of Architects’ Nevada Excellence in Design Award from 1994 to 2014.

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

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