Reno Real Estate Market Explodes

by Zane Durant

Reno Nevada has everything a family or company looking to relocate could want. The weather is great, crime is low, Lake Tahoe is 20 miles away, and the City of Reno works pretty well with outside investors. There is a down side though; the high demand for real estate in northern Nevada has pushed the dream of owning a home out of the reach for most of us.

Last year the Reno real estate market had climbed almost 100% from just three years before. But in the last 12 months Reno real estate prices have gone through the roof. Some houses that were purchased less than one year ago for $210,000 are now back on the market at over $500,000 and selling in less than a week. Land valued $25,000 last year in the foothills of Virginia City is now being offered at more that $60,000.

Even though the prices are up, there is no end to eager buyers. The high demand seems to increase daily as available properties disappear. Reno realtor, Gary McClaine of Century 21 said “I’ve had homes for sale that have been listed on Sunday and gone Monday. “It’s not just a seller’s market either”, said McClaine. “The folks coming in from Las Vegas and San Francisco are glad to get out of the heat or the Bay Area and move where it is less crowded and work is just a minute or two from home.”

Prices in the Bay area are up to $500,000 for nothing more than a refurbished one bedroom apartment on top of a Mini-Mart. In Reno however, that price will get you into a four bedroom home on a few acres with trees, a barn, and a horse or two. Reno's charm may have turned into its problem for locals who missed out on the investment of a lifetime just a few years ago. Now all they can do is hope the City of Reno will encourage developers to build homes somewhere in the affordable $125,000 - $200,000 range or they may just have to move away.

Affordable housing may be far off because Reno developers seem to be buying up sage brush and building only luxury homes in Reno on small ¼ acre lots. These homes are boldly advertised on billboards for under $300,000 – as though that were an affordably priced home. “Hopefully” prices may level off; but for now the Reno real estate market is up – way up. Good for those selling, not so good for locals looking to get their first home. Maybe these prices explain the popularity of Extreme Home Makeover TV and that new Home Depot in South Reno.