Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 | 2 a.m.
As it becomes more expensive to buy a house in Southern Nevada in early 2017, home and apartment rental rates creep upward as well.
RentRange’s final quarterly report for 2016 showed that the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom home in the Las Vegas area bumped up to $1,286, representing a 6.1 percent increase over the same time the previous year. That elevated price still lags behind the national average, as nationally, the same-sized house costs $1,325 on average. That is a 2.4-percent increase over the same period in 2015.
Apartment rents rose as well, with 6 percent growth to $904 on average in January, according to a report from RENTCafe. The same report expects increased inventory to alleviate some pricing pressure on apartment rent in Las Vegas, with 3,400 units under construction. Despite placing among the top 20 cities for fastest growth in apartment price, Las Vegas also ranked among the top 20 for lowest rent among major cities in the country.
“Considering the economic factors that contribute to Las Vegas’s housing market, in addition to the overall economic health forecasted for the year, we expect rental prices will rise (in 2017),” said Tod Wever of Real Property Management of Las Vegas.
That would track with the local home resale market, which unexpectedly moved upward in January. The median price of existing single-family homes jumped to $238,000 in January, up 1.3 percent from December and up 8.7 percent from $219,000 in January 2016. The median price of condos and townhomes sold in January was $113,500, moving up slightly from December, but down 5.4 percent from January 2016.
The winter months typically offer stagnant home resale prices, but an ongoing lack of supply continues to inflate cost. Less than a three-month supply of homes stands available for sale when a six-month supply is considered to be a balanced market.
“This is another example of the steady appreciation local homeowners have been enjoying over the past few years,” said Dave Tina, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR). “It’s good for our housing market and the economy when more homeowners are building equity in their homes.”
The Las Vegas vacancy rate held nearly unchanged at 3.92 percent for three-bedroom homes in the RentRange study. Nationally, vacancy rates stood at 4.8 percent through the fourth quarter of 2016, down 0.2 percent from a year earlier.