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Reno Apartment Vacancies Fall, Rents Continue to Rise (Subscriber Content)

By John Seelmeyer
Published: Last Updated on

It’s harder to find an apartment in Reno and Sparks these days, and rents are beginning to climb again. A much-anticipated survey from Johnson Perkins Griffin Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants finds that the vacancy rate in Reno-Sparks apartment complexes stood at 2.67 percent this spring, compared with 3.06 percent last winter.

Rents, meanwhile, rose by an average of $28 a month, and apartment renters now pay an average of $1,344 a month.

The lowest vacancy rates are found in neighborhoods with lots of apartments that cater to working families, said Floyd Rowley, a CPA and commercial real broker in Reno who closely tracks the multi-family housing market.

Apartment complexes in west Reno are essentially entirely filled while vacancies in the airport area and southeast Reno stood at 1.7 percent this spring. 

On the other hand, vacancy rates in downtown Reno apartments — including some expensive properties — continue to rise.  Downtown vacancies now stand at 8.21 percent, more than double their level at the end of 2018, and the area no longer has the highest rents in town. The east Sparks area at $1,529 and Lakeridge at $1,453 now take honors for the most expensive average rents.  Downtown rents average $1,446.

It’s possible, Rowley added, that some downtown renters have decided to move out and buy houses.

He noted that the springtime increase in rents across Reno and Sparks came after three quarters in which rents were essentially flat.

The big question over the next year will be the effect of hundreds of new apartments currently under construction across the region. 

“The ability of the market to absorb these units depends heavily on continued economic growth,” Rowley said. “So far this year the economic news — locally, regionally and nationally — is very positive.”