As the Clark County Recorder, I am tasked with recording and maintaining vital public records pertaining to the ownership of land or real estate. I also collect Real Property Transfer Tax when properties are bought or sold throughout the County. Our daily activities provide a unique insight into the housing market in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Laughlin, Mesquite, and unincorporated areas of Clark County. The global pandemic has significantly impacted the Las Vegas economy and the housing market. Our office has seen a dramatic surge in the volume of documents submitted for recording. Normally our office records 2,000 – 3,000 documents per day. The new normal is that we process upwards of 5,000 documents per day due to Clark County experiencing a marked increase in demand for new and existing homes, as well as a great need for affordable housing.
This continuous growth in demand has resulted in multiple offers on available homes and purchasers offering above the asking price for homes, with resale prices hitting all-time highs. Additionally, homebuilders are being challenged in keeping up with the demand for new homes. Subsequently, developers have experienced shortages in the areas of equipment, lumber and appliances, as the pandemic has caused a strain on almost all industry-related supplies.
The median price of house sales in June 2021 was a record $395,000, up 2.6 percent ($10,000) from the previous all-time high set in May 2021. It was also up 21.5 percent from June 2020.
With the higher volume of land sales and documents being recorded, it is now more important than ever to be aware of what is being recorded on an individual’s property, name, or parcel number. Anticipating this need, our office has begun offering the Recording Notification Service (RNS). RNS is a subscribe-driven tool/service. After completing a few simple steps, subscribers will be enrolled to receive an email alert whenever a document is recorded on a specific property, name or parcel number that may raise a concern, i.e., a mechanics lien or an IRS tax lien. Subscribers can quickly search on the Recorder’s Office website at https://recordercomm.clarkcountynv.gov/acclaimweb/ and order a copy of the document that was recorded.
Currently Las Vegas is in a growth mode and my office processes more than a million public documents annually. This service will be extremely beneficial. Many people don’t find out about a lien placed on their property until they sell it because they are not used to checking their property records. Liens and other negative documents can either delay or interrupt the sale or transfer of a property. In addition to providing this valuable Recording Notification Service to the public, the Clark County Recorder’s Office actively collaborates with local law enforcement agencies and consumer advocate groups to assist in the mitigation of fraud and other illegal activity. Along with my staff, I regularly attend meetings and utilize information from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the FBI, the State of Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Fight Fraud Task Force, and the Nevada State Consumer Coalition. The Recorder’s Office currently provides a list of resources for legal aid and assistance with suspected fraud, squatting or criminal activity involving real estate.
Another issue Southern Nevada is facing due to the pandemic and the increase in real estate prices is the lack of affordable housing. Recently Christine Hess, Executive Director of the Nevada Housing Coalition, stated that low inventory and a difficulty in financing affordable housing projects has created barriers to developing more affordable housing.
The Board of Clark County Commissioners announced a preliminary plan to use millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan funding for expanding and retaining affordable housing and providing housing assistance, i.e., emergency shelter and transitional living for the homeless. I hope to add more housing and mortgage resources to the current list of data for the public soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debbie Conway has served the public for over 20 years and is currently the Clark County Recorder. She began her first term in January 2007 and was re-elected in 2011, 2015 and 2019. She oversees approximately 60 employees and operates on a combined budget of approximately $10 million. For additional information, please visit: http://clarkcountynv.gov