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A look at Nevada’s exploding housing market

Even in the midst of the pandemic, Nevada home prices are soaring as California transplants keep coming

Las Vegas sign

As the end of the year approaches, the country is still feeling the pinch of an economic crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic – but interestingly enough, several states are enjoying a boom in their respective housing markets. Look no further than Nevada, which has enjoyed the benefits of a steady exodus of citizens moving out of expensive states – California, for example – in search of more space and affordable housing.

This isn’t a new development; in 2017, the United States Census reported that California had the highest out-migration of any state in the country with approximately 660,000, followed by Texas, with 467,338 movers, and New York, with 452,580. And between 2017 and 2018, approximately 50,000 California residents made the move to Nevada.

Housing prices in California are notoriously high. In September, the median price of homes in the Golden State rose to an astronomical $712,430. Compare this to Nevada which, even with a robust housing market, still only tops out at an average median price of $330,000 on previously owned single-family units. 

A study released by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies showed buyer momentum in the state as early as April, with a 10.6% increase in home prices in the Las Vegas area of Southern Highlands, a 15% price increase on condominiums in Washoe County, and the city of Mesquite reporting 4.1% growth in single-family home prices. 

Nevada’s census data projects a 1.51% increase in population between 2020 and 2025, as well as a 1.46% increase in median household income over the same time period – a forecast derived from an expected increase of California transplants. 

Already, the demand from homes in Nevada is dwarfing the current inventory, said Thomas Blanchard, the 2020 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and managing broker for Signature Real Estate Group.

“The shrinking supply of homes for sale is not coming close to meeting the demand,” he said. “Additionally the lure of living in Nevada with the low- to non-existent tax rate and the great communities here just add to the demand. Then, add in that the current sales price in Nevada is one-third to one-half as expensive as the surrounding states and East Coast.” 

Blanchard cited October 2020 median home prices in Las Vegas, which, he said, set a record for the fifth consecutive month at $340,200 – up almost 11% from October 2019.

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