New home ownership figures buck Reno’s transient image |

New home ownership figures buck Reno’s transient image

RENO (AP) – Home ownership is on the rise in the Reno area, and the trend is bucking the city’s image as a haven for transients, officials said.

University of Nevada, Reno geography professor Chris Exline said the region’s population has become less transient and more permanent over the last two decades.

He said the demographic shift is changing Reno’s old image as an area packed with transient hotel-casino workers renting apartments and living on tips.

”When I first looked at this (in 1980), I was amazed by the people who rented everything, not just houses, but furniture, cars, everything,” he said. ”Now, you’re getting people with different expectations. That’s going to influence a lot of things.”

Home ownership is up in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County as a whole, as well as in Carson City and Douglas County, the latest data released by the Census Bureau shows.

From 1990 to 2000, home ownership increased from 33 percent to 47.5 percent in Reno, from 45.3 percent to 59.7 percent in Sparks and from 54.1 percent to 59.3 percent in Washoe County.

To the south, the figure climbed from 60.3 percent to 63.1 percent in Carson City and from 68.9 percent to 74.3 percent in Douglas County.

Robert Sadler, chief executive officer of the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors, calls the local numbers good but not great when compared with the national home ownership rate of 66.2 percent.

Statewide, home ownership jumped from nearly 55 percent in 1990 to a little more than 60 percent in 2000.

Officials attribute the increase to a strong economy and an influx of businesses paying higher wages.

A growing technology sector is fueling the trend in the Reno area, Sadler said.

About 850 tech and tech-related businesses are located in the region, according to the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

”People don’t realize it,” Sadler told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Exline predicts the growth in the technology sector will widen the gap between the region’s haves and havenots.

”That’s going to rocket apart,” he said. ”Between those two groups, it will get wider quickly.”

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