Las Vegas’ economy took a shattering blow from the pandemic, but its multifamily market bucked expectations—its proximity to high-density California metros and relative affordable status appealed to residents looking to stay put or relocate. In-migration increased demand and pushed up the occupancy rate in stabilized properties by 150 basis points in the 12 months ending in February, to 95.8 percent. Rents continued to rise, up 0.5 percent on a trailing three-month basis through March, to $1,187.
Las Vegas unemployment dropped to 9.8 percent in January, while the 9.3 percent preliminary February figure pointed to continued recovery. The employment market posted a 11.0 percent contraction in 2020, nearly twice the -6.8 percent U.S. rate. The metro’s outlook is promising, however, fueled by the steady reopening of casinos and venues hosting trade shows and related activities, with increased capacity for up to 50 percent or 250 people. The planned opening of Resorts World Las Vegas this summer is anticipated to help the leisure and hospitality sector recover after the massive 21.4 percent contraction recorded in 2020.
Developers delivered 588 units in the first quarter of 2021 and had another 6,410 units underway. Meanwhile, transactions totaled just $84 million in multifamily assets, for a price per unit that dropped a substantial 38.8 percent, to $113,052, when compared to the first quarter of 2020.