Is Investing in Las Vegas Real Estate Worth the Gamble?

nvesting in Las Vegas real estate used to be a gambler’s paradise because buying houses almost always netted investors a good return on investment. Sadly, the economic recession severely impacted the area which is now ranked at the top of cities with the highest rates of foreclosure.

Investors speculate if Las Vegas real estate will ever appreciate in value. Those who invested during the construction boom are now left owing more than properties are worth. Many are forced to accept lower rental income or reduced purchase offers to offset financial losses.

While the news is rather gloomy for those who purchased investment properties prior to the recession, the forecast is quite sunny for those considering investing in residential properties located within Clark County, Nevada.

Industry expert, RealtyTrac, reports the average sale price of Las Vegas foreclosure houses is $123,500. By comparison, in 2005 these same properties were selling at around $300,000. No one predicted Vegas real estate would depreciate by more than 40-percent over the course of 5 years.

While realty statistics appear gloomy, Las Vegas has become a hot market for real estate investors. DataQuick Information Systems of San Diego reports investors purchased nearly half of residential properties sold in Vegas during December 2010. The report also states more than 50-percent of those purchases were made with cash.

Investors who buy houses with cash can save upwards of 20-percent off the asking price. DataQuick reports median prices of Las Vegas homes purchased with cash during the 4th quarter of 2010 was $89,250 compared to $100,000 just a year ago.

Buying houses with cash offers investors additional benefits. The primary advantage is investors do not have a mortgage payment to meet each month. Secondly, cash offers provide negotiation leverage. Banks love cash offers because it reduces closing time and eliminates the need to undergo the financing process.

Due to the high number of foreclosures, Las Vegas is actually a very good market for investment purposes. When scouting out properties it can be beneficial to look at bank owned properties which have been listed for 6 months or longer.

Bank owned properties refer to houses that have been repossessed by banks due to foreclosure. Banks incur financial loss during the foreclosure process. Once they repossess houses they are responsible for safeguarding them until they are sold. Therefore, they want to sell distressed properties as quickly as possible.

Investors can further capitalize savings by investing in foreclosure houses that qualify for HUDs Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The government provides NSP grants to investors that buy houses in communities with high rates of foreclosure.

A housing market report provided by HUD states Nevada receives nearly $70 million in NSP grant funds. Qualified applicants can obtain up to 20-percent of the purchase price in grant money. Better yet, investors can receive up to 5 NSP grants for qualified properties.

NSP grants are only offered for bank owned properties. This is a non-issue as thousands of bank foreclosures are listed for sale in Las Vegas. However, investors should submit applications as quickly as possible before allocated funds are exhausted.

Prior to investing in Las Vegas real estate it is imperative to become familiar with the area and types of properties for sale. It can be beneficial to work with a realtor to obtain comparable sales reports and advise of areas with high levels of anticipated growth.

Last, but not least, consider investing in short sale and bank owned properties; especially those that qualify for NSP grants. Investors who purchase Las Vegas real estate should be prepared to hold properties for at least 5 years to generate a good return on investment.

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