Recovering Nevada Housing Markets Still Vulnerable

Once the black sheep of the foreclosure crisis Nevada’s housing markets are recovering at a faster pace than the rest of the country, but given the depth of the home equity losses, experts say, it still has a long way out of that precipice.

In Nevada, according to American Action Forum director of housing policy, Andrew Winkler, recent house price improvements “more sharply than national averages” will need to make up for price declines three times lower than national prices and their local market peak.

A new AAF research paper authored by Winkler found both continued improvements and “lingering vulnerability as the state was among the hardest hit.”

While the Las Vegas market has been making the headlines as one of the most improved markets in the country, Winkler wrote, house price losses also were higher compared to other metro areas. Similarly, “price improvement lags behind Phoenix.”

Nevada’s recovery is a healthy one since it is supported by job market improvements.

The study indicates, however, that the same as with home prices, the state is still far from reaching a positive growth balance.

Since the end of the recession in June 2009 Nevada has added 14,800 jobs, compared to roughly 147,200 jobs lost during the recession, mainly due to a drastic construction industry freeze.

In 2006 when the housing bubble peaked, 146,400 Nevadans held a construction job. “Today, that number is only 49,900,” Winkler notes, concluding, “Only stronger job and economic growth can help demand recover, house prices rise, and lift borrowers out of negative equity.”