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Why is Mesquite growing so fast?

Updated June 21, 2024 - 3:27 pm

Mesquite is the fastest-growing city in Nevada and could more than double its population in less than 20 years.

The city could break 45,000 residents by 2041, and this is all being fueled by a very specific demographic, said Sungman Kim, director of development services for the city of Mesquite. Approximately 45 percent of the city’s population is 65 or older, he said, as much of the city’s population are snowbirds — retired Americans or Canadians who spend the winter months in Mesquite.

The stats back that up, experts say.

Mesquite had 2,016 vacant houses in 2023, but only 16 percent of those are for sale. The area currently has approximately 102 homes, 34 condos and 27 town homes for sale, ranging from $275,000 to $1.6 million according to recent Multiple Listing Service data.

“It means that most of the vacant houses are not for sale, which again means, I assume, that those are probably the second house for the snowbirds,” Kim said.

Mesquite is the fastest-growing city in the state of Nevada from 2020 to 2023 by percentage growth, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, outpacing North Las Vegas (9.0 percent) and Fernley (7.4 percent).

The city’s population jumped 10.5 percent from 20,616 in 2020 to 22,786 in 2023, according to the census. Located in Clark County, Mesquite lies within the Virgin River Valley about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas and is home to the Palms Golf Course which first opened back in 1990.

Population has taken off over the last few years

Karen Fielding, a city councillor, said growth has been the story since she moved to the border town almost 30 years ago.

“When I moved here there were 3,270 people and now we’re over 22,000 people, so it’s been slow but steady growth in Mesquite and then the last few years things have just taken off,” Karen Fielding, who is on Mesquite City Council and a real estate agent, said. “And that is evident by all the single family residential permits being pulled.”

For a comparison, in May 2024, Mesquite had 34 single-family home permits pulled in one month, compared to last year when only 29 were pulled, said Fielding, who moved to the city in 1995.

Fielding said Mesquite is an entirely different place depending on what time of year you come to the city.

“A lot of the snowbirds leave in the summer because it’s hot here and go back to their prospective homes,” she said. “And so I would say it fluctuates about 3,000 to 4,000 residents every year.”

The city straddles the Nevada and Arizona state lines and is between Las Vegas and St. George, Utah. Fielding said this attracts a lot of retirees who want to live out their lives surrounded by recreational and entertainment options, but not necessarily have to deal with the hassle of living in a big city.

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“So we have lots of golf courses and three casinos here, and the golf courses bring a lot of people in regarding tourism as well. And we also have some off-road vehicle trails, so a lot of people come here from Utah to use the trails.”

Fielding said she’s not worried about the increased attention to the city lately and it losing its hidden gem status.

“I’ve been here for 30 years, and what we have is steady growth and that’s kind of what we are aiming for, we don’t want to grow too fast that we can’t accommodate the new people who come to town and seek this place out.”

Contact Patrick Blennerhassett at pblennerhassett@reviewjournal.com.

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