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Arrival of pro athletes may stoke demand for Las Vegas penthouses

In 2009, the penthouse unit at Turnberry Place 3801 was on the market for $16 million. One of the largest penthouse units in Las Vegas, the two-floor listing included five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a wet bar, pool, billiard room and scenic view of the Las Vegas valley.

Then the recession hit. In 2011, the penthouse was traded to a new buyer for $8 million. Today, the unit is once again on the market, this time listed at $6.9 million.

Nicole Tomlinson, the director of real estate agency Shapiro and Sher’s high rise division, said the luxury real estate market was hit hard during the recession.

“It takes a unique buyer to buy a penthouse,” she said.

For many of Tomlinson’s clients, high rise units tend to be their second or third home, an unnecessary purchase that many opted out of during the recession.

And the penthouse market in Las Vegas is still healing, according to Tomlinson.

“The prices are still not fully back to where they were in 2008,” she said. “They dropped so significantly, they’re still on the rebound.”

Rebounding demand

But things are looking up. With more professional athletes coming to Las Vegas and billions of dollars worth of development on the Strip, Tomlinson said she’s seeing a demand for penthouses increase.

Kristen Routh-Silberman, a realtor at Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty, has been seeing the same trends.

According to Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty’s state of the market report, high rise units in Las Vegas saw a 6.6 percent growth in units sold between May 2016 and May 2017.

Routh-Silberman said she expects that growth to continue.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity in high rise where it hasn’t been that way for the past couple years,” she said.

Routh-Silberman said Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty’s penthouse listings usually stick to a $2.5 million to $5.5 million price range, although they have listed “mega penthouses” that can have a price of up to $8 million.

“At that top range, properties tend to sit on the market longer,” Routh-Silberman said. “It’s definitely a top 1 percent of the market (buying those listings), the numbers (of buyers) just aren’t there.”

Routh-Silberman said the luxury market’s peak selling times are near the beginning of football season or the Chinese new year. These reflect the typical high rise clients: young bachelors and international buyers.

“A high rise isn’t a mom and dad and four kids,” Routh-Silberman said. “A high rise tends to be a jet set playboy, someone single with multiple properties … It’s either before the family or empty nesters.”

Plenty of luxury features

This means most penthouses tend to have fewer bedrooms, Routh-Silberman said. But what they lack in rooms is made up for in luxurious features.

“Penthouses typically have higher ceilings, more amenities, bigger balconies, spas or pools on decks, floor to ceiling windows,” Routh-Silberman said. Many of the penthouses she sees also have extravagant features like theaters, fingerprint recognition technology and water features.

Tomlinson said many of her buyers are California natives looking to escape rising taxes or purchase a second home nearby. International buyers are also attracted to the Nevada housing market, Tomlin said.

“The demand for high rises has gone up in recent years,” she said. “Five to 10 years ago, that wasn’t the case as much.”

In turn, the penthouse inventory in Las Vegas has been on the decline. Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty’s state of the market report showed that the month’s supply of inventory is down 48.8 percent between May of 2016 and May of 2017.

“We don’t have any new projects on the market. I don’t know of anything that under construction right now,” Routh-Silberman said.

That low inventory means the market is in its prime time for selling.

“You’ve got a better chance of selling than you ever had before for the past two years,” Routh-Silberman said. “The next three years look like good market indicators for Vegas.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or (702)383-0256. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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