‘A home we can afford’
November 6, 2006
They can’t afford a home, but by taking in a roommate, Tansey and Xavier Anderson can afford a $1,240 luxury apartment in North Carson City.
Leonard Mitchell, 75, found affordable housing for his family by getting out of the city and investing in a $213,000 manufactured home.
The wind storm this past week rattled the house a bit, but “I didn’t lose a shingle.”
Many Northern Nevadans still find themselves priced out of a single-family home despite a bear market. The Carson City housing market hit a high in 2005 when the median price of a single-family home jumped 34 percent over a year to $348,500. Prices have inched down this year, according to the Multiple Listing Service, which tracks Realtor sales. The median cost of a single-family home in September was $310,000, the most recent number available.
That’s still a bit much for Mitchell, who lives with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. The U.S. Army veteran paid an additional $80,000 for his one-acre in Stagecoach, where he decided to settle after getting priced out of Douglas County, one of the most expensive areas for housing in the state.
In Lyon County, Mitchell pays a monthly mortgage of $1,600 on his FHA loan.
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“In my opinion, they are much more affordable than a regular home,” Mitchell said. “I have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two office rooms, an entertainment room and I have 2,200 square feet, which is pretty big.”
Only a handful of manufactured homes are sold by Realtors in Carson City each month. In the third quarter, the median price of a manufactured home was $169,000, which does not include the land. The extra costs beyond the home can add up quickly.
Prices per square foot for the manufactured home ranges from $55 to $65. But that’s before the cost of land and its development, which could mean a well and septic.
A traditionally built house costs from $200 to $220 a square foot, which includes the land.
The Andersons moved from a cramped one-bedroom apartment in an “OK area of central Reno” where they paid $680 a month. This move will mean a commute for Xavier Anderson, but that’s why they picked the apartment complex by the Carson City freeway. The move also means more room for their first child, who is expected near Christmas. Taking on a roommate means they can split the rent and the $600 security deposit.
Dolphin Bay Luxury Apartments has a gym, pool and spa. Each apartment includes cable, Internet and a laundry room. Tansey Anderson said this is “luxury” compared to where they’ve been. Their rent is pretty close to what a house mortgage could be in a lower market.
Rents have increased about 5 percent over the last year, said Steve Veatch, vice president of Valley Realty, of Carson City. A one-bedroom apartment rents for about $600. A two-bedroom condo is about $800. House rents have stayed flat over the last year to 18 months, he said. A three-bedroom house rents for about $1,200. Valley Realty manages about 300 rental properties in the area.
“I think we were not ready for the financial commitment,” Anderson said about buying a traditional home. “We want to own, but it’s just too expensive.”
There is some hope for future home owners. Carson City is one of the top 30 areas in the nation projected to have the largest declines in median housing prices, according to a report issued in October by Moody’s Economy.com.
Carson City is projected to have a median housing price decline of 9.8 percent. The Reno-Sparks area could see a price decline of 17.2 percent.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.