A Sign in the Yard
Jamerson writes a real estate column in the bi-monthly publication Pulse Magazine, a community and lifestyle family magazine published in North Las Vegas. For easy access by his clients and interested parties, the articles will be archived and available here.
North Las Vegas; The Valley's Final Frontier
By Jamerson Holloway
North Las Vegas is quickly becoming the valley's community of choice. In just seven years, North Las Vegas has more than doubled its population from 70,000 to just over 170,000 residents. This exceptional growth has earned North Las Vegas the distinction of being the United States' second fastest growing city, trailing just behind Gilbert, Arizona, which currently holds the title of the nation's fastest growing city. All through the pages of this issue of Pulse you will see comments concerning the amazing growth in North Las Vegas coming from our writers, city government officials, business owners, and citizens. Everyone in North Las Vegas is excited about these continuing trends and with good reason. Growth is good for us. It is good for businesses, good for the City, good for the residents, and good for the various industries that call North Las Vegas home. The real estate market, obviously, is no exception and is feeling the effects of the influx of roughly one thousand new arrivals each month all the way through to its very core. It is a very good time to be a homeowner in North Las Vegas, whether you're buying, selling, or just building equity.
The current population explosion has created a tremendous demand for housing in the north end of the valley. The multiple listing service (MLS) had 1422 residential listings in North Las Vegas as of February 2005. The MLS tracks only those listings connected to a brokerage. There currently is no system available to monitor properties that may be for sale by owner. A good equation to use, however, is to add 10% to the number of current MLS listings to account for properties that may be for sale by owner.
What are some of the factors that make North Las Vegas such an attractive place to call home? Many residents state that their reason for moving north is affordability. North Las Vegas is still more affordable when compared to other areas of the Las Vegas valley. You simply get more home for the money in North Las Vegas. 30-year mortgage rates here are still at 40-year lows. According to Freddie Mac, the week ending February 11, 2005 saw 30-year fixed mortgage rates hold steady at 5.57% and 5.10% for 15-year mortgages. The low mortgage rates have definitely contributed to the housing boom all over the Las Vegas Valley and especially in North Las Vegas.
The market has slowed a bit, compared to the same period last year. With the rise in home prices, many homeowners are choosing to cash in on their initial investment. The increased housing inventory has created a somewhat strong buyer's market. A savvy homebuyer can still find a good deal and possibly take possession of that new property with some equity included. In the 3 rd quarter of 2004, the average price for a home in North Las Vegas was $261,000. According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, this is an increase of 57% over the same period last year. This was the largest increase for any metropolitan area in the U.S. This is a very beneficial statistic for those individuals who positioned themselves early enough to reap the reward of this investment opportunity.
A robust employment climate has also contributed to the economic stability of North Las Vegas . Why is this city so inviting? There are jobs in North Las Vegas. The steady growth in the population could not be supported without additional growth occurring privately. New businesses are appearing all over town and existing businesses are expanding and need employees. Business is thriving throughout the city. According to city officials, this exceptional growth is expected to continue for some time, good news for a city that has to exist in the shadow of the so called Entertainment Capital of the World. Indeed, these are exciting times. A strong job market coupled with a solid housing market can only equate to prosperity for this northern oasis.
City planners and developers are apparently staunch believers in the Kevin Costner expansion plan; ‘if you build it, they will come.' Over the past few years the City has worked hand in hand with developers to encourage both business and residential growth. The Cheyenne Technology Corridor (see our feature in this issue) and the “master planned” communities of Aliante and El Dorado are but a few examples of what can happen when City government and land developers work together.
Public works projects play a large part in encouraging growth and economic stability as well. The 215-beltway expansion has proven to be a blessing for the northern area of the valley. The beltway has provided much needed congestion relief for neighborhood thoroughfares. Major avenues, such as Decatur Boulevard and Losee Road, which cross the 215-beltway, are sure to lure heavyweight retail anchors, thus enhancing the quality of life in our city. Whenever major retailers move into neighborhoods, property values tend to increase.
Longtime Valley residents will remember that, historically, North Las Vegas hasn't had the greatest image. City leaders have worked very hard to improve the reputation of the city and shed the ‘Northtown' stigma. The North Las Vegas Police have implemented a strategy of community policing, taking an active role in getting to know the residents in the neighborhoods they patrol. The residents show their support by welcoming the additional police presence. These efforts have contributed to a 31% decrease in violent crime in three years, thus contributing to the cities much-improved image. Crime rates in North Las Vegas are now much lower than in other parts of the Valley.
City planners envision a community of balance where residents can work play and live.
According to the City's official web site (http://www.cityofnorthlasvegas.com), the City Council and staff are committed to creating “a community that offers improved housing, quality neighborhood shopping, a regional shopping mall as well as a wide variety of parks and recreational facilities.”
“North Las Vegas offers the amenities people long for such as community centers, public parks and, and most important friendly people, says Phil Li Mandri of Century 21 Aadvantage Gold.
North Las Vegas was once known as the city for first time home ownership based on home affordability, this is no longer the case. With the success of El Dorado, the city's first master-planned community, North Las Vegas has evolved into the kind of city families want to call home. This master-planned community, along with its many amenities, provides an improved quality of life. This, in turn, attracts higher income residents to the city.
Aliante is another such attraction. An American Nevada Corporation along with Del Webb Corporation master-planned community that, when completed, will be the largest master-planned community in the city, housing an estimated 20,000 residents. Aliante will be a whopping 1900 acre development with over 100 acres of parks, a trail system, and a state of the art championship golf course. American Nevada Corporation was the designer of Green Valley in Henderson and Del Webb Corporation set a new standard with its design of Summerlin, so Aliante, like most of the other changes and improvements we've seen, comes from people who know exactly what they're doing and they're doing it in North Las Vegas.
Things are expected to keep improving for a while in North Las Vegas. With property values and home prices both rising steadily, now is definitely the time to buy a home here and watch its value increase quickly. For those looking to sell, you're probably looking at an enormous increase over what you paid fro your home, even if you bought it only a few years ago. North Las Vegas currently has one of those strange real estate markets in which both buyers and sellers can be extremely excited. Get used to this. Unlike much in North Las Vegas, the real estate boom is not likely to change anytime soon. The theme for North Las Vegas sounds like a Grammy award-winning single from Vanessa Williams. These powerhouse developers and city planners have truly “Saved the Best for Last.”
originally published in the April/May 2005 issue of Pulse Magazine