Washoe County Economic Indicators-November/December 2011-Part 2

Residential

Washoe County’s residential real estate market has seen some positive changes, though the overall outlook is still bleak.  New home sales decreased in December 2011 compared to the previous month and the same period last year.  Existing home sales, however, increased by 75.7% from the previous December and 10.5% from the previous month.  Median single family and condo/townhouse closing price also increased, a 2.6% increase from November for single family homes and 5.8% for condos.  Days single properties remained on the market also increased for single family homes, but decreased for condos/townhouses.

Notice of defaults saw an increase between November and December 2011, as did notices of sales.  Trustees deeds and REO listings decreased during compared to the previous month and previous year.

Note: Notices of default data from the previous year should be disregarded as this data was impacted by restrictions placed on financial institutions regarding issuing these notices.  The number of notices of default is expected to grow as institutions figure out ways to continue issuing these notices.  This may also impact REO listings and notices of sale, as fewer notices of default are issued.  This does not represent the performance of the real estate sector, but rather the impact of these restrictions.

Commercial

The commercial real estate market performed well and poorly, depending on the sector.  The industrial property sector saw a decrease in vacancies, however, this decrease came as a result of reduced rental rates.  The office sector also saw some decrease in its vacancy rates, though not as significant as that for industrial properties.  Office retail rates grew slightly during this time.  Retail properties fared the worst in December.  Retail vacancy rates grew from the previous year and previous month, while retail rental rates declined, a combined negative impact on the sector.

Conclusion

The health of the Washoe County economy remains unclear.  Taxable sales and gaming revenue increased from the previous year, but not from the previous month.  This could be in part due to seasonality associated with the holiday period.  The tourist sector is a bright spot for Washoe County, with positive tourism numbers over the previous year.  This may be due to an improvement in the national economy.  Employment data also shows much improvement from the previous year.

Residential real estate indicators are also monthly positive, though there remains a slowdown in the new homes market.  On the commercial property side, industrial and office sectors are seeing some improvement, while the retail sector continues to struggle.  There is some hope for growth in this sector as taxable sales increase.

Overall, Washoe County is seeing more green numbers than in previous months, and if growth in these indicators continues, it will bode well for our recovery.

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