With the record prices in Las Vegas, more home buyers are heading to Pahrump


PAHRUMP – When Teresa Washington was looking for an apartment in the Las Vegas Valley that spring, she kept trying to buy an apartment, no matter how much money she offered.

She looked at about 20 houses and even when she tried to overpay $ 10,000 beyond the prompt

It was outbid by tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes she would drive around to look at the houses and hours later to find out that the sellers were leaving with someone else, she remembered.

Frustrated with the frenzy, the 60-year-old clinical coordinator eventually looked for Pahrump. Washington had never been to the rural town about 60 miles west of the Strip, but she found a house in her price range with plenty of space and bought it without a bid.

After 15 years in the Las Vegas area, she was “happy as a peacock” in her new church.

“Who wouldn’t like it here?” Said Washington.

The Las Vegas housing market has accelerated over the past year with rapid sales and record prices, largely thanks to the lowest mortgage rates that have allowed buyers to stretch their budgets. People have flooded homes with offers and routinely exceeded asking prices, and builders have put buyers on waiting lists, regularly raised prices, placed bids on lots and, in some cases, even drawn names to determine who can buy a space.

It’s getting harder and harder to buy a home in the Las Vegas area, it’s getting more expensive and, some fear, more prohibitive. And now, according to industry circles, more buyers than usual in America’s casino capital are turning to Pahrump.

“You can’t believe how cheap the houses are here compared to Vegas,” said Pahrump realtor Ray Guin.

“More for your money”

According to all reports, there is no increase in Las Vegas people buying homes in Pahrump. But brokers and builders here say an increasing number of house hunters in the Las Vegas area, including retirees and commuters, have been looking west over the Spring Mountains.

Pahrump, an unincorporated town in Nye County, is known for its history of libertarian leanings, widespread gun ownership, and legal out-of-town brothels, not to mention open space, large numbers of retirees, and an overall slower pace of life.

The city saw a decline in home sales and housing construction activity last year following the outbreak of the pandemic, but like countless other areas across the country, the housing market has warmed since then. Pahrump doesn’t have nearly as many job opportunities or amenities as Las Vegas, but when it comes to housing, it has lower prices, big lots, and less competition.

“You get more for your money here,” said Guin of Nevada Realty.

In total, buyers picked up 628 homes and RVs in Pahrump as of August 10 this year, up from 522 in the entire previous year, according to data from Pahrump broker Norma Jean Opatik, owner of Realty Executives in Action.

The average single-family home sales price this year is $ 315,000, up 21 percent from the median for all of 2020, and the average RV price is $ 190,000, up nearly 22 percent.

Omatik said she gets about four calls a week from people in Las Vegas where she claims buyers are selling out or cannot find a home that suits their needs amid stiff competition.

In Pahrump, homes sold above asking price last year and sellers have submitted multiple bids, but bid wars aren’t as common as they are in Las Vegas, according to Opatik.

Pahrump Valley Properties owner Michael Selbach has seen buyers from Las Vegas on a regular basis over the years, but there are more now than usual, he said, adding that he seems to be getting a lot from Henderson.

Some people want to leave Las Vegas because they feel it is too big and crowded, although some buyers are struggling to buy a home in the growing metropolis, he said.

“More and more interest”

Housing construction has also spiked in Pahrump, with builders getting 275 single-family building permits through July this year, nearly 80 percent more than in 2020, Nye County’s figures show.

Home builder Shadow Mountain Construction has 15 families dropping in or calling from Las Vegas every week to talk about buying a home, said office manager Stephanie Avena.

According to James Gomez, Las Vegas Division President of property developer Taylor Morrison Home Corp.

He said prices there are $ 150,000 to $ 200,000 below a comparable house in the Las Vegas area, and that people of the Las Vegas Valley sold at high prices and bought a home in Pahrump for less money to use the savings to waste.

“We’re seeing more and more interest in the Pahrump market,” said Gomez.

“You can’t compete”

In Las Vegas, despite the devastating and ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the casino-heavy economy, the housing market has been at a rapid pace for years.

House prices have hit new all-time highs practically every month, and homes have been selling quickly, largely thanks to lower borrowing costs and more buyers than usual. Many of the newcomers have left more expensive markets like California to buy bigger, cheaper homes in the Las Vegas Valley and work remotely.

The average retail price of previously owned single-family homes – the majority of the market – was a record $ 405,000 in July, nearly 23 percent more than a year earlier, the Las Vegas Realtors trade association reported.

In addition, 89 percent of homes that traded last month had been on the market for 30 days or less, compared with around 60 percent of sales last July, the association said.

Realty One Group’s Las Vegas agent Michelle Hardy-Rodriguez said she works with many first-time buyers. Many of them work in tourism and many are being pushed out of the market, she said.

“You can’t keep up with the rising costs,” she said.

Hardy-Rodriguez was working with a client who bought a house in Pahrump a few months ago. Tired of being put on a waiting list by home builders in Las Vegas, the client bought a new home in Pahrump without putting on a waiting list or participating in a lottery, she said.

Simply Vegas agent Cassidy Cotten, who represented Washington on her Pahrump purchase, said the Las Vegas market had become unaffordable for some.

The competition is so fierce that if buyers can’t sweeten their offer with a cash-heavy offer, they end up on a “carousel” where they see houses and try to buy them.

All in all, property values ​​are getting into the “corner of the market” for the average local buyer, said Aldo Martinez, president of Las Vegas Realtors.

If prices rise by $ 10,000 a month, as they have since the spring, the market will be “really priceless,” he said.

“The next Vegas”

Washington, who had lived in a Henderson rental home for the past five years, went looking for a new apartment after her landlord decided to sell it. She had two months to find a home.

Trying to buy an apartment in the Las Vegas area proved so frustrating that she ended up in Pahrump after searching online for smaller towns in the Southern Nevada area.

Washington, unwilling to spend more than $ 350,000, bought a home in Pahrump’s Burson Ranch community for $ 345,000.

The one-story, three-bedroom home is nearly 1,900 square feet, has an above-ground hot tub in the back yard, and has plenty of space to the side of the home for an RV parking.

Washington, whose 82-year-old mother lives with her, said there weren’t many streetlights nearby, so “you need to know where you’re going at night”. Still, Pahrump life is different and exciting, she said, adding that it offers a mix of country and city life, is 45 minutes from Las Vegas entertainment, and the neighbors are friendly.

She also noted that there is a lot of space between houses as people are not crammed into compartments.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “I think this will actually be the next Vegas.”

Contact Eli Segall at esegall @ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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