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Census: Kingsbury, east shore vacancy rates climb

Kurt Hildebrand / Tribune News ServiceList of Census results for Douglas County
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MINDEN, Nev. – Vacancy rates for homes on Lake Tahoe’s east shore were closer to those in counties packed with ghost towns than the rest of Douglas County.

State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle pointed out that Lake Tahoe’s vacancy rates were very high, including Zephyr Cove at 56.3 percent and Kingsbury at 44.4 percent.

Those are equivalent to those in Esmeralda County where the vacancy rate was 54.2 percent.



Douglas County’s vacancy rate dropped 3.3 percent between the 2000 and 2010 census. That decrease was pretty typical of the area and may reflect a reduction in occupancy due to the recession.

“Two things drive the census occupancy numbers,” Hardcastle said. “One is that the census counts people based on their usual place of residence and the other part is that we’re seeing occupancies go down statewide.”



The high number of second homes and seasonal rentals has always made Douglas County’s population difficult to count.

“It’s always been there, but obviously it came more into play this year,” he said.

Nevada’s first settlement, Genoa, which includes much of the foothills, had a vacancy rate closer to that of Tahoe, with 28 percent.

The county could have housed its population increase over the past decade by adding 632 houses to its inventory, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. An additional 4,665 homes were built in the county between the 2000 and 2010 Census.

But vacancy rates where those homes were built remained comparatively low.

Gardnerville, Minden and the Gardnerville Ranchos were between 6.97 percent for the Ranchos and 8.8 percent for Minden.

Other places where construction numbers were high, such as Johnson Lane, had a vacancy rate of 4.5 percent.

According to the census data, Douglas County had 19,006 housing units in 2000. That number grew to 23,671 in 2010, of which 19,638 were occupied.

Douglas had the lowest occupation rate among the Western Nevada counties, with Carson City posting a 91 percent rate, and even Lyon County, which has been plagued by the state’s highest unemployment rate during the recession, posting an 87.9 percent occupancy rate.

According to the census, 46,997 people live in Douglas County, up from the 2000 Census total of 41,259, but representing a significant deceleration of the county’s past growth.

Douglas County gained 1,513 people during the year since the 2009 Census estimate of 45,464, but the figure was much lower than the Nevada demographer’s estimate of 51,390 people.

It was the first increase in population posted in Douglas County since 2006.

Douglas County’s largest community continued to be the Gardnerville Ranchos with 11,312 residents, an increase of 258 people.

Gardnerville increased in size from 3,357 in 2000 to 5,656 residents in 2010.

Minden also experienced an increase in population from 2,836 to 3,001 residents, as did Johnson Lane, which went from 4,837 residents to 6,490 during the decade. Indian Hills went from 4,407 to 5,627 residents over the course of the decade.

Not all Douglas County communities increased in size.

Kingsbury decreased in size from 2,624 to 2,152 residents, and Zephyr Cove dropped to a third of its former size, losing 1,084 of its 1,649 residents over the decade, leaving 565. Stateline lost 30 percent of its residents during the decade, posting 842 residents during the decade.


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