Eighth monthly gain for the Valley

Prices on real estate in Las Vegas rose for the eighth consecutive month in September, according to Vegas Inc. Due to the low inventory of homes and the high number of short sales in the Valley, the median sales prices of a single-family home was up 1.4 percent from August.

More homes in Las Vegas are currently short sales. In the past year, experts say that the amount of short sales has doubled, and this type of transaction accounts for almost half of the homes sold in the metro. According to Vegas Inc., Congress has until December 31 to extend a law called the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which is a major motivating factor for many to short sell their homes.

Still, nearly 70 percent of homeowners in Las Vegas were underwater on their mortgages during the second quarter of this year. This is playing a role in the currently limited inventory because many are afraid of selling their homes and suffering a loss on the sales price. But with the increasing prices, the city is hopeful that more will be soon be able to sell.

The median home price posted a 13.5 percent increase over September 2011, as home prices were at $140,000. Similarly, the median sales price of townhouses and condominiums was up 2.6 percent from August to $70,250 and up 24 percent year-over-year. The total number of homes, condominiums and townhouses sold in September 2012 was 3,298, which is down from 3,688 in August 2012 and 4,108 total sales in September 2011.

“If you look at the asking prices of homes being listed for sale, they’re up across the board by double digits compared to this time last year," Kolleen Kelley, a local real estate expert said. “But home prices typically soften during the winter months. So, it will be interesting to see what happens through the end of the year.”

However, residents of Las Vegas have a positive outlook. As prices continue to rise and more people are investing in real estate, the downtown area is also seeing a boom.

One of the best areas to see this type of investment is in downtown. The center of Las Vegas is currently going through revitalization after being ignored for several years. Just a few blocks north of the Vegas Strip, life is being pumped back into the area that prospered before Sin City gained attention in the 1940s and 1950s. The area recently opened the Mob Museum, which highlights the vibrant history of organized crime in the city, a performing arts center and the Neon Museum.