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Reno-area home sales come back to life

By John Seelmeyer
Published: Last Updated on

The resilient residential market in Reno-Sparks appears to be recovering fairly quickly after the springtime free-fall in sales tied to COVID-19 shutdowns, says the president of one of the region’s largest real estate brokerages.

Still to be seen:  Whether the sharp rebound continues into a V-shaped recovery of the residential market, or improvements moderate into a swoosh-like line of slower and steadier improvements.

Beau Keenan, president of Dickson Realty, says both sales and listings of existing homes for sale bounced back during May after taking a header during April. 

Those two measurements are the ones that savvy observers watch closely, he says.  Sales show the amount of demand in the market, and new listings show the amount of supply.  And, after all, residential real estate is all about supply and demand.

A total of 396 homes were sold in Reno and Sparks during May, a 2.3 percent uptick from the 387 sold during April.

On the other hand, those 396 homes sold during May represent nearly a 42 percent decline from the same month a year ago — a dramatic commentary on the economic effects of the pandemic. Keenan notes, however, that May 2019 was an unusually strong sales month, and residential sales for the first five months of this year lag last year’s figures by only 9.2 percent.

Dickson Realty’s agents say they’re doing more showings — either real-life or virtual — in recent weeks, yet another sign that demand is rebounding.

The number of new listings — the supply side of the equation —grew by 3.8 percent from April to May, according to a Dickson Realty analysis.  That translates into 579 existing homes that were put up for sale.

For the year, new listings are down by about 15 percent in Reno and Sparks, and the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors says the number of homes currently on the market is down 9.7 from the same time last year.

That decline in available supply, Keenan says, points to stronger pricing in coming months.

Sales prices already appear to be stabilizing, he says, after slipping this spring.  In May, the median price of an existing home in Reno and Sparks was just a hair under $400,000 compared with about $415,000 before the pandemic.

That keeps homes affordable for middle-income families.

Nearly three quarters of the existing homes sold in Reno and Sparks this year have been in the $300,000 to $600,000 price range, Dickson Realty reports.  Another 10.4 percent have been in the $600,000 to $900,000 range.

Homes priced above $900,000 have accounted for about 4.5 percent of the market, and homes priced under $300,000 have accounted for 12.4 percent of sales.

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