Las Vegas has long been a popular second address for out-of-towners. And with so many out-of-state cash buyers these days, the civic-minded Las Vegan can only hope that some of these investors will want to actually live in these homes someday.
But trying to distinguish which buyers intend to inhabit a property and which are only looking for rental homes is tough, says Tamara Tyrbouslu, a Realtor with Universal Realty. States such as Florida employ a sophisticated tracking system that provides a sense of who’s buying, why they’re buying and where they’re coming from, but Nevada doesn’t have that technology—yet. Tyrbouslu is working with local industry partners to make similar advances here.
In the meantime, talking to agents in the trenches will have to do. Tyrbouslu estimates about half of the cash buyers (57.5 percent of all transactions in March, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors) are second-home buyers, and the rest are investors strictly looking for cash-flow properties. “The Canadians want the fixer-upper investment rental. The Chinese are really open to anything,” she says of her two most popular international client segments.
Dave Tina, head of Urban Nest Realty, also sees a 50-50 split among his out-of-state clients between second-home buyers and pure investors. But he says even the hard-core investors—particularly baby boomers—are thinking of retirement when they make their choices.
“They’ll buy a few rental properties and pick a really nice one, and I’ll say, ‘You’re renting it out; why are you buying [such a nice] place?’” Tina says. “They’ll tell me, ‘That’s the one I’m going to live in.’”