The Las Vegas economy continues to show signs of improvement through the first quarter, according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a Houston-based housing data and consulting firm that maintains an extensive database on residential construction.
“Job growth has been elusive over the past three years, but continues to remain positive through February, adding 2,200 jobs,” said Greg Gross, director of Metrostudy’s Las Vegas Region.
Employment is up slightly from one year ago. Recovery in the broader national economy is a key issue for Las Vegas, as the market remains poised to be one of the early recovery markets. The unemployment rate continues to improve and stands at 12.1 percent.
“Even as weakness continues, Vegas remains much more diversified today than in years past, and if 2011 is any indicator, the job market should continue to improve through 2012,” Gross said.
Through the first quarter, single-family new-homes closings were 3,665, a decrease of 21 percent from a year ago. There were 858 new-home starts during the quarter, compared to 762 starts in first quarter 2011, an increase of 12 percent.
Attached housing is 75 percent of all housing inventory this year.
“The market continues to suffer with excessive mid-rise and high-rise projects that, when conceived, simply had no real occupancy demand,” Gross said. The high-end, high-rise market will remain depressed for years to come. Entry and mid-level product will be opportunistic as the market slide ends.
The Las Vegas housing market has stabilized and is beginning to improve, he said. It gained momentum in the second half of last year and it has carried into 2012, which will help spur better confidence in the market.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at email@example.com or 702-383-0491.