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UNLV report: Most workers can’t afford Reno rents

By Bob Conrad
Reno Business Weekly

Reno is getting more and more expensive. A report released last week by UNLV shows few people working in the Reno area can afford to live here and pay for monthly mortgage payments – much less rent at current rates.

“In the Reno metro, 6 of the 10 most common occupations do not earn the income needed to afford rent for a studio apartment.” That was one of the findings from the UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West report on housing affordability.

In Reno alone, people need to make $122,000 a year in order to afford a median-valued home with a 10% down payment. 

“An individual would need to earn $128,420 to afford monthly mortgage payments on a median-valued home secured with a 3% down payment,” the report authors note. “None of the 10 most common occupations in the Reno metro provide a gross annual salary that can support monthly mortgage payments on a median-valued home secured with either a 10% down payment, or a 3% down payment.”

Wages, in other words, are not keeping pace with inflation. It’s a refrain continually being expressed in a community that is becoming increasingly unaffordable, even for middle-income earners.

We reported last month that 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,” according to the Reno-Sparks realtors association. 

Only managerial positions – general and operations – are listed by UNLV as coming close to affording the annual $122,000 needed to afford a mortgage. Most other common jobs – nurses, truck drivers, office workers, sales and construction positions – are well below the ability to afford a home.

“Out of the 10 occupations displayed, only office clerks ($39,520), heavy and tractor- trailer truck drivers ($50,580), registered nurses ($79,280), and general and operations managers ($102,940) can afford a studio apartment,” the UNLV report notes. “Only general and operations managers can afford a four-bedroom unit at $2,386 per month.”

Reno’s cost of living has surpassed some California cities and even Las Vegas but remains more affordable compared with larger metropolitan areas on the West Coast.

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Business news briefs

The team at Old World Coffee Lab in Midtown Reno. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno
The team at Old World Coffee Lab in Midtown Reno. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

Old World Coffee Lab announces new location at 5020 Las Brisas, A1. The new shop offers the same coffee at their Midtown location and offers front row seats to their roasting process. “We worked really hard to bring something new that hasn’t existed in Northwest Reno until now,” said owner Chris Garrison. “It’s been over a year in the making and we can’t wait to serve a new part of Reno.”

UNR Extension hires new director. Jacob DeDecker has been named director of Extension and associate dean for engagement for the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. DeDecker comes from Michigan State University, where he spent the past 16 years building Extension and 4-H youth development programming. “Extension has always been a part of my life,” DeDecker said. “My family utilized Extension programs and expertise to benefit our farming enterprise and home. I was an active 4-H member for 10 years, which helped shape the path I’m still on today.” 

Arts Council hires two specialists. The Nevada Arts Council has hired Kassandra Andicoechea as an arts initiatives specialist and Maria Moreno as an administrative services officer. Andicoechea will increase public awareness of Nevada’s creative industry, and Moreno will be responsible for fiscal management and administrative support. “Kassandra and Maria strengthen our team,” said Tony Manfredi, Nevada Arts Council executive director. “Both bring expertise, leadership, and enthusiasm that enhance their abilities to support these critical positions for the agency.” 

Nevada State Museum gets new director. The Nevada Division of Museums and History is pleased to announce that Josh Bonde has been selected to serve as director of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. He succeeds Myron Freedman, the museum director since 2017 and now the administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History. “The Nevada State Museum is poised to enter an exciting new era under Dr. Bonde,” Freedman said. 

Quest Counseling & Consulting Services named Reno’s “Best Place to Work-Small Business” by Northern Nevada Human Resources Association.  The local nonprofit provides substance use disorder and mental health services and a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center. “We are so honored by this recognition by our employees and the community,” said Jolene Dalluhn, executive director. “Our staff has worked tirelessly, especially over the past few years as demand for mental health services has increased. Our staff has grown over the past few years, and we are continuing to look for even more counselors and therapists to help with the ever-growing demand for services in our area.”

Local podcast “The Wind” by radio journalist Fil Corbitt was chosen to participate in the Google Podcast Creator Program, an international program of audio makers. The Wind is one of seven shows to participate in this year’s program from all over the world, including Colombia, Taiwan, Malaysia and France. The Wind is a podcast about listening. It has investigated everything from western film music to coyote howls; from gender neutral language to wildfire. Corbitt’s most recent story was a deep exploration into Reno’s unexpected whip culture and the city’s subsequent illegalization of whips in downtown. 

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