Sure, housing’s recovering, but what does that mean for spending on gaming?
So far, not much, says a recent investors’ note from local analysis firm Union Gaming Group.
When the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index released its August numbers Oct. 29, its stats backed up local reports of strong housing gains. Local home values were up 29.2 percent year over year, the best annual improvement among the 20 big cities the index tracks. August was the 18th straight month of local pricing gains, and the 10th month of increases above 25 percent.
Overall, the numbers “continue to paint a promising picture,” Union Gaming wrote. That should be good for casinos that market to locals, because more home equity typically encourages more consumer spending.
But that’s not happening so far.
“We haven’t yet seen these positive economic data points translate into material increases in gaming win,” the Union Gaming report said.
That observation fits what other local experts see, and it could point to a long-term adjustment in consumer spending, much as the Great Depression changed spending habits among people who lived through the 1930s.
Brian Gordon, a principal in local research firm Applied Analysis, said consumer spending has shifted in the last decade in response to the boom-and-bust cycle.
In the early to mid-2000s, locals enjoyed skyrocketing home values, a strong job market and relatively high incomes, Gordon said. Once home prices crashed and unemployment surged to national highs after 2008, consumers clamped down on spending big time. Witness the double-digit percentage declines in taxable sales from 2009 to 2011, as spending in virtually every major consumer category fell.
Today, the economy’s on the mend and sales are bouncing back, but those pre-downturn buying patterns haven’t recovered, Gordon said. Shoppers are focused on replacing big-ticket items such as cars and appliances, rather than spending on smaller, discretionary goods and services such as eating out and gambling.
“A smaller share of the local consumer wallet is being allocated to gaming activities,” Gordon said. “For many, gaming activities rank relatively low in terms of spending hierarchy, and in the post-recession environment, it appears that consumer behavior has shifted.”
That shift may not last indefinitely, but it’ll take a stronger economy to push consumers into a mindset that yields historical spending averages, Gordon said.
■ Looking for a more direct link to potential homebuyers? There’s an app for that. TextThisHouse of North Carolina has rolled out XiLi Mobile, which connects buyers and listing agents via text messaging. Buyers text “XiLi” to 86789 on their browser-enabled smart phone, and they get a link to listing information based on GPS location. When buyers click on a property, their mobile number goes straight to the listing agent for follow-up.
TextThisHouse said the app makes sense because nearly 90 percent of home shoppers use mobile phones during their search.
XiLi costs $10 per agent per month.
■ Just a month after it entered Las Vegas with its first local investment, the Bascom Group of Irvine, Calif., snapped up its second area apartment community.
Bascom closed on Oct. 31 on the 624-unit, Class A Eagle Crest Apartments, at 5850 Sky Pointe Drive, near Tropical Parkway and Tenaya Way. The company didn’t disclose the price it paid for the 16-year-old property, although executives said they got debt financing for the deal through OneWest Bank.
Bascom principal Scott McClave said the company’s “bread and butter” is to “purchase existing assets and upgrade the property to create an enhanced living situation for our residents.”
About a month ago, Bascom dropped $36.6 million on Broadstone Montecito, also a Class A property in northwest Las Vegas. The company isn’t done buying here, managing partner Jerome Fink said.
“We see a strong recovery in the Las Vegas market and look forward to growing our presence in that market,” he said.
Spencer Ballif of CB Richard Ellis listed and sold Eagle Crest. Bascom represented itself in the purchase.
■ Colliers International’s local brokers coordinated several recent industrial deals.
Susan Borst represented JP Capital International in its $766,392 purchase of an 8,617-square-foot property at 2029 Pama Lane, inside the Pama Airport South Industrial Center. Brian Riffel represented the buyer, CML-NV Airport South LLC.
Spencer Pinter helped landlord EJM Arroyo North II Property LLC arrange a 63-month lease to Dollar Loan Center LLC. The $944,712 deal was for 25,822 square feet at 6625 Arroyo Springs St., inside the Arroyo North Business Center, Phase II. Bob Miller of Terra West Realty &Development represented Dollar Loan Center.
Pinter also represented landlord WSL Properties LLC in a 38-month lease to VitaPhone U.S.A. Corp. The agreement, for 7,040 square feet at 7140 Dean Martin Drive inside the Warm Springs Business Center’s Phase II, was valued at $157,516.
Greg Pancirov, SIOR, and Mike DeLew, SIOR, brokered a lease on behalf of landlord WesTech Business Center LLC. The 39-month lease to L Makeup Agency &Institute LLC was for 3,839 square feet at 5525 S. Decatur Blvd., in the WesTech Business Center. Kyle Waugh of Waugh and Associates represented the tenant in the $150,275 deal.
Pancirov and DeLew also negotiated a 39-month lease to Quality Custom Distribution Services for 37,432 square feet of space at 1051 Mary Crest Drive, in the Suncrest Commerce Center. Pancirov and DeLew represented landlord Rocklin LLC, while Leo Biederman of Commerce CRG represented the tenant. The deal was valued at $609,932.
Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at email@example.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.