Why 2018 is a Good Year to Buy in Las Vegas

If you thought you missed your chance to buy a home in Las Vegas in 2017, don’t worry — it looks like the trend will continue throughout 2018.

More than a decade after the housing crisis that saw home prices drop more than 60 percent, the Las Vegas housing market is back on its feet and offering plenty of opportunity for homebuyers looking for a smart investment.

Experts forecasted that 2017 would be the best year for local home sales in five years, and according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS (GLVAR), it was. By March 2017, the median price of homes had risen higher than the median in 2016 — and that includes both traditional homes and the increasingly popular townhomes and condos.

The city’s proximity to countless amenities — including cultural and entertainment hubs like Chinatown, The Strip, and a plethora of museums — and its growing number of jobs attract youthful, driven buyers.

While the Las Vegas real estate market is currently growing, it’s not an overpriced market and in fact, home prices here are low compared to elsewhere in the US; creating a favorable situation for buyers. Here are a few of the top reasons the market is affordable and on an upward path for the future, making 2018 an ideal year to buy in this city.

Home Prices are Rising

Sales totals have picked up momentum over the past few years, and although they’re nowhere near their peak from the mid-2000s, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Slow growth is more stable than the chaotic, unruly growth that contributed to the crash 10 years ago.

The median price of homes in Las Vegas has been on the rise for five straight years now. In fact, the median home price in Southern Nevada as a whole has almost doubled from where it sat at $123,000 in 2012, according to GLVAR reports. Forecasts predict that the region as a whole will continue to see this type of growth. Dennis Smith, president of Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research, estimates that new-home prices rose between 6.5 to 8 percent in 2017, and will rise between 5 to 7 percent in 2018.

In July 2017, for example, the median price for a single-family home was $260,000, about 10 percent higher than the year before. Even more promising, the median price for condos and townhomes that same month was $138,000, up 20 percent from the year before; making them a more affordable and faster growing product in Las Vegas.

Fortunately, compared to elsewhere in the country, Las Vegas home prices are still relatively low. As one residential property tracker said, “Las Vegas is truly one of the last cities in America that is still on sale.”

The affordability of these properties is compounded by the low interest rates that are still available, although this may not last long, making 2018 a good year to buy in Las Vegas if you want to avoid unmanageable interest rates down the line.

The Job Market Is Growing

While the number of sales has been rising, the number of houses on the market is actually falling. This is especially true of condos and townhomes that are being bought up by driven, young urban buyers looking for the combination of ritzy luxury and convenience they offer. From 2015 to 2016, the population of Clark County grew by more than 2 percent; that’s over 46,375 new residents in a year!

What’s drawing these buyers? Work.

Many experts believe the increase in buyers is due to job market growth. In terms of employment levels, Nevada is around where it was pre-recession, and looks like it will continue to grow on a more diversified base than before. While construction, consumer spending, and tourism play a large role in the local economy, there have been gains made by other industries including manufacturing and healthcare.

Essentially, demand for urban homes is rising while the inventory is falling. If you’re thinking about buying a condo in Las Vegas, 2018 is the time to do it, while prices are still affordable and properties are still available.

New Developments on the Strip

Young homebuyers and buyers in the market for a second home have long been attracted to the glamorous lifestyle of The Las Vegas Strip, and its popularity will only continue to rise thanks to new developments that increase the value of nearby properties.

This is especially true for up-and-coming, underappreciated areas like the north end of the Strip where many of the major developments are taking place — including the construction of the much anticipated Fontainebleau, an expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the production of the new Raiders’ Stadium. All in all, there is an estimated several billions of dollars worth of construction going on in along the north Strip, all serving to boost the desirability of the neighborhood.

There will be tourists to support these developments, too. The number of visitors to the city rose from 42.3 million In 2015 to 42.9 million in 2016, and 2017 reports are on track for another record year. Homes along The Strip, especially the north end and surrounding area, are likely to drop in availability and increase in value over the next few years based on recent trends.

What to Buy in 2018

The evidence points to 2018 as a good year to buy a home in Las Vegas, but when it comes to what to buy, condos will likely be this year’s smartest financial choice for the current buyer. Not only are they more affordable, but the demand for them is growing faster than the demand for traditional, detached homes — making them a smarter investment.

As the Las Vegas market continues to evolve, experts are looking at the long-range forecast, and they like what they see. Up to and through the year 2022, experts predict a healthy balance of supply and demand, and a healthy alignment of median household incomes and median home prices. This means homes will stay affordable, even if the market cools down a little. Predictions also indicate that a demand for land and a growing population could lead to a shortage of homes, which is good news for sellers in roughly five years.

So, whether you’re looking to move permanently to this lively city, purchase a vacation home on the dazzling Las Vegas Strip, or buy a home as an investment to sell in the future, 2018 will be an ideal year to get in on the Vegas scene.

Contributed by: Randy Char is a broker with Sky Las Vegas Condominiums in Las Vegas. Follow him on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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