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Casinos May Spur Return to Growth of Vegas Housing Market


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Las Vegas casino expansion may be the key to economic turnaround in southern Nevada, real estate experts feel. After astronomical growth in the housing market from 2000 to 2005, Las Vegas, like most of the United States, has suffered a major downturn in housing and related industries. But the end may be in sight.

According to statistics released by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, home sales around Las Vegas have dropped 37% from last November, and home prices in the same period dropped 11%. Foreclosures were up 167% over the last year. Tax collections on sales of cars, furniture, and building materials have plummeted.

Still, newer, more elaborate and exotic construction is always planned for the Strip and surrounding casinos, and the vast amounts to be spent on casino renovation and erection over the next few years is seen as a huge boon to the area.

The Palazzo Hotel and Casino, owned by the Sands Corporation, is opening in the next few days and carries a $1.8 billion price tag. Multiple projects adorn the Strip, culminating in the projected 2010 opening of Echelon, a $4.8 resort owned by Boyd Gaming.

Deutsche Bank estimates 40,000 hotel rooms will be added to the area over the next five years, and over 100,000 jobs will result.

Real estate analysts say that, despite the current glut on the market, there may be a housing shortage in Las Vegas by 2009. Driven by the astounding demand for gambling resorts, the Las Vegas economy may avoid the worst of the U.S. housing slump, and start to show increase in demand for and prices of homes, even while other markets are still tumbling.

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