John Barrette

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January 2, 2014
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Carson's housing prices keep firming

Short supply of both existing housing and land for lots in Carson City has residential real estate market prices continuing to stabilize.

“We are improving,” said Kathy Tatro, who heads the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors. “We are in more of a sellers’ market because of lack of inventory.”

The association president, however, also wanted to remind prospective homeowners that interest rates remain below historic averages, and housing here still hasn’t rebounded so much that pricing and mortgage outlays combine to form a blockage for qualified buyers.

Bob Fredlund, who is associated with and helps sell houses being constructed at Silver Oak or elsewhere, spoke to the problem that the lack of sufficient land represents. He said that in 2013 and going into 2014, he had 13 or 14 new homes sold and either put under construction or completed. Prospects for 2014 made him sound like the market for new housing here amounts to a two-edged sword.

“I know we could probably do 30,” he said of this calendar year, “but I don’t think we have the land available.”

Both the Coldwell Banker Realtors’ assessments about prices firming due to supply constraints were in line with remarks made by Bruce H. Breslow, director of the Nevada Department of Business & Industry, who focused on this region during an interview.

“Prices are coming up because there’s very little supply,” he said. “So prices are coming up rapidly.”

Figures he supplied and others from Tatro provided insights into the underpinnings of the ascending-price scenario.

Breslow cited a University of Nevada, Las Vegas Lee Business School Real Estate Studies report for November showing the Northern Nevada region, which includes Carson City, saw price boosts from a year earlier of more than 24 percent in both newly built and existing housing.

The area price for new homes late last fall, based on a three-months moving weighted average measurement basis, was more than $290,000. For existing housing, using the same measurement method, the price cited was $236,980. The report said that was better than in the southern part of the state. It also said 75 percent of mortgages in this region were classified as above water, another sign of a healthier housing sector.

Tatro said her figures show that in January a year ago, the median price for existing housing in Carson City was $144,000, but by November it had climbed to $195,000. She also said that in November, there were about 250 houses on the city’s market, while in August 2011 there had been 380 up for sale.

She gave comparable data for nearby communities. Last January in Dayton, the median price was $115,000, but by November it had climbed to $162,000. About 125 houses were on the market there much of last year, but in August 2011 there had been 190 listed.

In Carson Valley, the median price went from $243,000 a year ago to the $250,000-$270,000 range in November, and 334 houses on the market that month compared with 553 in August 2011.

Fredlund, meanwhile, didn’t sound down in the mouth despite the land shortage that helps translate into lot prices in the city ranging from $75,000 to $125,000, depending on various factors. Perhaps he’s upbeat because of how business went in 2013.

“It was good,” he said. “It was solid.”

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 2, 2014 11:51PM Published Jan 8, 2014 12:36PM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.