Survey: Reno-Sparks homebuilders getting better prices |

Survey: Reno-Sparks homebuilders getting better prices

John Seelmeyer

Prices for newly constructed homes in the Reno-Sparks area are heading upward, and builders are cautiously beginning to add speculative inventory as the market continues its recovery, reports a longtime watcher of the market.

Real Estate Marketing Network Inc. of Reno, which bases its reports on visits to subdivision sales offices as well as public records, says new home prices rose by 11 to 17 percent during 2013 compared with a year earlier.

Researcher Ginette Bourdeau estimates that standing inventory — unsold homes under construction in anticipation that buyers will arrive — totaled 85 homes in subdivisions around the region at the end of 2013.

While that’s a far cry from the 800 speculative homes that were on the market at its peak in 2006, Bourdeau says it’s more than double the inventory of 35 unsold new homes on the market at the end of 2012.

Real Estate Marketing Network reports 180 sales of new homes during the fourth quarter, which compares with 150 sales during the third quarter.

For the full year, Bourdeau counts an estimated 770 sales. At the market’s peak in 2004, some 4,330 new homes were sold in the Truckee Meadows. At the market’s bottom in 2011, 350 new homes were sold.

In her visits with sales representatives, Bourdeau found that they estimate that 20 to 30 percent of the buyers are coming from out of state, with California leading the way. That trend, she says, is most visible in upper-price neighborhoods of northwest and southwest Reno.

The strengthening demand is enabling developers to once again nail down premium prices for particularly attractive lots.

Real Estate Marketing Network found premiums range from $5,000 for a corner lot to $125,000 for a southwest-Reno lot that has both lake and mountain views.

“Several new developments are in the planning stage in the Reno area, and the outlook for the Reno new home market is optimistic,” says Bourdeau.

Bourdeau, who also works as a Realtor with Keller Williams Group One Reno, has operated the new-home-sales research firm for 20 years.