Lyon County home values rising

The housing market in Lyon County was among the hottest-selling areas in the nation during the boom years of 2005 and 2006, but the runup in home values in Dayton and Fernley was followed by a most precipitous fall.

Median sales price in Fernley in June of 2006 topped $250,000, the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors reports. In June of 2011, that number had plunged to $83,500.

However, as Lyon County Realtors slowly worked through the glut of inventory, foreclosures and short sales in the county over the past few years, home values have rebounded sharply and builders are moving to meet increased buyer demand.

The median sales price in July in Fernley of $143,000 represents a 71 percent increase from just three years earlier. It’s also up 6 percent from the same month a year earlier, says Mark Ashworth, president of Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors.

Much of the rise in median sales price reflects lack of new product on the market. Lennar Homes has quietly been filling in subdivisions in Dayton throughout the downturn, says Dustin Barker, president of Lennar’s northern Nevada division, and the publicly-traded homebuilder plans on breaking ground on a new subdivision in Dayton in 2015.

At the same time, Jeffrey P. Pisciotta Builders Inc. broke ground in March on a planned 31-home subdivision about a mile off Six Mile Canyon Road in Dayton. Perry Urton, broker and in-house sales manager for Hometown Realty, is selling the new units at Copper Canyon and already has five of the first eight homes under contract.

The developer will release another four homes in September and hopes to have the subdivision built out near fourth quarter of 2015, Urton says. Homes range from 1,530 to 1,833 square feet and start at $174,950.

“The Dayton housing market was really strong six, seven years ago — it was outperforming Minden, Gardnerville, Carson Valley, Reno and Sparks,” Urton says. “It’s more of an entry-level market community and when building stopped it took huge hit. But with low interest rates, and Dayton qualifies for USDA home financing, it allows people that have some glitches in their credit to buy a new home. It is going to be just as hot as it was.”

Lennar’s Barker says his company purchased 77 lots at Carson River Estates and plans to erect the same model of homes found at its nearby Woodrush at River Park subdivision. Lennar has about 25 homes left to complete that subdivision and another 20 to build out its Copper Canyon subdivision in Dayton. Barker says Lennar constructed more than 50 new homes in Dayton in 2013 and plans to erect more than 60 this year.

Lennar has seen increased buyer demand and price appreciation at both Dayton communities over the last few years, Barker says. Buyers are attracted to Dayton’s lower median sales price compared to larger cities in northern Nevada, and the primary demographic of buyers has been active adults and retirees moving to northern Nevada from out of state, he adds.

“The price point in the Dayton market is still advantageous to buyers. Dayton offers the opportunity to own a larger home site at a really good value.”

The Fernley housing market, meanwhile, is poised to explode if Tesla decides to push its chips all in in northern Nevada and develop what would become the largest manufacturing facility at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

Even without Tesla, notes Ashworth of the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors, new companies and expansions at Reno Tahoe Industrial Center continue to drive demand for housing in Fernley.

“With all the new industry coming into the USA Parkway area, and specifically if Tesla comes into that area, it is truly a game changer. If that happens, you will see an increased demand for Fernley properties and also see an increase in sales price and demand in Silver Springs as well.”

The factors that made Fernley a red-hot market during the boom years still are in play: lower costs and proximity to Sparks and Reno. Ashworth says there currently are 77 homes available in Fernley at or less than $200,000.

“If you are willing to go outside of town, there are some excellent values in the Fernley market,” he says.


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