For Las Vegas homebuilders, 2013 called ‘year of recovery’

Carpenters frame a home at a residential construction site in the west side of the Las Vegas Valley in Las Vegas, April 5, 2013.

Las Vegas’ home construction business slowed again last month as buyers faced rising prices and higher borrowing costs.

Southern Nevada builders sold 588 new homes in October, according to a new report from Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research, down from 626 sales in September and 763 in August.

Last month’s total was essentially flat compared to October 2012, when local builders sold 593 new homes.

The median price of last month’s closings was $285,126, up from about $269,500 in September and $266,400 in August. Prices have climbed 32 percent from roughly $216,600 a year ago.

Meanwhile, interest rates for 30-year mortgage loans averaged 4.1 percent in the final week of October, down from 4.13 percent the week before but up from 3.39 percent a year ago, according to Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage finance giant.

Despite the slowdown in sales, Las Vegas homebuilders are faring better than last year.

They sold 6,236 new homes through October, up 44 percent from the same period in 2012, and pulled 6,159 construction permits, up 23 percent.

“As we close out 2013, in our opinion, it will be remembered as ‘the year of recovery,’” Home Builders Research President Dennis Smith said in his latest report. “Not that the Las Vegas economy is in good health and is back on its feet from the Great Recession.”

“Things are going in the right direction, but there is still a long path ahead for everyone to feel a sense of comfort,” Smith said.