ELKO – Homes in the range of $200,000 to $250,000 are the most sought-after and quickest to sell in Elko and Spring Creek, while the overall housing market is lively, according to real estate agents and brokers.
“The Elko market is low on affordable inventory and homes move quickly under the $250,000 point,” said Marcella Syme, president of the Elko County Association of Realtors. “We do need some affordable homes on the market for the first-time home buyer and those that do not want to spend over the $250,000 market.”
She said despite the need for homes in a certain price range, “the market looks great for the future.”
“When it comes to housing in greater northeastern Nevada, we’re in a little bit of a shortage,” said James Winer, owner-broker of Coldwell Banker/Algerio Q Team Realty. “There aren’t as many resales and not as many being built.”
As an example, he said one agent put a house on the market and the next day had eight showings.
Jesse James, owner-broker of RE/MAX Gold in Elko, said the pickings for homes in the $225,000 to $260,000 range are “still pretty slim. When we get those on the market, they go pretty fast. We just don’t have the inventory for that price range.”
For all of Elko County covered by the Multiple Listing Service, the market in early May of this year had 221 homes available, compared with 298 homes in May 2017. That’s 77 fewer homes or about a 26 percent decline, Winer said. The 221 figure includes homes with pending sales.
In Spring Creek alone there were 77 active listings in early May, down from 129 last May, a decrease of 52 homes. In Elko alone, there were 89 active listings in May, compared with 88 in May 2017. The figures vary from day to day.
Delmo Andreozzi of Century 21 Gold West Realty said he thinks the market is “still robust,” but there are fewer homes available inside Elko city limits, where he said there were only 72 active listings on May 24. There are more homes in Spring Creek and elsewhere in the county.
“My sense of the market is that in the Elko area it is more of a seller’s market,” said the Elko County commissioner and real estate agent.
Andreozzi wasn’t quite as concerned about a shortage of affordable homes in Elko County as he checked figures showing that in the last six months 53 homes sold for under $275,000, and of the 385 houses sold in the last six months, 230 were less than $250,000.
Potential buyers in Spring Creek want homes in the $200,000 to $250,000 range, Bawcom real estate agent Donna Moore said, but they “aren’t going to find a five-bedroom house for $250,000.” She said there are potential buyers who can afford to pay more than $250,000 but don’t want the bigger payment.
“Affordable housing has always been an issue in the community,” Winer said.
Houses in Spring Creek are “a little more affordable” because of the lower prices for lots, he said. Lots inside Elko city limits range from $75,000 to $85,000 because they have city utilities, curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
Moore said, however, that lot prices are creeping upward in Spring Creek because of the shortage of premium lots, and “construction is leveling off because of the availability of lots.”
Spring Creek was developed for 5,400 lots, and Tammy Bawcom of Bawcom Realty estimated 85 to 90 percent of those lots are sold.
“The market is still wonderful. People are still moving in for jobs,” she said, but she is cautioning potential home buyers to start looking now because mortgage rates are rising as the national economy improves.
Owen Polkinghorne, a loan officer with Gild Mortgage’s Elko satellite office, said potential buyers need to buy “sooner rather than later. I believe rates will continue to increase.”
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac told national news media on May 24 that the interest charges on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.66 percent the week beginning May 20, which is the highest since May 2011. According to U.S. Bank’s website, FHA mortgages were at 4.5 percent for 30 years and 30-year VA mortgages were at 4.625 percent on May 24.
A couple of years ago rates were in the high 3 percent range.
James said there are still a lot of homes sold in the MLS territory, with 303 homes sold from Jan. 1 to May 21, and 223 active listings as of May 21.
Winer said that in early May of this year the average price for a house was $249,475, up from $226,220 in early May 2017 for the MLS market that includes Elko, Spring Creek, Rydon, Carlin, Lamoille, Jiggs, Wells and West Wendover, as well as Jackpot on the Idaho border on occasion.
Days on the market were 145 for the whole MLS area, compared with 146 last year, according to figures from Winer. From January to early May of this year, 269 properties sold, while there were 215 sold in the same months of last year.
The average price for Elko alone from January to May this year is up 11 percent at $282,309, while a year ago the average price was $249,298. Houses sold in Elko totaled 119 compared with 93 in the same time last year.
Prices of homes on the market in Elko range from $69,500 to $1.75 million.
James said she has buyers from “all over the board, from first-time buyers to executive buyers and everything in between.”
Jeremy Draper, Elko Development manager, provided a list of subdivisions under way or starting in Elko. Two that should be ready for homes this summer or fall are Tower Hill, phase one, with 23 lots along Stitzel Road; and Great Basin Estates, phase two, 19 lots along Opal Drive.
Just starting their final process and possibly ready for home construction this fall are Autumn Colors, phase five, 21 single-family lots and 20 townhomes at Mountain City Highway and Cattle Drive; and Humboldt Hills, 26 lots on West Jennings Way across from Adobe Middle School.
Draper also listed four developments recently completed with homes now under construction: Autumn Colors, phase four, 25 lots off Snowy River; Copper Trails, phase two, 20 lots at Copper and Fifth streets; Great Basin Estates, phase one, 24 lots at Opal Drive; and Golden Hills Estate, nine lots, Tasha Way and Mittry Avenue.
John Kingwell, director of the Elko County Planning and Zoning Division, said there is only one subdivision in the county still in development. Hamilton Stage outside Elko has 215 lots, with 154 of them developed and 61 lots yet to be developed.
There are older subdivisions in the county, such as Elko Summit Estates, Western Hills and Lucky Nugget Ranches, as well as parcels of land and housing areas in rural locations. The county outlines potential problems in a publication available from the Planning and Zoning Division called “Rural Living in Elko County – Things You Need to Know About Rural Living.”
The issues covered include flooding, poor road conditions, utilities, cellphone service and homeowner associations, as well as legal property-access problems.
Winer said developing subdivisions is difficult, and he has concerns.
“I personally have been looking for two years at doing a development next to the Pointe, but it has stalled out for different reasons,” Winer said. “There are a lot of hurdles and regulations. It’s not easy to do.”
Tower Hill ran into a snag with the city over bonding requirements, and Elko City Council then set a date of April 24 for certification of what had been completed so developer Jordanelle Third Mortgage Ltd. would then post for remaining costs. The subdivision was nearing completion by that time.
The city’s plan is to adhere to its requirement that developers post bonds when work starts, rather than when the work is nearly completed.
Winer said the issue is confusing for developers, and he believes the city and builders need to be in a partnership because “ultimately they both win. The community needs housing at all levels.”
He also said developers are running into a shortage of skilled labor now, however, because there is so much growth in Reno, Boise, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Builders also have trouble holding onto workers because they can find better pay and benefits at the area gold mines, Moore said.