November 18, 2023 - 9:01 pm
A recent Review-Journal article headlined “North Las Vegas homes have a Wall Street problem” ignores the role of housing supply and its impact on homeownership, implies that more investment in housing is somehow not a positive and presents a view of homeownership that is at odds with the reality of today’s housing market.
The article repeatedly cites the role of “corporate landlords” and “institutional investors” as a factor negatively impacting homeownership in Las Vegas and throughout the state. Yet it provides little factual context to support these claims.
First and foremost, the article neglects to point out that homeownership rates in Nevada, Clark County and the Las Vegas metropolitan area are all higher today than they were five years ago. And in a new report from H&R Block, “Outlook on American Life,” Las Vegas was ranked as the nation’s second-most popular destination for middle-class families, specifically because of the city’s large inventory of for-sale homes that the report’s authors credit with keeping prices low.
The article also fails to include several other significant points. For starters, large providers of single-family rental homes own just 0.4 percent of the housing in America, and of all the rental housing in the United States, large providers own just 1 percent. In the Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area, the percentage of the housing market owned by large providers is slightly higher than the national average at just under 2 percent. This is a far cry from the article’s exaggerated claims about the outsized role of large single-family rental home providers
To the article’s claims concerning Black and Hispanic homeownership, an Urban Institute analysis of the top 20 MSAs in the United States — including Las Vegas — published this spring concluded “institutional single- family operators” are not disproportionately concentrated in nonwhite areas.
Finally, in portraying housing “investors” as some kind of ever-present force in the housing market, the article fails to include the widely reported fact that investor purchases have fallen by unprecedented amounts over the past year. Redfin data show investor home purchases falling more than 30 percent in each of the past four quarters. In the first quarter of 2023, in fact, investor purchases fell almost 50 percent, the largest decline on record. And according the data from the National Rental Home Council, the share of the Las Vegas housing market accounted for by single-family rentals is less today than it was five years ago.
In Nevada and many other states across the country, the primary challenge facing the housing market is simple: supply. The supply of housing in the United States has for years failed to keep pace with demand. As a result, America faces a housing deficit of between 4 million and 6 million homes. A recent study of housing supply conditions by the Bipartisan Policy Center reveals the extent of the problem in Nevada, where the statewide population has increased by nearly 434,000 residents over the past decade, while the housing stock has grown by only about 131,000 homes.
The simple fact: America — and Nevada — need more housing of all kinds to support families no matter where they are in life. Every person, regardless of income, background or profession, deserves access to quality neighborhoods. Single-family rental homes provide access to the kinds of housing many Americans need.
Housing, put simply, should not be viewed as zero sum. We need more supply, of all types, to help ensure we meet the needs of today — and tomorrow. And single-family rental homes are an important component for working families in any housing market.
David Howard is CEO of the National Rental Home Council. He writes from Washington, D.C.