The Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors announced the median home price in Reno reached an all-time high this month, passing $420,000.
That announcement comes in the midst of a statewide housing crisis, which has seen skyrocketing rents in the Reno/Sparks area and Las Vegas.
"It reflects the seasonality. We did have a little bit of a correction through the winter time. And then more inventory came online and so it excited the market," said Brian Bonnenfant, Project Manager for the Center for Regional Studies at UNR.
Bonnenfant said with demand for housing and wages going up the area is going to see prices go up.
"With that demand and the wages behind it, you're going to see the prices climb yet again," he said.
Bonnenfant said the median family income is about $78,000, which affords a home at around $365,000. The market corrected itself in the fall because the median price of a home reached $380,000 and because of concerns about trade wars and the government shutdown.
Now, with more buyers getting off the fence and looking to purchase a home the prices have jumped; however, Bonnenfant said that may not stay for the long term.
"As far as the long term, we just cannot keep appreciating values at double-digit percents because of the wage limitations," he said.
There has been a lot of discussions in Reno and Las Vegas about how local and state government can help fill in the gaps in affordable housing.
Bonnenfant believes it is up to the market to provide affordable housing.
"The developers and builders are very smart," he said, "They know the prices they know the demand. They build to achieve that balance."
The main reason for the affordability crisis is demand has outstripped supply - especially in Reno.
In addition, the cost of building a home or an apartment is so high that it doesn't pencil out for developers to build less expensive housing.
He believes the government can help by providing homes for people who are not part of the workforce for whatever reason.
"Non-workforce housing is definitely where the government has to be part of that solution," he said.
Bonnenfant noted that in Reno some of the extreme low-income housing has been eliminated in the downtown area, displacing many people.
While Bonnenfant said he supports government intervention in some areas to help with affordable housing, he said that no community in the West has been able to solve the problem. Instead, the market has to work itself out.
"Whenever you have growth, be it in population or in employment and you don't have that housing inventory keep up, these are the cause of these issues in all these communities in the West coast," he said, "It really needs to play out with the inventory being added to the community."
Brian Bonnenfant, project manager, Center for Regional Studies at UNR
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