One of Elko’s biggest downsides has gone by the wayside.

After having a shortage of apartments and multi-family dwellings for most of the past four decades, we now have an ample supply.

A series of mining booms starting in the 1970s made it difficult for newcomers to find housing. There weren’t even many RV spaces back then; people had to park on the edge of town. Apartments had long waiting lists.

Have a pet? Forget it, no one would rent to you.

Want luxuries like a swimming pool? No such thing.

The growth in gold mining kept a steady flow of newcomers snapping up rentals. About the only time period when housing was readily available was during the Dark Ages around the turn of the millennium, when low gold prices led to an exodus. Elko’s economy recovered as the mining industry stabilized, and apartments again became hard to find.

Today, it’s actually “a renter’s market,” as one real estate manager told us for a recent article on the wealth of new rental properties.

The experts were divided on whether Elko has a “glut” of rental housing, but they all agreed there is no longer a shortage. This may be one of the best times in Elko’s recent history to move here.

Large apartment complexes have literally been popping up all over town: Rabbitbrush Run Apartments on the west side, Copperwood Apartments on North Fifth Street, the Villas at Riverside along 12th Street, Ruby Vista Apartments to the northeast ...

Ruby Vista sports a charming outdoor swimming pool, where you can relax in the sun or under the shade of construction vehicles working nearby on more buildings.

Some apartment complexes not only allow pets, they have installed pet “parks” to accommodate our four-legged friends.

Instead of a waiting list, newcomers might find themselves being offered a free month’s rent.

Rental prices are still high, ranging from around $800 to more than $1,500 at the places we surveyed. Like many aspects of living in Elko, prices are geared toward people employed by the high-income mining industry.

But the arrival of more upscale apartments also means that more lower-end properties are left open and available for those not making a miner’s salary. Many of the affordable apartments are in duplexes and four-plexes, or connected with private homes in the older parts of town.

The abundance of rentals also frees up motel rooms. Many newcomers have had to live out of motels, some of which offer weekly and monthly rates.

At the same time, hundreds of more motel rooms are being added to the inventory.

If anyone was reluctant to move to Elko because of the lack of apartments, they now have no reason to delay. There are good business opportunities here, and an attractive “rural” lifestyle with unlimited outdoor recreation.

We almost wish we didn’t live here already, so we could move here now.

Members of the Elko Daily Free Press editorial board are Travis Quast, Jeffry Mullins and Marianne Kobak McKown.

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