Land Sale Sign of Economic Turnaround - 8 News NOW

Land Sale Sign of Economic Turnaround

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LAS VEGAS -- For the first time in years developers are scrambling to buy up land in the southwest part of the Las Vegas valley, aiming to build new homes and businesses.

Investors say the land grab points to more money and jobs.

On Thursday morning, the Bureau of Land Management released nearly 30 parcels of land to be auctioned off to developers. Builders have been waiting for this turnaround in the market.

The BLM says it sold 160 of the 440 acres it had for sale. The land was in 24 parcels and sold for a total of $23,840,000.

The largest parcel sold was 20 acres that went for $2.1 million. The largest parcel for sale was 250 acres and received no bids.

All of the land sold Thursday will be turned into new homes and stores. Developers say the race to buy land means the economy is finally turning around.

So many developers turned out for the auction that John Sara wasn't sure if he would even be able to place a bid on the plot of land he had been eyeing.

"It is always exciting for us to be able to be a part of the growth and see things happening in the city," Sara said.

He remembers a time when no one was buying but times have changed.

"The last auction they had it was only one parcel that sold. The way it sold, it sold for the minimum," Sara said.

Land investors haven't been in a room together for a long time. Thursday's event was the first oral auction since 2007.

"The reason we stopped having those big auctions of course was demand," Hillerie Patton with the Bureau of Land Management said.

When the housing market tanked in 2008, so did the need for new land. When this many parcels were released, both the BLM and investors were thrilled.

"Yes, it is packed. We are excited to see things are starting to move again," Patton said.

Real estate professional Levi Parker could feel the tension in the room, and he thrives on it.

"Most competitors are in the house right now. And so everyone is a little quiet but yeah, it is a lot of fun!" Parker said.

Parker says the rivalry is worth it because it equals growth for his business.

"I think the homebuilders are back building. Investors are buying," he said.

Most of the parcels sold Thursday went for above market value.

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