Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the last several years, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent wave of foreclosures had an especially big impact on Las Vegas and the surrounding metro area. As it happens, Nevada holds the dubious distinction of being in the top 10 states in terms of foreclosure rates – and the effects are also being felt in Las Vegas. It’s slowed new residential construction, has affected property values throughout the state, but the inventory of available properties have also attracted both homebuyers and real estate investors in search of a deal. The foreclosure crisis may in fact ultimately be a boon for the Las Vegas area, since it has opened up opportunities for people who may have otherwise been priced out of the market. Even though the foreclosure rate is still high, it’s undeniable that a turnaround is in the works; the price of homes throughout the greater Las Vegas area has started to rise. According to a recent report from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, prices for August of this year were up over those for August 2014. The median sale price of Las Vegas-area detached single family homes this August was $220,000, a 10% increase over last year’s prices. Townhomes and condo prices rose too, with a median sale price of $110,000, a 4.8% increase over last year’s prices. That’s good news for Las Vegas homeowners, who can expect to see their property values rise – and despite the increase in prices over last year, it’s also good news for prospective homebuyers. The turnaround in the Las Vegas area residential housing market means that buying a home, condo or townhome in the metro area is still a sound investment. Buyers seem to have picked up on this trend, with the pace of sales having grown significantly over last August – 11.2% more detached single family homes were sold compared to August 2014. There was also an increase of 8.3% in the sales of townhomes and condos over last August. Another trend which has continued in the last year in the Las Vegas metro area is a decrease in distressed home sales; this includes both foreclosures and short sales. Distressed sales dropped from 11.5% of residential sales in August 2014 to just 6.2% of residential sales in August of this year. There was also a substantial drop in the percentage of sales of bank owned properties, down to 7% this August compared to 8.9% in August 2014. In other encouraging news for the real estate market in the Las Vegas area, the number of homes for sale is slightly down compared with last year. While it’s only a 1% decrease compared to August 2014, the fact that the inventory is declining at all is especially good news for homeowners and prospective buyers, at least those looking to buy a home in the near future. Homes are also selling more quickly, with close to 70% of Las Vegas area homes selling within two months of being listed, a slight increase over last year’s figures. Finally, consider that mortgage rates are starting to creep up once again and you have a very clear message for anyone who’s been thinking of buying a home in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the metropolitan area: it’s time to start shopping around for a home and, naturally, a mortgage. Even with home values and prices on the rise and inventory starting to shrink, this is still very much a buyer’s market. Prospective buyers have an impressive range of choices throughout the Las Vegas metro area and there are definitely bargains to be had. Mortgage rates are also still at near historic lows, but as the overall economy continues to pick up steam, they won’t stay that way for long. Now is the time if you’ve been considering buying your first home, a new home or a second home in or near Las Vegas. It’s not often that we see this kind of convergence of nearly ideal conditions for homebuyers, so if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to buy, it’s time to call your realtor – and a mortgage company.