Service Sector Sees Higher Revenues; Vegas Residential Market Still on the Mend

Most service-sector businesses gained revenue between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013. The total number of existing residential units sold in February in greater Las Vegas was 2,518, down from 2,565 in January and down from 3,232 a year ago.

The Census Bureau released its latest quarterly estimate for U.S. service-industry revenue on Wednesday, including such service-sector categories such as information, transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance, education, healthcare, arts and entertainment, real estate, and more. Most service-sector businesses gained revenue between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013.

For instance, transportation and warehousing enjoyed revenues of $206.9 billion, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier. Accommodation revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $51.5 billion, edging up 0.4 percent from the year before.

The category that the bureau calls “real estate and rental and leasing services” saw revenues of $123 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, up 5.5 percent from a year earlier. Quarter over quarter, however, real estate revenues in the fourth quarter of 2013 took a dip, dropping 0.9 percent from the second quarter.

Vegas Residential Market Still on the Mend

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that the total number of existing residential units sold in February in greater Las Vegas was 2,518, down from 2,565 in January and down from 3,232 a year ago. Though a local market, Vegas is worth tracking in some detail as a bellwether, since it was one of the hardest hit MSAs of the real estate crash of the late 2000s.

GLVAR continued to chart the market’s transition from distressed to more traditional home sales. There have been fewer short sales, for one thing; in February, 14 percent of all existing local home sales were short sales, down from 17 percent in January. Another 12 percent of all February sales were REO, up from 11 percent in January.

The Realtors also reported that 46.8 percent of all existing local homes sold in February were purchased with cash—often the mark of an investor, or a speculator. That’s unchanged from January, but down from a peak of 59.5 percent set in February 2013. Also, by the end of February, GLVAR noted that 6,316 single-family homes were listed without any sort of offer. That’s down 3.4 percent from January, but still a 107.3 percent jump from a year ago.

Wall Street didn’t do much on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 11.17 points, or 0.07 percent. The S&P 500 was up 0.03 percent, while the Nasdaq advanced 0.37 percent.