The days of Las Vegas being a mirage inundated with affordable homes, $1.50 buffets, and free entertainment are proving to be long gone. Las Vegas Realtors released reports that the average cost of a single-family home in Las Vegas in January 2022 is $435,000, an 11.66% increase from last month’s average of $389,546, and a 38.56% spike from the 2020 average.
Vegas was built on being affordable and appealing to all – students, single and multi-parent households, and multi-generation families from varying walks of life. This is no longer posing to be a reality, and thousands will have no choice but to flock elsewhere if it does not change.
Consider the location of the University of Nevada Las Vegas for example, a university in the center of town with limited student housing in its surroundings. There was no prior need as Las Vegas was a town where students could afford to live off-campus and commute to school with ease. With current pricing this is not feasible, and renting is just as bad.
What option does an off-campus student have for housing when the average monthly rent for an 890 square ft. apartment in Las Vegas is $1,421, gas is $4.00, and the Nevada minimum wage sits at $9.75?
This struggle to afford Vegas does not only extend to students and minimum wage earners. All of Vegas’ working class is in peril of being pushed out due to lack of affordability. The average yearly salary of $36,617 in Las Vegas indicates a typical earner would take nearly 40 years to pay off the current average home if they applied 30 percent of their salary towards a mortgage.
These prospective home owning facts present a challenge for anyone, especially those with children. Young parents beginning their families are eager to buy while mortgage interest rates are at record lows, but many are not qualifying for loans based on the discrepancy between Vegas wages and home prices.
Perhaps most impacted by the increases are multi-generation families. These folks must choose between affordability and quality of life. Far too often are six or more individuals squeezing into single family homes and forfeiting comforts to accommodate affordable housing for all household members. Simply heading an hour west of Vegas presents cheaper options as locals of Pahrump, Nevada experience cheaper gas, food, and housing with an average home costing 17.5% less than Las Vegas.
Why would one continue to live in Las Vegas under these conditions when they could move to more rural, spacious landscapes for a fraction of the price?
Many continue to blame the exodus from California, Washington, and Oregon for the recent soar in home prices. Ask any local Las Vegan and they will tell you – the price to live in Las Vegas is alarming; however, prices won’t stop rising if people continue to buy.
Homes have been selling within days and in some cases higher offers are being made without an in-person showing. Luxury realtors receive at least 10 offers almost instantly on anything valued under $1 million dollars and 80 Californian’s move to Las Vegas every day. Although locals are appalled at ordinary Vegas homes pushing a half-million dollars, for those coming from the West, the high prices appear to be a steal.
While current rates are shocking to locals, new Vegas citizens are often moving to the desert to escape the unaffordability they’re experiencing in their native regions. A shift is happening all over. Truthfully, it is unaffordable in most parts of the country lately, and even more so as inflation approaches its highest rates in decades.
With demand this high, what hope is there that prices will drop? It seems that the next best option for Las Vegan’s is to move out and move on.