Sold as a new home in 2008 for $201,229 the three-year old, 1,700 square-foot home at 5271 Jacala St., Las Vegas, NV, is now listed at $150,000 -- a 25 percent discount.

A six-year old, two-story, 1,400 square-foot home at 6159 Maple Oak Ave., Las Vegas, originally sold in 2004 for $275,000. Now it's listed for 63 percent less -- $99,900.

In 2006, the three-bedroom, four-bath home at 7920 Meandering Light Ave., in Las Vegas sold for $410,000. Now, the seven-year old home is also available at a 63 percent discount, for $150,000.

Deep discounts like these and many others are bringing investors back to ( Las Vegas, Nevada Real Estate Market Information ) Sin City in droves.

Home sales jumped to a five-year high in February as a record 56.7 percent of buyers plunked down cash to seal the deal, according to San Diego, CA-based DataQuick Information Sources.

Cash buyers paid a median $90,242 for a home in the Las Vegas area, down from $92,250 in January and $99,000 a year earlier.

It's not just a blip on the charts.

The record portion of cash buyers represented more than half of all transactions for the third consecutive month, while the percentage of homes bought with a mortgage dropped to the lowest point for any month in at least 17 years, a real estate information service reported.

On average, sales have risen 6.3 percent between January and February since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region statistics begin. Last month's sales total was 2.7 percent above the average number sold in February back to 1994.

Last month total sales in Las Vegas rose year-over-year for the second consecutive month, mainly because of robust cash-only purchases.

Why so many cash buyers? DataQuick says:

• Tighter lending standards force some investors and other buyers to pay cash.

• Cash buyers can move to the head of the line of buyers when there are multiple offers. Sellers prefer the speed of cash deals.

• Despite the down turn, more and more buyers see real estate as a better investment than others.

• Retirees or those close to retirement who downsize, are selling a more expensive property using the cash for the retirement home.

On the other hand, the smaller share of homes purchased with a mortgage reflects high unemployment; concerns over job security; the inability to a home for enough to pay off a mortgage and buy another home and tight credit.

Last month 3,879 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas (Clark County) metro area – the highest sales tally for any February since 2006, when 6,065 sold, indicating there room for the Vegas market to expand.

February's 2011 sales were up 4.9 percent from both January 2011 and from February 2010, according to DataQuick.

Most, 53 percent, of the region's cash buyers were based in Nevada (almost entirely Clark County). The balance of the cash buyers were from California (23 percent, much as was the case during the boom years) or in other states or countries (24 percent).

For all sales, 66.1 percent of buyers were based in Nevada, while 16.7 percent were based in California and 17.3 percent in other states or countries.

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