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Las Vegas rental home prices climbing at one of fastest rates in US

Southern Nevada’s rental market kept its foot on the gas last month.

Rental home prices in Las Vegas climbed at one of the fastest rates in the nation in May amid strong demand and low inventory and as the economy made up for lost time.

The typical rental rate of a Las Vegas-area home shot up 17.3 percent year over year in May, up from an 11.3 percent annual gain in April, according to listing site Zillow.

The valley’s rent growth last month tied Riverside, California, for second highest among the 50 metro areas listed in a Wednesday report from Zillow. Phoenix topped the list, with rents up 17.7 percent.

Like other industries, Las Vegas’ rental market faced turmoil and questions after the coronavirus pandemic hit. Many tenants tapped unemployment benefits or stimulus funds to pay their rent amid huge job losses in the casino-heavy region, government-ordered eviction freezes kept people in their homes, and landlords have faced heightened competition from the for-sale market as rock-bottom mortgage rates fueled a homebuying frenzy.

But as people have worked from home without the need for a commute and as sellers who cashed in on the buying binge needed a place to live until their new house was ready, plenty of people have looked for rentals.

“It’s just scarce,” said Steve Marlis, co-owner of Total Real Estate of Nevada, a property management firm.

Marlis, whose firm manages around 830 homes in the valley, said he has talked with people who have filled out multiple rental applications and are having a hard time landing a place.

“They just are getting shut out,” he said.

Zillow senior managing economist Chris Glynn told the Review-Journal that with the economy reopening from coronavirus restrictions, renters have more confidence in their finances and employment.

He also noted that many people have moved to Southern Nevada and other relatively less-expensive areas to work remotely.

“That’s helping to propel the rental market in places like Las Vegas,” he said.

The accelerated rent growth across the U.S. also “reflects similar pressures” in the homebuying market: a lack of available single-family homes, and increased demand driven by the pandemic and a desire for more space and affordability, according to Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist with housing tracker CoreLogic.

Las Vegas broker Tamra Trainer of Platinum Real Estate Professionals said recently that she has a client who is purchasing a Henderson town house as an investment and that, even though the sale hadn’t closed, people were already in bidding wars to rent it from the buyer.

“There’s just no inventory,” she said.

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

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