Third Quarter Housing Update for the Reno-Sparks Area

This post by Ben Tedore

Posted in Housing

[reposted from]

The fact that Washoe County’s housing market slowed even more in the third quarter of 2007 is hardly even newsworthy – it’s evident everywhere you look and I am starting to sound like a broken record each month with my “more of the same” analysis of the market.  There are, however, a few bright spots on the bleak landscape of housing in Washoe County.

From the second to the third quarter of this year, the median sale price of new and existing single family homes held virtually steady.  Sure, there were 20 percent fewer sales over that time, but the fact that pricing has held the line is good news no matter which way you look at it.  The median sale price of a single family home in the greater Reno-Sparks area was $323,857 in the third quarter of this year – about 9 percent below where it was a year earlier, but at least it’s holding steady.  Spanish Springs was the only part of town which posted an increase in existing home sales over the quarter, with nearly 4 percent more home sales than in the second quarter.

Also, sales of new and existing condo units were up 15 percent in the third quarter, with average transaction prices 4.4 percent higher than in the second quarter.  The real strength, though, was with existing condo units (versus new units), which is likely a function of the greater supply of existing units on the market.  While there is a ton of condo units planned for the Reno-Sparks area, there simply aren’t many new units on the market right now.  Look for this change in the coming months, though.

Sales of existing condo units were up 22 percent in the third quarter with sales prices averaging 5 percent higher than in the previous quarter.  When you compare the third quarter to the previous year, the picture looks even brighter – 24 percent more sales and a 10 percent appreciation in median sale price.  Third quarter sales were strongest in the New Northwest, New Southeast, North Urban, North Valleys, and the Old Southwest parts of town…and by “strong” I mean that sales were up 10 to 80 percent over the previous quarter.  I find that especially impressive in light of the utter lack of sales in the single family market over the same time period.

The condo market in the Reno-Sparks area is going to surprise people – I see SO many new units ready to hit the market at a variety of price points and I can’t help but feel like the timing is going to be pretty good for them.  The Reno-Sparks area is still experiencing positive in-migration from other states – people are relocating here every day because of the employment opportunities in the area as well as for the outstanding quality of life that the area offers – and many of these people are going to be buying homes.

For the most part, condo living is a new concept to the Reno-Sparks area and we’re just beginning to see how well these new units absorb in the market.  The Palladio – a higher end development in Downtown Reno – has enjoyed very strong sales since the units became available a few months ago, and the same can be said for the high-rise luxury condos in the Grand Sierra Resort.  If these early indications hold true for the rest of the condo market, this is a product that will do very well in the Truckee Meadows.

  • source: Washoe County Assessor’s data, compiled by the Center for Regional Studies, UNR

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