Pipeline full of proposed subdivisions | nnbw.com

Pipeline full of proposed subdivisions

John Seelmeyer

Far more housing projects than usual are in the pipeline in northern Nevada, and condominium projects in the downtown area are a major contributing factor.

About 66,000 housing units are in the planning process, says Brian Kaiser, a research analyst at the Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.

That figure includes 11,000 units in subdivisions that have won approval of final maps and about 55,000 units that have tentative approval.

In recent years, Kaiser told members of the Associated Builders & Contractors last week, between 4,000 and 5,000 new homes have been built annually in the Reno-Sparks area.

And the amount of construction, he said, typically represents about 10 percent of the homes in the pipeline.

If that ratio holds true in future years, developers apparently believe that the number of homes constructed in the region will increase by about 50 percent over the current annual figures.

“That’s a very big number for the Truckee Meadows,” Kaiser said.

About a quarter of the proposed homes in the pipeline are in Spanish Springs, he said. Another quarter are in Sparks, another quarter are in southeast Reno and the remainder are scattered in projects around the Truckee Meadows.

The UNR researchers say 370 subdivisions are under construction in the region, a number that’s up just a bit within the last couple of months.

The flurry of condominium projects a flurry that’s centered in downtown Reno with its hotel-conversion projects is a contributor to the increased pipeline.

More than 6,000 condo units alone are on the drawing board a figure that’s roughly equivalent to an 18-month supply of new single-family homes in the market.

The numbers get all the more interesting, Kaiser said, when proposals in outlying communities are folded in. Fast-growing towns such as Fallon and Dayton increasingly are seen as part of the Reno-area market, partly because they present housing that’s more affordable than the metro area.

Dayton, for instance, has about 8,400 homes in the development pipeline, the researcher said. The Fallon and Hazen areas, meanwhile, have another 4,500 units in the pipeline.

And looking just over the horizon, Kaiser said researchers are tracking the possible development of about 8,000 homes in the Winnemucca Ranch area north of Cold Springs, the creation of 2,500 homes in Cold Springs itself and the addition of 3,000 homes at Verdi.

But the big numbers may prove misleading, he said, as the housing markets cool from their white-hot levels of the past couple of years.

Through the 1990s, Kaiser said, house-appreciation in Reno and Sparks ran about 3 to 4 percent a year, and real estate brokers say the market is returning to those normal levels.

Migration from Arizona and California Southern California as well as Northern California played a role in driving the recent boom.

But Kaiser and Brian Bonnefant, his boss in the research unit at the Nevada Small Business Development Center, said there’s not much data available about the demographics of those newcomers.

And Bonnefant noted that some of that information is critical. If they’re mostly retirees and empty-nesters, for instance, new housing developments won’t translate into a need for new schools.

In some places, Bonnefant said, officials begin to get some information by simply providing a postcard to new residents, asking them to mark the number of children living the household before they mail it back.