Last month, 149 single-family homes sold in Sparks and Spanish Springs, a 13 percent increase from November 2010 but a 1 percent decrease from the previous month, according to data released by the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors.
The median sales price for an existing single-family residence in November was $139,900, a 10 percent decrease from one year ago and a 1 percent decrease from October.
“November sales are up 13 percent over last year in Sparks and year-to-date unit sales have exceeded 2010,” said Kevin Sigstad, 2011 president-elect of the RSAR. “We have also seen relatively stable prices for the past seven months. These are positive indicators for the residential housing market.”
Of course, median sales prices remain exceptionally low, which is good for buyers but bad for sellers.
“We haven’t seen prices make the same rebound (as home sales),” Argon said.
However, inventory is beginning to shrink.
Months of inventory in Sparks fell below six months for the first time all year, according to data compiled by Mitch Argon, an agent with CalNeva Realty, in his monthly Greater Reno-Tahoe Real Estate Report.
As inventory declines, sales prices will head in the opposite direction. Additionally, Argon said, less inventory might force more timely processing of short sales.
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 of the new law has been a dramatic decline in the number of notices of default (NOD) issued the past two months. 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 and 15 in November from 613 in September.
“The percentage of bank-owned sales remains consistent with where it has been in previous months,” Argon said, “however, it is not unreasonable to expect the bank-owned inventory to decrease dramatically in the second quarter of 2012.”
In 2012, Argon said he expects to see both demand and sales rise, though prices might remain below year-over-year averages.
One bright side Argon is already seeing is an increase in investor activity in the housing market.
This increased interest, coupled with low sales prices, is responsible for near-record home sales. In the first 11 months of 2011, 1,735 homes sold in Sparks. In 2005, the peak selling year, 1,896 homes sold across the city.
“It’s probably more likely to fall just a bit short (of the record),” Argon said, “but we’ll likely be within 1 percent.”