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After soaring last year, Las Vegas apartment rents now sliding

Updated October 18, 2022 - 8:57 pm

Southern Nevada apartment rents dipped in recent months as vacancies climbed, a new report shows, in more signs of Las Vegas’ slowing housing market.

The average asking rent for Las Vegas-area apartments was $1,451 per month during the third quarter, down almost 2 percent, or $29, from the second quarter, according to the Nevada State Apartment Association.

Monthly rents were still up 3.4 percent, or $48, from a year ago. But overall, the change in Southern Nevadans’ rent checks has changed considerably this year, and prices are expected to keep sliding.

Landlords rapidly boosted rents last year amid tight supply and strong demand, sparking concerns over tenants’ ability to keep up with the escalating payments and amplifying the issue of Nevada’s affordable housing shortage.

Las Vegas’ average apartment rents soared more than 22 percent last year, after rising 4.8 percent in both 2020 and 2019, according to the report last week, which used data from real estate tracker CoStar.

“After 2021’s record-breaking rent growth, many renters would have difficulty stomaching another year of rent increases above 20 (percent),” the report said.

Robin Lee, executive director of the apartment association, said in a news release that Southern Nevada rents “are expected to continue to decrease through the remainder of the year as vacancy rises from the all-time low we saw in 2021.”

The average vacancy rate during the third quarter was 7.5 percent, up from 3.6 percent a year earlier, the association said.

Lee also noted that Las Vegas “continues to attract new residents with its affordable cost of living compared to other western markets, especially California.”

Still, the rental market overall has hit the brakes amid a broader slowdown in Southern Nevada’s housing market. With buyers facing a sharp jump in mortgage rates this year, home sales have plunged from 2021 levels, inventory has skyrocketed, and sellers have been slashing their prices.

Long viewed as a more affordable outpost, Southern Nevada was even deemed one of the worst markets in the nation for first-time homebuyers in a June report from personal finance site Bankrate.

Gov. Steve Sisolak launched a $500 million initiative this year to boost affordable housing in Nevada, an undertaking his office called the “largest single investment in affordable housing” in state history.

The program, which formally kicked off in April, called for $300 million for multifamily development, $130 million for multifamily rehabilitation and preservation, $40 million for land acquisition and $30 million to help homeowners.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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