Home values and sales in Elko County continue to rise.
The average price for a single-family home in Elko in 2012 was $213,830, a 5.4 percent rise from 2011, says Greg Martin, broker with Coldwell Banker Algerio Q-Team Realty in Elko. The average selling price in Spring Creek rose 1.3 percent in 2012 to $249,800.
Unlike average values in Washoe County, which quickly can get skewed by a few multi-million-dollar sales at Incline Village, rising home values in Spring Creek and Elko are more of an indication of normal increases in property values, Martin says. The higher rate of appreciation in Elko is somewhat affected by demand for new housing that's being delivered at prices slightly higher than the average sale price, Martin adds.
Overall sales volume also continues to rise. In 2010 there were 394 homes sold in the Elko County Multiple Listing Service, which includes Carlin, Wells and all outlying rural areas. In 2011 sales volume rose to 503 homes, and last year it jumped again to 613 homes, a rise of 55 percent from two years prior.
That increase in sales volume has slashed available inventory to record-low numbers.
Martin says resale listings are the lowest in his 15 years of working in real estate in Elko County.
"We have never seen it this low for existing home sales," he says. "New construction is trying to keep up with demand as best it can, but a lot of it is related to the cost of acquiring land and developing infrastructure. It's definitely a huge consideration and has an impact on what a builder or developer can provide product for and still make a profit."
Spring Creek is where most of new construction is being delivered right now, Martin says, because most of the parcels already contain vital utilities that make building easier for developers.
Many of the undeveloped parcels in Elko City limits lack utilities and raise the bar significantly on building costs.
"There is just a huge cost to development. If someone comes in and buys 60 acres in Elko and plans a subdivision, there is a huge upfront capital expenditure to deliver infrastructure to service that development. Spring Creek is easier because a builder can go in and buy a lot and build a home; power and water run throughout the developments.
A "healthy" residential market has about a six-month supply of existing inventory. Countywide, Elko had 187 listings in January, a 3.7-month supply. In Elko, there were 31 active listings, a 1.7-month supply. In Spring Creek, there were 77 listings, or a 3.2-month supply. Many of those listings include new homes that already are under contract, Martin says.
The market shows no signs of slowing, either. The region's large gold-mining outfits have solid mine-life projections for the next decade, and some mines have potential 40-year windows. The continued influx of miners to the region is expected to keep demand strong and continue to pressure pricing.