After five years of tough sledding, the Las Vegas real estate market may be turning around. DataQuick reports that home sales in the city - which was among the metro areas hardest hit by foreclosures almost from the beginning of the housing crisis - were at a seven-year high in May with more expensive home sales and cash sales rising sharply.

The median price paid for a home in the city rose on an annual basis for the 14th consecutive month as buying shifted toward mid-to-high-end deals and the share of foreclosure resales declined. A record 59.6 percent of sales were all cash.

There were 5,005 existing and new homes and condos sold in the Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area (Clark County) in May, up 2.8 percent from the previous month and 3.6 percent more than in May 2012. Last month's sales were the highest for a May since 2006 when 7,615 homes sold and beat the average for the month (going back to 1994 when DataQuick began keeping records) by 0.3 percent.

Sales, however, were lopsided on the existing home side with resales of homes and condos 28.1 percent higher than the May average and new home sales 52.1 percent below that average. Sales were also skewed toward higher-end homes with sales of homes priced below $100,000 down 44.8 percent from May 2012 and 17.8 percent for homes priced under $200,000. Sales of homes priced between $200,000 and $500,000, a range that would include many move-up purchases, jumped 76.9 percent.

This trend helped push the median price of a home in the area to $162,000, the highest since December 2008 when it was $175,000, already well off the November 2006 peak of $312,000. The median bottomed out at $110,000 in January 2012. The May median was 1.3 percent higher than April and 32.8 percent above the price in May 2012. This was the 14th consecutive month the median price has increased on an annual basis and those gains have ranged from 1.7 percent to 34.8 percent and in the double digits for the last 11 months.