Let’s start with the basics – the southwest part the Las Vegas Valley has a population of about 175,000 and the metro area has a combined population of around 2.2 million, making Las Vegas the 28th most populated city in the country, just below Pittsburgh, but bigger than Cleveland or Kansas City. Those 175,000 neighbors make up approximately 62,000 households that have a median household income of around $80,000, which is substantially greater than the median of $57,000 for the metro area.
During the month of September over 1,100 single family residences (SFRs) and close to 300 condos were sold in the southwest. Of the eight different designated areas that I follow the median sales price ranged from $201,000 (near McCarran Airport) to $359,000 (Rhodes Ranch). Condominium prices for these same areas ranged from a median of $127,000 to a high of $191,500. As of September 30, there were over 7,000 SFRs and 1,800 condominiums for sale in the entire Las Vegas marketplace. https://www.lasvegasrealtor.com
What’s it mean to you, buying or selling? First, there’s a varied selection of properties available for both the budget conscious/starter home folks and those interested in luxury homes. Secondly, locals will tell you how they remember that Blue Diamond Road, a major east west artery cutting through the southwest valley, was once a 1 lane highway – it’s now 5 lanes each way. Translation for you – there’s been a lot of new home construction in the past 10 years, and it continues.
Upshot for you – much of the housing stock is fairly recent. Can you find an affordable, new home? Easily. Can you find a luxury home with 10,000 square feet of living space? You bet. How about room for your horses? We’ve got that too!
For those of you coming from other parts of the country (or world for that matter), here are some things you can expect to see in the Las Vegas housing market:
Number 1 – I don’t know what the percentage is, but a high number of homes in the southwest valley are part of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA). Levels of service and pricing can vary substantially. My current HOA dues are $55 per month,..routine landscaping, we don’t have a gate, not much to be concerned about. Other communities, especially gated one’s with amenities such as a community pool, golf course, etc., can be substantially higher. Also, on that note, I recently showed some houses to a good friend of mine who grew up in Orange County, California and he was surprised at the number of communities that are gated. Some even have a guard gate. Why? I don’t know – guess developers thought it was just another selling point.
Number 2 – Given the extreme heat in the summer months, don’t expect to see many dark colored houses. The name of the game is heat refraction and builders have been pretty good at constructing energy efficient homes. They take insulation seriously. I was surprised this past August when I climbed the ladder to check my air handler located in the attic crawl space. It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit that day and I expected sweltering conditions when I opened the hatch but the temperature couldn’t have been more than a dry 75 degrees! I felt like lounging a while, cracking open a book and having a cocktail.
Number 3 – Don’t expect to see a lot of grass. The name of the game in Las Vegas is “desert landscaping.” The Southern Nevada Water Authority, https://www.snwa.com, does a yeoman’s job in conserving water and they constantly remind customers to be cognizant of water conservation. In fact, if you have a natural grass lawn, they’ll pay you $3 per square foot, up to 10,000 square feet, to rip out the lawn and replace it with the aforementioned desert look.
Number 4 – Given the number of sunny days we get, a fair number of home owners have installed solar panels to the house. Essentially, they’ve decided to replace their electric bill with a bill to a solar company for x amount of years. Some of these contracts are assumable, some may not be. Something to consider when transacting on a property.