Opportunity Knocks in Las Vegas Despite Record-Breaking Foreclosures and Unemployment

By Diana Mosher, Editor Nevada continues to set new records, posting the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 50th straight month in February. In fact, one in every 119 Nevada housing units is seeing a foreclosure filing during the month, [...]

Nevada continues to set new records, posting the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 50th straight month in February. In fact, one in every 119 Nevada housing units is seeing a foreclosure filing during the month, despite a 22 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month.

With one in every 106 housing units on the receiving end of a foreclosure filing in February, the Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area had the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rates. Nevada also continued to register the highest unemployment rate with 14.2 percent in January.

Adding to the unemployment pool, Direct Title has apparently gone out of business, the latest in a number of smaller title and escrow companies that shut down when the Las Vegas housing market took a turn for the worse. However, the state of Nevada recently reported the nation’s largest over-the-month unemployment rate decline (down 0.7 percentage points).

Also making local headlines, Station Casinos LLC, the company created to buy most of the assets of the bankrupt Station Casinos Inc., has reached an agreement with lenders to buy Green Valley Ranch Resort for $500 million. A voluntary prepackaged bankruptcy reorganization filing will be made for the 496-room Green Valley Ranch Resort. It was developed by affiliates of the Fertitta family’s Station Casinos and the Greenspun family, owner of the Las Vegas Sun.

A last-minute legal effort by the developer of Town Square mall and office complex—Miami-based Soffer family’s Turnberry Associates—was unable to prevent the foreclosure auction. Lenders owed nearly $513 million have completed their takeover. And a $276.5 million trustee’s deed was filed against the property Friday by lenders. Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland, which owns the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, has started marketing Town Square to potential tenants and is managing the property. Forest City is also developing the new Las Vegas City Hall and mixed-use office project which is expected to add new jobs to the market.

According to Las Vegas Business Press, valley vacant-property prices averaged $202,539 an acre, or $4.65 per square foot, in the fourth quarter, which is 30.2 percent less than a year earlier. Sale transactions now hover around prices last seen in 2003.

And, in a recent million dollar deal reported by Las Vegas Press, Winner Properties bought the 13,783-square-foot Sahara Buffalo Retail Center, built five years ago on 1.45 acres, at 7795 W. Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas for $2.065 million, or $150 per square foot, from Bank of America. Commercial Executives’ Lance Robins represented the buyer; CB Richard Ellis’ Charles Moore, Michael Newman and Marlene Fujita represented the seller.