Housing market rebounds in hard-hit Lyon County | NevadaAppeal.com
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Housing market rebounds in hard-hit Lyon County

What a difference a couple years can make.

Fewer residential real estate markets were harder hit during the recession than Lyon County, where overbuilding in the heyday left a glut of empty homes in some areas, and waves of foreclosures during the downturn added more.

But Lyon County is bouncing back from its steep fall and recovering better than many other northern Nevada markets.

“Things have changed a lot in the last two years,” says Bruce Cook, an agent with Lahontan Properties in Silver Springs. “Two years ago a nice manufactured home was selling for $40,000. Those same types of homes are now $60,000 to $70,000. I don’t want to say it’s doubled, but it’s gone up a good measure.”

Inventory is down and prices are going up. In Dayton, for example, inventory was down to 3.9 months in January, the lowest inventory there since at least 2010, says the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors. The average home price in January was $164,000. That’s a near reversal of trends three years earlier, when inventory peaked at 9.8 months and average home prices dropped to $113,000. Then inventory began to dip and the average home price hit a low of $89,000 in March, 2012. The turnaround started that summer, when home prices jumped back into the mid-six figures while inventory continued to fall below a healthy five months.

The Silver Springs-Stagecoach market is not tracked separately, but agents say inventory there may be even lower.

“We have maybe two months at most,” says John Capello, an agent with Realty World Ballard Co. in Silver Springs. “We have no more low-end inventory. Occasionally there are a few, but unless the home is just in terrible shape, they go extremely quickly.”

Once inventory started to shrink, prices started to rise, says Capello.

“Within the last four to six months prices have come up considerably,” he says. “A home that was once $30,000 is close to double that now.”

At the low-end, the few available homes get scooped up by investors. But Capello and others say it’s primarily homeowners in the market now, including commuters to Carson City, Reno and elsewhere.

He expects the market to hold strong with new industry locating in the Highway 50 corridor in the coming years. A food company is opening a plant there, employing about 40 people, he says, and meat-packing facility is expected to open in a year. In January, the Silver Springs airport was selected by Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems to be a drone testing site, a move that could spur related businesses to locate nearby.

And loans backed by the government are making it easier — but not easy, says Lahontan Properties’ Cook — for homeowners to get financing now. But that’s only for stick-built homes; manufactured homes, which make up the bulk of the inventory in Silver Springs, don’t qualify.

A monkey wrench in all this, though, could come in the form of additional foreclosed homes flooding the market. Capello and Cook say the banks are holding on to a number of foreclosed homes in the area, presumably waiting for prices to stabilize or rise further.

That’s no longer a problem in Fernley, says Kellie Flodman, an agent with Re/Max Authority and the Fernley director of the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors.

“The banks did everything here first for some reason,” says Flodman.

Flodman says bank-owned homes are about 20 percent of the Fernley inventory, down from a sky-high 82 percent two years ago. A recent listing of 68 foreclosed homes on the market in the area, for example, included only three in Fernley, she says.

“I think it helps the pricing, we can start driving prices upward,” says Flodman. “A lot of people shied away from short sales, which they take longer, and that skewed our numbers.”

Flodman says there are now 75 to 90 homes on the Fernley market at any given time, and they’re on the market for about 30 days, down from 100 days in recent years.

There’s even new construction. Reno’s KDH Builders LLC, through its Jenuane Communities division, is building and selling mid-sized, mid-priced homes in its Autumn Winds Fernley development.

Flodman likens Fernley to another Lyon County market, Dayton, where there’s also some new construction. There, national homebuilder Lennar Corp. is building similar houses in two developments — the Villas at Copper Canyon and Woodrush at River Park — close to Stagecoach.

“We’re similar to Dayton. We might sell more because of the industrial park,” says Flodman, referring to the 107,000 acre Reno Tahoe Industrial Center.

The park’s location, situated as close to Fernley as it is to Reno, has been a big selling point for Fernley homes, which are priced $70,000 to $90,000 less on average than houses in Reno.