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LAS VEGAS-The growth in the value of premium resort land slowed during the first three months of 2007 while the value for all other land picked up speed, according to the latest land report from Applied Analysis, a locally based research and advisory firm. The slowing price of premium resort land, properties in and around the Las Vegas Strip, may be due to a lull in first quarter transactions. With regard to all other land transactions, the data suggests that any impacts on associated with a soft residential market were more than offset by the combination of speculation, increased development densities and relatively low interest rates.

All told, 164 parcels totaling 887 acres changed hands in the Las Vegas valley in the first quarter of 2007 at an average price of $793,700 per acre, according to the report. That’s a 13.2% increase in price from the same period one year ago, when 354 parcels totaling 1,688 acres changed hands at an average price of $701,000. When premium resort land is excluded from the totals, the year-over-year first quarter price appreciation jumps to 31.2%, according to the report. The results pale in comparison to fourth quarter of 2006. In that period, 142 parcels totaling 588 acres changed hands at an average price of $1.24 million per acre, a 78.4% increase from the same year-earlier period and 36% higher than the first quarter of 2007.

“While a significant amount of interest in resort properties remains, we have yet to witness the closing of several announced transactions that will likely be reflected in our second quarter report,” says AA principal Brian Gordon. “That having been said, non-resort property values appear to have held their ground from relatively recent escalations.”

Gordon’s partner Jeremy Aguero says that more important than the price appreciation is the decline in the number of transactions overall and their growing distance from the Strip. “[Those] are unambiguous indicators of where the market is heading,” he says. “Infrastructure improvements combined with increasing price sensitivities make outlying areas an increasingly attractive option.”

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