The city of Las Vegas and Wells Fargo announced a plan Wednesday to help neighborhoods with high numbers of vacant homes.
However, some worry about what filling those homes will do to an already dwindling inventory of homes for sale.
Wells Fargo says it will provide up to $15,000 for homebuyers within city limits. Realtors say that while this program might fill some holes, inventory is getting scarce.
Former realtor Mark Carl says he's tired of the vacant homes in his northwest neighborhood, some of which have been deteriorating for years.
"The yards and everything don't get maintained - it lowers property values for everybody," he said.
Wells Fargo and the city of Las Vegas believe their program may be the solution.
On top of bringing in a billion dollars for mortgage lending and $9 million for down payment assistance grants, Wells Fargo says it will provide up to $15,000 to qualified prospective homebuyers who look at homes in specified neighborhoods.
"That would include first time homebuyers, folks that are trying to recover, who may have been in a home before, maybe they're selling in transition," said Wells Fargo Nevada Regional President Kirk Clausen.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman hopes the move will set a precedent for other banks with foreclosed properties.
"What they are undertaking here is an indication to other lenders and paper holders… you know, step up to the plate, do something like we're doing," she said.
But Carl, who worked as a realtor up until a few months ago, doubts this will be a growing trend with other banks.
"A lot of banks don't have the ability to follow suit as Wells Fargo does because Wells Fargo, most of the time, never sold off their paper."
According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, after Nevada Assembly Bill 284 went into effect in October, banks are issuing fewer notices of default. That translates to fewer foreclosures on the market. Inventory may dry up soon.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo will be holding a workshop for potential homebuyers May 4 and 5 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino which will provide information on the program.
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