- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - At the base of Las Vegas’ western mountain range, a mansion in the Ridges, one of the wealthiest and most exclusive areas of town, has a movie theater with a 15-foot screen, a fitness room, a 4,600-square-foot guest house and a sleek pool area fit for a boutique hotel.

The compound sold for $8 million cash last year - the most expensive resale in the valley in 2014.

“That’s the most expensive house I’ve ever sold,” listing broker Gavin Ernstone said.

Across town, near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Bonanza Road, the run-down Desert Garden condominium complex has boarded and barred windows, dirt courtyards and a dirt-filled swimming pool.

Unit No. 116, a two-level, 776-square-foot home with two bedrooms and one bathroom, sold for $10,000 cash last year - the cheapest resale in the valley.

Listing agent Dave Gill said it was probably the cheapest home he’s sold in his 20-year career.

“That was an eyesore,” he said.

In Southern Nevada, previously owned single-family homes sell for a median $200,000, and condos and townhouses for $105,000, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. But above and below these middle-grounds, buyers spend huge and minuscule amounts for properties in luxurious and rough neighborhoods.

Here’s a look at the two extremes of last year’s sales range, as reported by the GLVAR.

And in some ways, both deals were bargains.

99 Hawk Ridge Drive, Las Vegas

Built in 2008, this Summerlin estate boasts more than $1.5 million in electronics alone. The main house is almost 8,900 square feet, with eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and a seven-car garage.

Amenities include outdoor lounges with fire pits; a fire-breathing iron dragon; an outdoor, oversized chess board; a two-level office; floor-to-ceiling windows; a refrigerated wine cellar with glass doors next to the dining room; and paintings and other art.

“It is definitely a resort-like property,” Ernstone, owner of Simply Vegas brokerage, said.

The sellers spent $16 million building and furnishing the estate, Ernstone said, or twice what they sold it for last August.

It was listed for just under $9 million in 2013, GLVAR records show, so the buyer - health care entrepreneur Eric Moskow - got an 11 percent discount off the price tag.

The second-most expensive resale in the valley last year was a distant second - $4.35 million in Henderson’s MacDonald Highlands community, according to Ernstone.

1720 W. Bonanza Road, #116, Las Vegas

Desert Garden, a sprawling collection of 148 condos near the Spaghetti Bowl, has seen better days.

The property is shabby and in disrepair, with stained stucco, faded paint, frayed wood, boarded windows, dirt courtyards with small patches of grass, and an entry roadway laced with cracks.

The homeowners association is basically broke and can’t afford to keep the place up, according to Gill, an agent with Realty One Group. The HOA filled the pool with dirt, and the on-site child care closed, he said.

Many units are owned by investors who don’t bother paying HOA dues, and more than a few tenants skip rent, abandoning their condos mid-lease, Gill said. Metro Police started paying more attention to Desert Garden in 2011 while tracking gang members who seemed to be at every violent crime in the area.

“We chased them around and found out coincidentally that most live here,” then-Capt. Larry Burns said in 2012.

Gill chuckled at the tiny sales price of unit No. 116 - “I’m probably embarrassed to put that on my record,” he said of the transaction. But what’s even more eye-opening than the small price tag is what it sold for during the bubble last decade.

In a sign of just how bloated Las Vegas’ real estate market became, county records show that unit No. 116 sold for $62,500 in spring 2004 and then $82,000 in early 2007 - a 31 percent price jump in less than three years.

The peak buyers, husband-and-wife investors from California, tried to sell the condo for $30,000 in summer 2012 but steadily dropped the price, to a low of $20,000 in fall 2013, GLVAR records show. They sold it last January to an investor for just $10,000, an 88 percent loss from their 2007 purchase price. The home was listed as being in “poor” condition.

And in true Vegas fashion, the buyer already flipped the property.

The investor sold it for $17,043 - 70 percent above what he paid - last June to a buyer from Los Angeles.

Gill represented the husband-and-wife sellers because he was their agent when they bought the condo, but he has no plans to do business at Desert Garden again.

Given the basement-low property values, sales commissions are small, so Gill figures he loses money selling a home in the complex, considering the time, effort and cost to market a property.

“From a business point of view, I wouldn’t take another listing in there,” he said. “No way.”

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, https://www.lasvegassun.com

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