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April 19, 2014

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Tom Gorman on homes, homes everywhere, but not an affordable one among the lot

I am really excited about Las Vegas' robust future after attending the annual pep rally held by the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.

For four hours Tuesday morning I sat in a cavernous convention hall listening to a manic presentation about how Las Vegas is the center of the universe when it comes to residential construction.

That's really not news, because we've been the fastest-growing metropolitan region in the nation for 15 years running.

But oh, the diversity of our housing stock! We've got single-family homes, apartments, apartment conversions, new condos, hotel-condos, hotel-condo-time shares (with cantilevered swimming pools hanging over the edge), urban housing, suburban housing and now there's even housing in the huburbs.

(A huburb, I learned, is a microcity in which you can find everything you need within two or three miles of your home. I must live in a huburb because I'm close to work, church, Costco and In-N-Out Burger.)

Apparently the only kind of housing we don't have anymore is affordable housing. But I get the sense nobody is really bothered by that, because it was barely mentioned.

Dennis Smith, a number-crunching housing industry analyst, said some of the new master plans allow greater density because they are using narrower streets. He quickly added, "Is this an answer to affordable housing? No."

And a few minutes later, he was bragging about all the low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise condos being built around town. "Is it an answer to affordable housing?" he said again. "No."

Somebody remarked that if struggling working folks want to buy a home, they can always look around in Pahrump, Mesquite and northern Arizona. One of the downsides is that they would not qualify, I don't think, as huburbanites, but maybe these people have bigger issues on their plates.

Here are some factoids, good for cocktail party conversation:

One of the speakers said the Las Vegas real estate market is so hot, it would be a good investment just to go out and buy a parking lot somewhere because, some day soon, the land might be needed to build a high-rise condo. And I'm not making this up.

I can't afford to buy a parking lot, but I'm thinking of subdividing my driveway.

Cha-ching.

Tom Gorman's column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 259-2310 or at [email protected]

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