Carson City housing market improved; cost still a concern
March 31, 2018
Carson City, like most of the rest of western Nevada, has been dramatically impacted by the housing shortage.
And, ironically, the problem is the area's economic boom driven by the huge number of jobs created by Tesla/Panasonic, Switch, Apple and a host of other major and smaller companies moving in.
"The jobs are coming and now the demand for housing has to catch up here," said City Manager Nick Marano.
In Carson City, there are some 21,700 housing units.
Marano and Carson Mayor Bob Crowell said they aren't worried so much about those families in the median income range — $51,684 a year or more according to the Nevada Rural Housing Authority. Nor are they too worried about what Marano referred to as the workforce-priced market — effectively those families at 85 percent of median.
"The market is responding to the housing shortage when we're talking about people who are looking for a median priced home or workforce priced housing," Marano said.
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"What we're concerned about is meeting the needs of affordable housing defined as 50 percent of median income."
Crowell said getting housing built in the affordable range will be a challenge, "until we can make it financially feasible for developers to develop a piece of property."
He said what government can do is make sure the infrastructure is in place to encourage those developers to come.
"That will start creating affordable housing," he said. "The future of affordable housing is going to be smaller homes, smaller footprints," Crowell said.
Both said the city will have to help encourage developers by being flexible and creative. One such move was to rezone a large, formerly industrial piece of property on the east end of town near the old V&T along Draco Way. It's now mixed use to encourage developers to take a look.
"These are hard projects to get going," said Marano. "We're looking for the right investor to partner with."
Crowell said there's growing interest on the east side of the city.
"Over the years in Carson City, the west side has been more single family homes," he said. "The east side has had its difficulties in developing but that is starting to change."
There are numerous projects — especially in apartments and multi-family structures — at some stage of development in town.
The large mixed-use commercial/residential project at 308 Curry St., is nearing completion with residential units on the third and fourth floors. Seven townhomes are under construction at Anderson and Robinson streets. Four, four-unit buildings — 16 units — are being built on Linda Kay Court and a skilled nursing facility is being built at 1001 Mountain St.
Site improvement permits have been issued for 105 single family lots at Mills Landing and the building permit application is being reviewed for 147 single family townhomes called Arbor Villas at Little Lane. A 90-apartment project is being reviewed at GS Richards Boulevard. But the big project being reviewed is the Carson Hills Apartments on South Curry Street where 300 units have been proposed.
Marano said those projects are clear evidence the market is starting to respond at least for the median and workforce priced housing.
"The market is going to respond to the housing shortage in Northern Nevada one way or another," he said.