The Las Vegas population continues to grow in spite of the national economic downturn, at a current rate estimated to be over 5000 a month. This is down from it's peak of 7,000 - 8,000 a month during it's record setting years, but still quite healthy. With the new jobs coming online from the many projects that are already underway, several analysts have predicted a future housing shortage, especially at workforce levels. While not happening at this very moment, it is something that is being addressed by those looking ahead into the next few years. They are investing heavily into what they believe is the coming home explosion of Las Vegas that will spread well beyond it's borders.
Yes it's true, the valley has a limited supply of developable land. In a recent blog I talked about what you may not know about Las Vegas. One point was that the Las Vegas Valley is hemmed in, surrounded not only by mountains, but by government owned land. This map will give you a visual with the gray area publicly owned, the red and white border showing the limits of future available land, with some of that to be used as park / open space.
The Las Vegas housing issue was brought to light during the housing boom. As land became increasingly limited, property costs increased and home prices followed that lead. Las Vegas began to dabble into going vertical even in the suburbs, and new affordable homes began doing the same with higher density developments. It's one of the reasons that the values found in today's market are astounding with some properties selling at or below what it would cost to build them, even at today's pricing.
It's no wonder that Las Vegas home sales have been steadily on the rise since the beginning of the year.
So where will all the future Las Vegas workers live as the population continues to swell and land runs out? One answer is found here in a recent New York Times Story. Major developers Rhodes Homes and Mardian Group are already preparing to expand into what they believe will become Las Vegas' new bedroom community in nearby Arizona. They are estimating that by 2040 they could build as many as 80,000 homes for a potential population of 150,000 people commuting to work in Las Vegas. Travel to and from will be aided with the completion of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge with an expected opening date of June 2010. While there is some resident opposition to the development of this very rural area and other obstacles to overcome, it seems to have it's share of supporters on the state and local levels.
This forward looking housing project also isn't the only one on the table. Approximately 55 miles to the northeast of Las Vegas, construction on the Master Planned Community of Coyote Springs is underway. The proposed 43,000 acre development will straddle Clark and Lincoln counties. The area is nearly twice the size of Summerlin and will feature 2 Jack Nicklaus designed courses and a PGA Village with 12,000 square foot clubhouse. The first course, The Chase, opened in April of this year and the second slated to begin construction in 2010. A total of 16 golf courses have been approved for the entire project. Pardee Homes is Master Residential Builder and with infrastructure now being constructed it is expected that new homes will be available by 2009. (NOTE: To be represented by their own real estate agent, buyers must not register online or sign in at any new home sites without their agent.)
As you can see there is quite an investment in the future growth of Las Vegas. Hundreds of millions for these two areas are already being spent in expectation of it's continued expansion. While it's impossible to predict the future, it appears these developers and builders, like the many others that have 10's of billions more in current Las Vegas construction, are banking on it's continued growth and success.
I also need to take a moment to laud the writer of this New York Times article. It's an excellent example of something that is becoming rare...objective journalism. There was a balance of all sides of the story with the positives of development, the opposition to it, and the hurdles it may yet have to face. The real estate / housing industry was the savior during the last economic downturn and 2001 recession that began during the previous lame duck administration, along with the added blow of the 9-11 disaster. Today the industry has become the whipping boy of the media, often with misleading or poorly researched information, and at times obviously slanted half truths. I think most anyone in the industry, along with the general public, can appreciate articles like this one that is presenting the full story and allowing the reader to make their own choices.
The writer is Steve Friess, an international freelance journalist based in Las Vegas. You may have read his other articles that have appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, and many other major publications. Steve is well known for voicing his criticisms when he feels they are due or corrections should they be necessary, and that only adds to the integrity of his writing. Locally he shares his views in his 'Strip Sense' column for the Las Vegas Weekly and his Vegas Happens Here blog. Steve also co-hosts the celebrity interview and Las Vegas news and travel tips show offered on 'The Strip Podcast' with his partner Miles, and for pet lovers the Petcast with the Emily Richmond of the Las Vegas Sun.
If you are interested in relocating to Las Vegas or would like information on Las Vegas real estate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 702-354-8988. I look forward to hearing from you!