Residential real estate slowly on rebound in Washoe County | SierraSun.com

Residential real estate slowly on rebound in Washoe County

Duane Johnson
djohnson@nnbw.biz

As 2016 gets going, it appears to be a buyer's market in Northern Nevada.

RENO, Nev. — The residential real estate market was gradually on the rebound at the end of 2015 after some volatile years after the recession.

But prices for homes continue to climb.

The average sales price for an existing single family home in Washoe County was $292,000, according to recent statistics released by the Reno/Sparks Association of REALTORS. This is a decrease of 12 percent from November 2014 and a moderate 4 percent increase from October.

"November 2015 median price is the highest we've seen for a November since the rise in the market in 2004 and 2005," said 2015 RSAR president Dave Hansen in a press release.

“We’re in a weird place, because we’re seeing a low inventory, but we’re seeing a lot more price reductions. Buyers are not apt to get into bidding wars and reluctant to buy until the price feels right.”Sarah Carmona ZinkDreams Realty, Reno

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Still, even with higher prices, it's a buyers' market, according to Sarah Carmona Zink, a broker and owner of Dreams Realty in Reno. She says homebuyers more and more are asking for concessions in contracts, such as asking sellers to cover home warranties or for any repairs before they take up residence. And they're asking for these concessions up front.

"We're starting to see price reductions and a lot more repair requests," Carmona Zink said.

In November, there were 419 home sales in Washoe County, a decrease of 21.8 percent from October, according to RSAR statistics, and a 11.4 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. Still the 2015 sales at the end of November stood at 5,818, up 7 percent from the same period in 2014.

Information provided by Dreams Realty noted that notice of defaults of sales and trustee deeds dipped in October of 2015 as banks slowed down the foreclosure process before the holiday season. Resales and refinances of homes have also decreased in the last three months.

Carmona Zink feels because home prices are high, buyers are more willing to be patient in finding the right home.

"We're in a weird place, because we're seeing a low inventory, but we're seeing a lot more price reductions," she said. "Buyers are not apt to get into bidding wars and reluctant to buy until the price feels right."

There's plenty of room for optimism though, as the Truckee Meadows and other areas such as the Carson Valley and Lyon County should maintain strong home sales.

A bevy of new companies such as Tesla and others moving into Storey County's Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center should be a boon for home sales.

Construction of new, single-family homes have been stagnant over the past few years, but homebuilders appear poised to begin anew. New subdivisions in South Reno or North Valleys, as well as in smaller communities like Dayton, Silver Springs and Fernley are under way or being planned.

One homebuilder, Lennar Corp., has introduced Fronterra at Pioneer Meadows, an entire community dedicated to single-family home rentals in Spanish Springs. Lennar introduced the concept this past spring, and it proved so popular that the homebuilder already is in the process of building and additional 156 new homes. The company plans to build 10 single-family homes per month until finished.

Dustin Barker, division president for Lennar, Northern Nevada, said it was attractive to young families and there were a surprising number of retirees who have moved into the community.

"There were plenty of retired couples coming from say, California, who owned a home and built up equity in that home and can live off that equity," Barker said in an Oct. 19 article in NNBW.

Barker noted Lennar could potentially look at locations for other rental communities in northern Nevada. And other homebuilders may also follow suit.

Carmona Zink also said rentals of single-family homes are on the rise and could be a game changer to the housing market.

"Families and individuals who were affected by the housing crash are going for the rentals markets," Carmona Zink said.

However, in a Dec. 9 article by Associated Press writer Josh Boak, a report by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing studies found that single-family home rentals are rising across the United States, and so are lease prices. But those prices are also growing faster that occupants wages.

If single-family home rentals continue to rise, Carmona Zink says Realtors may rethink how they do business.

"Some companies may go back into such services as property management if the home rental market continues to grow," she said.

Duane Johnson is a reporter for the Reno-based weekly newspaper, the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. Visit nnbw.com to learn more.