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Home sales, prices yo-yo
by Joshua H. Silavent
Nov 18, 2011 | 1194 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune File/John Byrne - Prices of homes in Sparks continued to go up and down in October with 147 home sales — up 23 percent from 2010.
Tribune File/John Byrne - Prices of homes in Sparks continued to go up and down in October with 147 home sales — up 23 percent from 2010.
SPARKS — Home sales in Sparks last month showed continued signs of improvement compared with the same time period one year ago, but median sales prices continue to fluctuate, evidence that the local real estate market remains unsettled.

In October, 147 homes sold in Sparks, a 23 percent jump from one year ago, according to figures compiled by Mitch Argon, an agent with CalNeva Realty. However, about 30 fewer homes sold last month than did in September.

The median sales price of all homes sold in the city last month was $145,000, an increase of about $500 from the prior month but a 12 percent decline from October 2010.

With the median sales price low, and with a solid six months of inventory, the local real estate market remains primed for buyers.

According to Argon, “With two months to go in 2010, Sparks has a real possibility of more homes sold this year than during 2005, the peak year, which saw 1,896 homes sold.”

For current and prospective homeowners, a new state law, which aims to eliminate illegal foreclosures by placing new requirements and conditions on lenders, might contribute to rising sales and home prices. The result, Argon said in his Greater Reno-Tahoe Real Estate Report, is a dramatic decline in the number of notices of default (NOD) issued last month. A NOD is the first step in the formal foreclosure process.

According to Washoe County recording statistics compiled by Ticor Title, NOD filings fell to 13 in October from 613 in September.

“Based on this dramatic drop in NOD filings,” Argon said, “we could see a similar drop in REO listing activity within a four- to six-month period from now. With the foreclosure market comprising about 30 to 35 percent of total homes sold each month, this has potential to materially impact our local real estate market inventory and pricing.”

REO means real-estate owned, which can include bank-owned or government-owned property.

Argon believes it is only a matter of time before the effects of the new state law become visible in the marketplace.

“We will only learn the full effects over the next several months,” he said. “Some possibilities include a more aggressive and timely effort from banks to process and approve short sales, a temporary price stabilization due to the loss of REO inventory …”
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