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Las Vegas home prices up again in April

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Driven by short supply, Las Vegas-area home prices continued their upward climb in April, notching a 3.7 percent increase from a month earlier and a nearly 31 percent jump from a year ago, a real estate group said Wednesday.

The median price for a single-family home sold last month was $167,000, compared to $161,000 in March, according to data from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. The figures were still well off the peak median price of $315,000 in 2006.

"I think everyone was waiting for bottom, but I think they know the bottom is gone and past and now people are reacting," said Dave Tina, president of the Realtors association.

Tight inventory remained a major problem in the market. Realtors say there were about 13,900 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of April, which is up 1.4 percent from the month before but provides only a five-week supply of sellable homes.

Tina said some people don't want to sell because they fear they won't be able to find another home. In addition, the rate of new homebuilding remains slow.

Supply could rise this summer if the Nevada Legislature passes a bill adjusting last session's AB284, which requires more documentation from lenders seeking to foreclose. The law brought initial foreclosure filings to a virtual halt when it took effect in October 2011.

The changes under consideration would loosen the documentation requirements and could push the market share of foreclosed homes to an estimated 20 percent of total sales, compared to the current 10 percent.

Fast-rising home prices could also slow as a result, Tina said.

Foreclosure trends have changed dramatically in the past four years after accounting for 80 percent of all sales.

In April, nearly 33 percent of Las Vegas-area sales were short sales, while nearly 58 percent were traditional sales.