As we enter the height of the real estate buying season, experts, analysts and pundits weigh the relative health of the Southern Nevada market. Sure, there’s reason for concern. In the past couple of years, prices have risen sharply—perhaps too sharply—and skeptics always point to the still stubbornly high number of underwater homeowners.
On the bright side, interest rates remain low, and supply has increased enough to level off some of those price spikes. Another positive: Many people who lost homes during the Great Recession are credit-worthy again, and those in the real estate trenches say sales are definitely trending up. According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, single-family home sales in March climbed 9 percent from the same month last year; April’s sales weren’t quite as robust, but still up 5.1 percent from April 2014.
“As long as interest rates stay down and the houses are priced right, it’s going to continue to be a burning-hot market,” says Dave Tina, managing broker/owner of Urban Nest Realty.
And “anything under $250,000 is moving very quickly,” says Deanna Garber, a Realtor with The Brooks Team at Realty ONE Group.
Of course, when it comes to big-city real estate, some areas of town are always hotter than others. With that in mind, we reached out to trusted real estate sources and scoured the Las Vegas Valley looking for seven communities that are catching the attention of local buyers. Here’s what we found:
Inspirada (Henderson west)
Location: Volunteer Boulevard/ Via Inspirada Drive.
Price range: From the high $100,000s to $500,000s.
Why it’s hot: This was Henderson’s introduction to New Urbanism right before the start of the recession. Construction was at a virtual standstill from 2008 through 2011, but today, Beazer Homes, KB Home, Pardee and Toll Brothers are building out one of the Valley’s most popular master-planned communities. Park amenities were unveiled in earnest about 18 months ago, and new townhomes and single-family residences are selling quickly. Inspirada is zoned for great schools, with the eastern part of the community sitting adjacent to Anthem and the west bordering M Resort. New three-bedroom townhomes start in the low $200,000s, but some resale models built in 2008 or 2009 sport price tags in the high $100,000s, which Garber says makes them attractive to first-time buyers.
Established: Early 1990s.
Location: Gillespie Street (west), Pebble Road (north), Eastern Avenue (east) and Cactus Avenue (south).
Price range: From $75,000 (condos) to the $700,000s.
Why it’s hot: Primarily comprising the 89183 and 89123 ZIP codes, Silverado Ranch started its build out in the early ’90s, and a decade later, it was one of the most desired spots in the city. The thinking behind Silverado Ranch has always been to be a master plan without excessive fees for homeowners associations, special-improvement districts (SIDs) or local-improvement districts (LIDs). American West is still building some new homes, but beyond that there isn’t much new construction in Silverado Ranch. Still, the community has a healthy inventory of three- and four-bedroom resale homes and condos, plus several quiet, quaint gated communities that tip toward luxury—residences Tina says move very quickly when priced right. Its location, with easy access to both Interstates 15 and 215, is very much an appeal. Says Tina: “Silverado Ranch has become very hot for those who work on the Strip and others who want quick access to it.”
Downtown Summerlin adjacent
Location: Desert Foothills Drive (near I-215 and Charleston Boulevard) and Sahara Avenue (between I-215 and Hualapai Way).
Price range: From the high $100,000s to $1 million-plus.
Why it’s hot: Last year’s big retail story, Downtown Summerlin—situated east of the 215 between Sahara Avenue and Charleston Boulevard—also had a positive impact on nearby residential real estate. Both Garber and Tina say the area, which was long considered underserved for retail, is enjoying a boost in interest from homebuyers. Nearby Red Rock Country Club is one of those hot spots. “It’s the only guard-gated community with two golf courses and a country club,” Tina says. “People love that.” Garber, who has worked with buyers looking for homes in the nearby Willows or Summerlin Centre neighborhoods, says it’s not uncommon to once again see bidding wars—a pre-recession staple—for homes in the area. “When a new shopping center goes up,” she says, “that area is going to boom.”
Downtown (John S. Park Historic District/Huntridge District, etc.)
Location: Las Vegas Boulevard (west), Charleston Boulevard (north), Eastern Avenue (east), Sahara Avenue (south).
Price range: From $70,000 to $300,000.
Why it’s hot: These areas were the original Las Vegas suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. While you’ll find plenty of fixer-uppers in these neighborhoods, millennials are embracing and scooping up the 1960s mid-moderns. Live here and you can walk to First Friday, Life Is Beautiful and numerous other Downtown events. You’re also within a few blocks of the city’s burgeoning tech startup and Fremont East nightlife scenes. “These are people who want nothing to do with stucco, tile roofs and HOAs,” LeVine says about the profile of buyers in this area. “Downtown is really a big pocket; it’s very culturally and ethnically diverse and unique, and it’s close to everything.”
Aliante (North Las Vegas)
Location: Aliante Parkway/ Interstate 215.
Price range: From the mid-$100,000s to $500,000s.
Why it’s hot: The north Valley has long been desirable because it offers more dollar-per-square-foot bang for the buck. Aliante, North Las Vegas’ first master-planned community, is no exception. The 1,900-acre development has a golf club, the Aliante hotel-casino and several city parks (about 400 of those acres are set aside for recreational use). Some see it as a more affordable Green Valley or Anthem of the north. As was the case elsewhere in the Valley, the recession slowed Aliante’s build out considerably, but Pardee and Harmony Homes are quietly developing subdivisions now. Garber says the north Valley’s lower price points in general make the area attractive to investors; additionally, some who work in the middle of town and don’t mind the commute also head north.
Rancho Corridor (Downtown)
Location: Rancho Drive (roughly between U.S. 95 and Charleston Boulevard).
Price range: From the $100,000s to $1.5 million-plus.
Why it’s hot: Jack LeVine, a longtime Downtown Realtor, refers to this area as the “Rancho Corridor,” which is home to Rancho Bel Air, Rancho Circle and the Scotch 80s (just south of Charleston). These hip, older communities associated with such legendary city luminaries as Howard Hughes, Steve Wynn and Oscar Goodman (among countless others) bring their share of diverse architecture: You’ll find Colonial, Mediterranean, 1940s-style mansions, mid-century modern and much more. “No two houses look the same,” LeVine says. What also gives this area a unique touch is the affordability of the homes outside of these high-profile historic communities. Many were built between the 1960s and 1980s and are priced between $100,000 and $300,000. You might need to do some updating, but for some, being a stone’s throw from a revitalizing urban core justifies the investment.
Sky Terrace (Henderson east)
Location: Sunridge Heights Parkway/Canyon Heights Drive.
Price range: Starting from the high $600,000s.
Why it’s hot: This ultra-modern, semi-custom subdivision began construction in 2008, then quickly became a casualty of the recession. Developer Blue Heron eventually bought the lots and resumed building, but not until it brought its own earth-friendly, modern design approach to the table. A 44-unit community, Sky Terrace has five floor plans and plenty of custom options, and is now filling out nicely with only about a dozen lots remaining. Billed as “desert contemporary,” courtyard-style architecture, the designs are attractive to young professionals and families alike, with many models having rooftop and other outdoor living spaces. “They’re kind of like dream homes,” says Robin Yates, a local Realtor with Windermere Real Estate. “The outdoors is like a living room. You’ll see lots of water, things like fire pits, ponds … and you get the same amenities you find in Blue Heron’s multimillion-dollar homes.”