‘The best sign I’ve seen in a long time’
State Assemblyman Kelly Kite didn’t mention the jobs created or the beauty of the homes or their surroundings when talking about the opening of The Ranch subdivision in Gardnerville.
He opted instead for simpler terms.
“The best part was the ‘sold’ sign on the home next door,” he said Friday, speaking in the living room of one of the new houses during the subdivision’s launch party. “It’s the best sign I’ve seen in a long time.”
The party marked the completion or near-completion of just five of what’s planned to be a community of more than 600 residences. According to a press release, this is the first new residential development for the Gardnerville area in more than five years.
Kite said he was still on the Douglas County Commission when the idea for it was first broached. Then, the Great Recession happened.
Mike Bayliss of Bayliss Associates, a driving force for the subdivision, said the crashed economy caused his company to reassess the development. It opted to wait for the recovery to start before resuming the build, and even now, the firm will do only about five units at a time.
Then, once those sell, it will build five more. Interest has been high enough that hammers should start swinging for the next batch pretty soon, he said.
“There absolutely is pent-up demand” for new homes, Bayliss said between greeting attendees. “A lot of people just want something that is turnkey so they don’t need to go in and fix it up.”
He said other builders he has spoken with have similar thoughts of “let’s not get crazy, but let’s get going,” though it is far from unanimous.
With the overall local housing inventory down to fewer than 300 homes, from a high of 575, home sales should be steady, the company says in a press release.
The release also notes a recently published paper by the director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Center for Business and Economic Research that predicts continued economic improvements through 2013 and statewide unemployment hitting single digits by then.
Bringing those jobs in can’t happen fast enough for Douglas County and its 14 percent unemployment rate, Commissioner Mike Olson said. And once those homes fill up, it will only beget more ventures from now-tepid businessmen, developers and investors, he said.
“For us, it’s nice to see some dirt move, to see some optimism,” he said. “It’s just nice.”