Las Vegas home prices had a strong finish to 2012 as the valley posted one of the best sales years ever.

The median price of Las Vegas Valley single-family homes sold in December was $149,000, up 24 percent from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

There were 3,624 total sales last month, down 15 percent from a year ago.

Some 44,902 homes were sold in the valley last year, down 7 percent from 2011 but still the third highest since 2000, the GLVAR said. The top sales year so far is 2011, with 48,186 sales, followed by 2009’s 46,879 sales.

Short sales grabbed a record chunk of the valley’s sales last month, accounting for 46 percent of all sales, up from almost 27 percent a year earlier. The previous record was 44.8 percent, in September.

In a short sale, a lender agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage.

Foreclosures, which made up more than half of all sales a few years ago, accounted for just 9.5 percent

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