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North Las Vegas a rising star in booming housing market

Updated May 24, 2021 - 12:22 pm

Southern Nevada’s booming housing market has a new rising star in North Las Vegas, a city where home sales in past years often trailed behind other parts of the Las Vegas Valley.

Real estate agents say the competition for homes in North Las Vegas has become fierce even though in previous years it’s often drawn less attention from homebuyers compared with areas such as Summerlin and Henderson.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years — North Las Vegas has always trailed behind the market traditionally in Vegas, but we’ve seen amazing growth in that community,” said Joe Herrera, broker and owner of real estate agency The Joe Taylor Group.

Herrera said that’s because buyers are realizing they can get “a little bit more bang for your buck” compared with other parts of the valley.

Realtor Yvonne Khoo said it’s not just buyer interest that’s grown but also home prices. She recalls helping buyers quickly purchase a “starter home” in North Las Vegas for $85,000 in the late 2000s. In today’s market, that same type of home is going to receive multiple offers and sell for around $310,000, Khoo said.

“If it’s priced right, then you’ll see 20 to 30 offers,” she said. “If it’s priced high, you’ll probably see about 10 offers.”

The average base price for a new home in North Las Vegas is $340,000 compared with the southwest valley where the average base price is $497,000, according to an analysis by the city of North Las Vegas.

Still, home prices are climbing higher in North Las Vegas than in previous years, but Herrera said it still remains a more affordable option for some buyers.

“If somebody is looking for a three-car garage, a pool, a decent size lot and their budget restricts them from purchasing in Summerlin or Henderson or some other areas, they can find what they’re looking for in North Las Vegas for a reasonable price,” he said.

Strong appetite

Touchstone Living’s residential development called Waterfront, near the VA Medical Center, is fielding hundreds of interested buyers for its gated community of 1,180 homes, with prices starting from $243,990.

“We’re seeing over 200 groups of people a week, and we have the longest waiting list we’ve ever seen,” Touchstone President Tom McCormick said. “We’ve been doing land development, getting the whole site ready, but the models opened in January and it’s just been on fire since we opened.”

He said it’s not just the hot housing market driving buyers to look at North Las Vegas but also efforts by the city to attract employers.

Khoo echoed the same sentiment, pointing to North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee’s efforts to revitalize the city and recent activity at Apex Industrial Park, which saw developer VanTrust Real Estate close a $44.75 million deal for about 350 acres last month.

Lee said the city has focused on diversifying its economy by bringing in new industries and manufacturing companies, which then create more jobs for existing residents while attracting new ones.

“It’s not the North Las Vegas that anybody recognizes in the past,” Lee said. “Also, we found as people become more affluent, they move higher in the strata of North Las Vegas. So if you’re in the downtown part of North Las Vegas and you look for a new home, you’ll look for something above Craig Road. If you live above Craig Road, you might look for something around the 215 (Beltway).”

North Las Vegas resident Kelvin Agbor has been looking to move into his first home since December. He’s been a resident for nine years and works at a Coca-Cola warehouse, so the city has become his home.

He said he’s looking for a single-family residence with at least three bedrooms for his family.

“I’ve put in lots of offers,” Agbor said. “It’s just been crazy right now.”

Agbor said that as someone with an FHA loan, he’s been unable to compete with buyers swooping in to pay for homes with all cash.

“You walk into an open house with 30 to 40 people going after the same house,” he said. “Usually, those open houses last two to three hours. If I’m seeing that house for 15 minutes, then think about in three hours how many people are going for that particular home. Now, that leaves the seller with lots of offers to choose from.”

Land rush

Home Builders Research President Andrew Smith said the demand also comes down to price for buyers as well as homebuilders.

“The affordability and the availability of land has driven a lot of the activity there,” said Smith, adding more affordable land generally translates to more affordable homes.

He said new home sales in North Las Vegas accounted for 24 percent of sales for the first quarter of 2021, compared with 10 percent of new home sales for the same period in 2018. Smith added that North Las Vegas is taking “a big chunk of the pie” from the southwest valley, which had 24 percent of new home sales in the first quarter of this year compared with 40 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

But he noted much of the available space in the southwest is gone so homebuilders have shifted their focus to North Las Vegas.

“It doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with the area being better or worse; it’s just a simple fact of availability of land and price point,” Smith said.

And when it comes to homebuyers, Las Vegas Realtor Rick Ruiz said increased demand has led many to expand their search, even considering areas outside of the valley.

“You’re starting to see people even consider moving to Pahrump, even to Logandale, Overton,” he said. “North Las Vegas is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter.

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