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Business News: Cost of living in Reno continues to rise

By Bob Conrad
Reno Business Weekly

Living in Washoe County continues to get more and more expensive. The Reno-Sparks Realtors Association recently released its April home sales report.

The median cost of a single family home in Reno and Sparks has jumped to $595,000. 

That’s “an increase of 3.5 percent from last month and a 20.6 percent increase from the previous year,” the realtors’ report noted. 

Adding in the North Valleys shows that number is $630,000. That’s an increase of 26% from a year ago. Those figures do not include condos, modular homes or townhomes.

The report comes as costs to live in the Biggest Little City continue to skyrocket. In comparison to other major western cities, Reno continues to be more affordable, but it’s more expensive than some California cities and even Las Vegas.

Salary.com shows Reno is more affordable than San Francisco and Portland, but more expensive than Fresno. Reno is more expensive than Las Vegas and more expensive than Nevada’s statewide average. 

“The cost of living in Reno … is 3.7% higher than in Las Vegas,” the website notes. 

The rising costs mean few people are moving here, as we reported in September.

“When you look at the population totals for 2020, we grew 40% less than we did in 2019,” Brian Bonnenfant with the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Nevada said last year. “We almost reached about 8,000 new persons in 2019, and [in] 2020 we only added about 4,400 [or] 4,500. I think what’s really creeping into the mix is cost of living. It has to be the cost of living.” 

Various data sources paint a bleak picture for affordability in the greater Reno area.

MIT’s “living wage calculator” shows a single adult without children needs to make $16.76 per hour to live here. With three children, the hourly wage needs to be $57.36 to be considered livable. That also assumes the single person’s housing costs are only $10,500 per year – or $875 per month.

The more children, and the fewer adults working, increase costs considerably. A single-earner in a household with three children needs to make $43 an hour to be considered making a living wage.

A two-person household, with no children and both adults working, means both income earners can have a living wage making $13 an hour. 

MIT’s data, however, are from 2019.

“The living wage is defined as the wage needed to cover basic family expenses (basic needs budget) plus all relevant taxes. Values are reported in 2020 dollars,” MIT’s report from the department of urban studies and planning notes. 

Business news briefs

Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company signs lease for a downtown office. Basin Street Properties announced Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company has signed a lease for 7,404 square feet at 300 East Second Street. “We wanted to find a space for our corporate headquarters that is centrally located between all five of our properties in Truckee, Tahoe City, Sparks and USA Parkway,” said Andrew Cross, CEO of Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company.  

Neighbor Network enhances transportation access. Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada (N4) has partnered with non-profit agency, Feonix – Mobility Rising, to launch an online platform that provides information on accessible transportation for all community members. “Our new app connects riders with public transit providers, volunteer drivers and human services providers throughout Northern Nevada,” said N4 Executive Director Amy Dewitt-Smith. Similar to the Uber or Lyft app, riders can use the N4 Connect App to schedule their rides and investigate what services are available to drive them and when. 

Michael Brazier joins Children’s Cabinet as COO. The Children’s Cabinet last week announced Michael Brazier as the new chief operations officer. Brazier has 14 years of experience in revenue generation and management. He recently served as CEO and President of United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra.

Reno Food Systems receives $18,000 from the Community Foundation. The funding will help RFS work toward increasing opportunities for interns and the public to experience the interconnectedness of food systems. “By connecting people to the land and to growing food, they come to understand the impact their food purchases have on the planet and the lives of people who produce it, around the world and right here in Northern Nevada,” said Lyndsey Langsdale, president.

IMBĪB Custom Brews bartender Ashley Cihak serves Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak a pint of lager on Feb. 25, 2022. This beer features 100% Nevada grown barley and malted in Fallon, NV at 40 Mile Malt. Image: Richard Bednarski / This Is Reno
IMBĪB Custom Brews bartender Ashley Cihak serves Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak a pint of lager on Feb. 25, 2022. This beer features 100% Nevada grown barley and malted in Fallon, NV at 40 Mile Malt. Image: Richard Bednarski / This Is Reno

IMBĪB Custom Brews claims a gold medal in the 2022 World Beer Cup. IMBĪB was awarded a gold medal in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category for Triad, a Belgian-style Lambic ale. Triad has also won two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival (2018 and 2020) and a gold medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards (2019). “Winning gold at the World Beer Cup is the honor of a lifetime for our brewery. The level of competition and the caliber of judges is unmatched and so, while every award we receive is meaningful, this one is almost overwhelming,” said Jason Green, co-founder and brewmaster. 

Fifth grade teacher wins Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Science Teaching. A fifth grade teacher at Nick Poulakidas Elementary School will represent Nevada as the winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for 2020. Amie Braik has been an educator for 17 years. “I am so honored to receive this award, and it is an incredible feeling to be recognized on a national level for teaching a subject I love,” she said.

Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada announces $5,000 scholarship and grant opportunities. The entrepreneurial prize competition is for current or future small business owners who are also a member of the GLCCNV.  “We launched the scholarship and grant opportunity in 2021 and had a tremendous response from Chamber members statewide, so much so that we knew we had to continue and expand the opportunity,” said Chamber President Tim Haughinberry. “Thanks to our ongoing partnership with Cox Business, we’re able to offer this financial support to two LGBTQ+ small business owners in Nevada.” 

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