LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Residents in the major metro areas across Nevada have felt the pandemic squeeze for months.

Why? A combination of low inventory, rising rent, skyrocketing housing prices and the exodus of Californians to Reno and Las Vegas, all compounded with stagnant wages for locals. 

Lifelong Nevadans and economic experts were asked, can Nevadans afford Nevada, or still afford Nevada? 

Northern Nevada native Kimberly Pittman, 22, is a hairstylist, and said she has been frustrated with her search for a rental property in the range $1,100 to $1,300 per month.

She moved from Reno to Las Vegas in search of cheaper rent, but has faced roadblocks.

Home sales LAS VEGAS

Homes in the Southern Highlands master-planned community are seen in this aerial photograph taken over Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Sept. 17, 2020.

"I'm worried I can't afford rent on my own. I can't meet the requirements," Pittman said. "Honestly, I just want to buy a house. Mortgages are the exact same as rent."

Henderson resident Kathryn Kosmides, a single mom, said she has worked for decades in nursing, boasts two graduates from UNR and UNLV and attended the latter herself.

Kosmides has searched for ten months for a $400,000 home with a pool, and has had numerous challenges. 

"I worked with three different realtors. Everyone who has lived here, they just can't afford it," she said.

Governor Steve Sisolak weighed in on the issue during in a June 21 interview.

"It is a difficult situation. We are working with the federal government. We need to have more land released in some of these areas. But its a difficult situation: we have a water situation on one hand. We have a shortage of housing on the other hand," the governor said.


FOX5 tapped two experts from across Nevada to analyze the rent, housing prices and wages for Nevadans. 

Brian Bonnenfant of UNR's Center for Regional Studies has been analyzing data to help Northern Nevadans figure out what is affordable and what they can purchase.

"It's becoming our housing crisis of 2020, which is, it's not very affordable," Bonnenfant said. "The millennials that now reached that age to buy a house basically need six figures to get a detached product, either a new or an existing home." 

"You maybe have to go down to a multifamily or a detached single family [home] to get to that affordability," he said, noting that condos and townhomes are more often within reach for families. 

Reno-Sparks Housing Affordability_1Q21 by FOX5 Vegas on Scribd


John Restrepo of RCG Economics came up with similar data for Southern Nevada. Like the north, new and existing detached homes are drifting further out of reach for Southern Nevadans. While townhomes and condos are still affordable, Restrepo warns that those options could soon out of range as well. 

"It is a growing concern, in terms of, there's a mismatch between housing prices, rents and incomes," Restrepo said, stating that the effects of Southern Nevada's lack of economic diversity is now hurting affordability. 

"The only the only answer is greater income and greater wealth," he said, stating that many Southern Nevadans may need to retrain in new jobs or new careers with higher wages to afford living here.  

Southern Nevada Affordability by FOX5 Vegas on Scribd


A common criticism from single adults is the increasing difficulty to afford to live alone, and the fallback to find roommates, which is more difficult for adults looking to forge careers.

Bonnenfant's advice? In addition to roommates, use the worker shortage as leverage to better guarantee a livable wage for rent. Those who work remotely can also seek a residence outside the metro area for more purchasing power. 


One bedroom apartment $1,461

Qualifying Income:


Single Median Income:


Las Vegas

One bedroom apartment 


Qualifying Income:

$  46,000

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(3) comments


They want us all living in these roach infested weekly rentals. It's near impossible to find something affordable right now, then when you finally do...the requirements are so outta wack that you can't rent anyway. I have personally saved and can pay 6 months rent in advance, but bc I am a self employed housekeeper I can't qualify for most places. My only option is to use one of those online services which provides all of the info required. I definitely do not want to end up homeless and I am out of options.


Much of this problem is caused by Sisiolak. Notice his answer is more federal government. It is his policy of the eviction moratorium that has caused this artificial shortage and the skyrocketing prices in rentals.


"...stating that many Southern Nevadans may need to retrain in new jobs or new careers with higher wages to afford living here."

Wrong. That's a silly & ignorant political answer meant to shirk responsibility. Vegas is a resorts & service-based city, so there's not a lot of options for tech & higher-paying jobs. Our own high school students are barely graduating with basic skills and UNLV has to put them through basic intro courses just to get them to manage being a freshman/sophomore in their first year...and still it's a rocky road because the basic educational foundation is weak.

The issue is that we have too many people moving into the state and too few resources to go around. That's causing the basic economic issue of supply & demand...too little supply, too much demand...and that equals much higher prices. We have limited water, limited electrical power, and our roads/freeways are packed. Enough is enough.

We need to stop promoting that people move to Vegas. It's bad enough what people fleeing CA have done to this city in the last 20-25 years. And it's only going to get worse if we push this trend.

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