More in Las Vegas now rent than own

Las Vegas is now a city of renters, though it’s far less expensive to buy a home here than to rent one.

From a peak of 64 percent in 2000, as measured by the U.S. census, Las Vegas Valley home ownership is now at 48 percent — and will continue to fall.

About half of the 100,000 existing homes sold in the region over the past two years have been all-cash transactions, an indication that they’re being bought by investors rather than primary residents, and that most will end up as rentals.

The decline in home ownership is a concern because it threatens the fabric of a community, said Kolleen Kelley, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

Renters tend to be less meticulous about home and yard maintenance and not as committed to neighborhood preservation. And home ownership fosters stronger communities, creates social stability and contributes to a stronger economy, she said.

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, said Las Vegas isn’t like New York or Los Angeles, where home ownership is out of reach for moderate-income families.

“Those markets evolved to become more renter-oriented as a result of relatively high prices compared to incomes,” Aguero said. “Our sharp decline in home ownership is largely the result of a historic economic downturn and the resulting credit challenges for consumers. Relatively speaking, we have low prices relative to income. Consumers have a problem with credit, not cash flow, which suggests growth in the share of renters over the next five years.”

Of the 821,486 dwellings in the greater Las Vegas area, 394,082 are now owner-occupied, according to Applied Analysis. Those numbers include single-family homes, condos, townhomes and apartments.

For now, owners still outnumber renters in the single-family home market. The Clark County assessor’s office shows 289,962 single-family homes occupied by owners, compared with 190,782 rentals.

Aguero said he noticed a tipping point in the fourth quarter of 2011 when the majority of single-family homes sold in the region were being taxed at 8 percent — the rate for rentals or second homes — rather than the 3 percent maximum for owner-occupied homes. That’s an indication that even single-family residences are shifting to renters.

“Renters have gone up considerably in the market due to people losing their home from foreclosure and short sale, and they can’t get a loan again for a couple of years, and with so many investors coming in and buying, I would say we have probably escalated from the 2010 census numbers,” Kelley said.

Yet a combination of record-low home prices and lending costs have made buying a home relatively cheaper than renting in nearly 100 major U.S. metro areas, including 11th-ranked Las Vegas, according to Discovery Bay, Calif.-based, an online listing service.

Trulia calculates the price-to-rent ratio for 100 major U.S. metros by estimating the ratio of asking sales prices to asking rents, adjusting for attributes of the properties and their locations. A home with an asking sales price of $200,000 and monthly rent of $1,500 would produce $18,000 in annual rent, for a price-to-rent ratio of 11.

Anything under 15 indicates that buying a home is a better deal than renting for people planning to live in a home for at least five years. Even if the buyer plans to live in the home for less than five years, buying could be a better deal if the index is 10 or less, depending on moving and closing costs.

Las Vegas has a price-to-rent ratio of 7.0.

“There’s no reason not to own,” said Zolt Szorenyi, president of Lenders Clearing House Las Vegas, a company that sells foreclosed homes for banks. “It’s much cheaper than renting. The mortgage could be as much as half the rent.”

But cost isn’t the only factor.

Aimee Romero, a young public relations professional, said she wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a house right now. She rents in east Henderson because she doesn’t want to make any sort of financial commitment in such a volatile economy.

“A renter can give 30 days’ notice and pack up and drive to another area for a cheaper place, if you need to,” she said. “I’ve had a couple different jobs in the last five years, and I’ve lived in three different homes as a renter. You don’t want to hang your credit out there when you don’t know what your employment situation is going to be.”

A 1,400-square-foot home rents for about $1,000 a month, Szorenyi said. That same home purchased for $100,000 at
5.5 percent interest would carry a mortgage payment of about $650 a month.

That’s if the would-be buyer can get a mortgage.

“Even if buying is much more affordable, you have to save for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage, and that’s hard to do if you’ve lost your job in the recession,” said Jed Kelko, chief economist for “The homeowner rate has fallen, but not as low as places like New York (39.7 percent), which has always been primarily a rental market. But there’s a clear shift from home ownership to rental in Las Vegas because of the foreclosure crisis.”

While credit conditions have loosened slightly, many potential homebuyers are struggling with credit requirements. Roughly 8 percent of contract cancellations are the result of a buyer not qualifying for a loan, according to a March report from Capital Economics analytics firm.

The average credit score required to obtain a mortgage loan is 700. It’s higher than scores required before the mortgage crisis, but constant with requirements a year ago.

While indicators in the Las Vegas region point to a continued decline in home ownership, there indications that a loosening of credit availability may help slow the trend, Capital Economics noted. Banks are lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. That’s up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.

And Joel Sarmiento, senior vice president for Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance Group in Tucson, Ariz., who was in Las Vegas last week for a foreclosure workshop, said he has seen a reversal from investor purchases of Wells Fargo-owned homes around the West to more individual families buying.

The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like