Another bubble? Experts assess housing market and more

Business people from across the Las Vegas valley gathered at UNLV January 24th, 2019 to see a snapshot of the Southern Nevada economy and hear experts offer outlooks on the region’s future.

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Preview forecasting event and trade show drew more than 2,000 business and community leaders to the Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion. About 100 exhibitors, including a number of local restaurants, were on hand to display their products.

So where is Las Vegas, and where is it going? Here are a few takeaways from the event’s slate of speakers:

No, the sky is not falling in the housing market

Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis used a story from The New York Times to frame his examination of the Las Vegas residential real estate market.

More to the point, he picked the story to pieces.

Aguero said that contrary to the story’s headline — “The epicenter of the housing bust is booming again. (That’s a warning sign)” — key indicators showed that the market wasn’t a bubble ready to burst.

Among those indicators: although home values have risen sharply since the teeth of the recession, when compared to values from 2005 the increase has been moderate — just 9 percent. That’s the lowest increase in any Western state.

“Oh, the humanity of it all,” Aguero said jokingly.

Aguero also said that while new home construction was booming, another contributor to the area’s meltdown during the recession, it was a fraction of its prerecession peak. So while last year’s 9,944 sales of new homes looks alarming when compared to the 3,733 sold in 2011, it looks moderate compared to the 39,000 in 2005.

Another key indicator: The percentage of homeowners with underwater loans has shrunk to 4.7 percent today from a whopping 69.6 percent in 2010 and 25.4 percent five years ago. The current rate is in line with the national average.

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