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Rising prices reflect Washoe's resurgent housing market

This is not a local bubble! The experts at last weeks PCBC conference agreed this trend will continue across the Country for months to come! The time to buy is now - if you can find it.

Mark Krueger Northern Nevada Land Expert mkrueger@archcrestnv.com

Written by Bill O'Driscoll June 12, 2013 Read it online at rgj.com

Another month, another rise in home sales prices in Washoe County.

Tuesday’s report by the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors points to a resurgence in the region’s existing-home market, which has swelled prices to 2003 levels and, one official believes, could last into 2014.

“It’s looking very good. We’re very confident, and we expect it to continue at least until the end of the year,” said Helen Graham, association president.

Industry analyst Brian Bonnenfant said he’s “definitely” seeing real recovery in the region’s long-suffering housing sector.

“All the pieces are starting to fall into place,” said Bonnenfant, program manager for the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. “‘Real’ to us is when you see the higher-end market pick up. That’s a true underlying result of an improving economy. And we are starting to see indications of it starting to sell.”

The association’s May report, based on data from the Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service including foreclosure properties, shows that Washoe’s median sales price in May was $218,000, up 32 percent from May 2012 and up 6 percent from April.

Graham said the hot market continues to be in homes priced at $250,000 and under.

“That’s white-hot. That’s the sweet spot,” she said. “Even $300,000 is an issue getting multiple offers. It’s crazy. I’ve had one client who made two attempts to buy in southwest Reno at $690,000 and lost both. He went to $710,000.”

In little over two years, Washoe’s median sales price has risen more than 60 percent from its recession low of $135,000 in January 2012 but is still well below the pre-recession high of $350,000 in the third quarter of 2005.

Tuesday’s report parallels other recent findings, including a report last week by CoreLogic, a residential property information provider, showing April price increases of 26 percent locally and 12.1 percent nationwide.

Graham said there are “different camps” on whether the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors figures portend a housing bubble similar to the buildup of a decade ago that burst in recession.

“We’re seeing it differently,” she said. “A lot of buyers now have higher qualification guidelines. And we’re seeing a huge amount of cash, where last time there were a lot of people who really shouldn’t have been buying.

“We don’t believe this is a bubble. Three to 6 percent a year (median price growth) is average, and we’re seeing that. These prices now take us back to pre-all-that-madness, when everything was stable.”

Bonnenfant agreed, saying, “We were at such a low trough that the (increases) look big.”

“We’re still below 2005 levels,” he said. “In the next year, it should level off below double digits. We’re definitely not in a bubble.”

REGIONAL HOUSING TRENDS

May sales: WASHOE: +8% from April, -2% from May 2012 RENO: +5% from April, +7% from May 2012 SPARKS: +4% from April, -22% from May 2012 May median sales price: WASHOE: $218,000 (+6% from April, +32% from May 2012) RENO: $222,000 (+3% from April, +27% from May 2012) SPARKS: $195,000 (+3% from April, +24% from May 2012) Source: Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors

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