May median sold price, units, DOM, and $/sq.ft.

May’s median sold price fell significantly to $175,000 – down $4,450, or 2.5 percent from April’s median of $179,450. YOY, May’s median was unchanged from May 2009.

May’s sold price per square foot also dropped from April’s number; to $101.75/square-foot, a 1.3 percent decrease from April’s sold price per square foot of $103.08.  …And also down YOY from May 2009’s $102.29.

The number of houses sold in May was 433 units – a noticeable decrease, 14.4 percent, from April’s 506 units sold.

May’s sales break out as follows:

  • Bank-owned properties – 28%  – down from April’s 30.5%
  • Short sales – 34.6% – up from April’s 32.4%  
  • Equity sales – 36.5%  – unchanged from April

For those readers who prefer the median sold price for houses and condos combined, May’s 512 sold houses and condos exhibited a combined median sold price of $159,200 – down 3.5 percent from April’s combined median of $165,000.

New this month, by suggestion, I am adding columns to the table for number of listed and pending properties.

Month Year # Sold Sold Price Sold Price per SqFt Average DOM # of Listings # of Pendings
May 2010 433 $175,000 $101.75 138 1,789 1,804
Apr 2010 506 $179,450 $103.08 128    
Mar 2010 477 $176,000 $99.44 143    
Feb 2010 338 $170,000 $101.68 138    
Jan 2010 346 $167,000 $97.06 134    
Dec 2009 420 $176,500 $101.15 127    
Nov 2009 460 $175,000 $103.51 112    
Oct 2009 560 $180,000 $103.65 124    
Sep 2009 520 $185,948 $103.31 128    
Aug 2009 482 $179,900 $102.64 116    
Jul 2009 515 $180,000 $103.45 126    
Jun 2009 536 $180,317 $104.09 136    
May 2009 426 $175,000 $102.29 139    
Apr 2009 429 $190,000 $105.71 133    
Mar 2009 369 $200,000 $105.85 133    
Feb 2009 293 $205,000 $111.52 132    
Jan 2009 233 $200,000 $113.04 117    
Dec 2008 294 $218,950 $121.74 145    
Nov 2008 269 $220,000 $122.24 152    
Oct 2008 354 $230,000 $131.43 144    
Sep 2008 358 $239,250 $136.72 145    
Aug 2008 321 $250,000 $142.14 140    
Jul 2008 397 $251,000 $145.48 139    
Jun 2008 369 $262,500 $148.05 142    
May 2008 314 $260,215 $152.30 134    
Apr 2008 314 $275,000 $154.05 172    
Mar 2008 238 $274,000 $150.93 166    
Feb 2008 195 $289,000 $156.48 149    
Jan 2008 165 $285,000 $170.23 146    
Dec2007 228 $283,950 $167.22 143    
Nov2007 204 $299,750 $172.24 126    
Oct2007 241 $296,000 $173.55 116    
Sep2007 230 $299,945 $179.46 114    
Aug2007 311 $305,000 $182.49 118    
Jul2007 300 $315,000 $189.78 113    
Jun2007 329 $320,000 $196.78 104    
May2007 364 $313,200 $190.81 107    
Apr2007 320 $309,500 $193.93 121    
Mar2007 324 $315,000 $189.61 121    
Feb 2007 269 $315,000 $191.18 126    
Jan 2007 245 $312,900 $199.79 133    
Dec2006 291 $309,000 $193.51 114    
Nov2006 281 $318,000 $197.32 111    
Oct 2006 363 $312,400 $201.44 105    
Sep2006 344 $314,950 $198.08 98    
Aug2006 349 $325,000 $210.92 94    
Jul2006 373 $335,000 $210.62 93    
Jun2006 424 $339,000 $214.54 91    
May2006 374 $339,950 $219.05 99    
Apr2006 368 $334,600 $212.08 88    
Mar2006 387 $340,000 $215.54 99    
Feb 2006 283 $335,000 $217.29 101    
Jan 2006 274 $365,000 $216.38 98    
Dec2005 333 $355,000 $217.31 89    
Nov2005 385 $349,000 $220.00 81    
Oct2005 484 $359,450 $223.06 77    
Sep2005 531 $354,500 $219.26 77    
Aug2005 582 $360,500 $220.52 73    
Jul2005 608 $353,000 $218.99 71    
Jun2005 679 $350,000 $215.69 69    
May2005 644 $333,250 $209.95 68    
Apr2005 558 $326,750 $207.57 77    
Mar2005 584 $325,000 $200.17 81    
Feb 2005 342 $318,500 $197.54 88    
Jan 2005 341 $310,000 $195.19 85    
Dec2004 450 $312,500 $190.72 77    
Nov2004 448 $309,950 $191.62 63    
Oct2004 512 $299,250 $188.72 53    
Sep2004 496 $292,750 $185.78 61    
Aug2004 505 $285,000 $182.95 56    
Jul2004 544 $304,300 $179.28 61    
Jun2004 533 $285,000 $172.16 65    
May2004 476 $278,750 $169.64 65    
Apr2004 526 $259,950 $158.08 67    
Mar2004 508 $245,000 $142.56 71    
Feb 2004 365 $237,000 unavailable 81    
Jan 2004 379 $229,000 unavailable 78    
Dec2003 441 $240,000 unavailable 82    
Nov2003 444 $220,750 unavailable 78    
Oct2003 430 $219,880 unavailable 76    
Sep2003 587 $223,000 unavailable 71    
Aug2003 512 $220,000 unavailable 75    
Jul2003 533 $210,000 unavailable 77    
Jun2003 475 $207,000 unavailable 77    
May2003 450 $198,950 unavailable 85    
Apr2003 478 $197,750 unavailable 82    
Mar 2003 428 $192,000 unavailable 77    
Feb 2003 321 $186,895 unavailable 79    
Jan 2003 316 $186,000 unavailable 96    
Dec2002 379 $193,500 unavailable 93    
Nov2002 423 $190,000 unavailable 82    
Oct2002 483 $189,900 unavailable 83    
Sep2002 410 $174,000 unavailable 85    
Aug2002 459 $180,000 unavailable 74    
Jul2002 469 $176,000 unavailable 83    
Jun2002 445 $185,000 unavailable 80    
May2002 470 $178,450 unavailable 77    
Apr2002 360 $169,500 unavailable 93    
Mar 2002 377 $169,000 unavailable 84    
Feb 2002 323 $170,900 unavailable 89    
Jan 2002 268 $172,475 unavailable 99    
Dec2001 287 $182,000 unavailable 86    
Nov2001 323 $161,500 unavailable 85    
Oct2001 357 $166,500 unavailable 79    
Sep2001 355 $168,000 unavailable 81    
Aug2001 448 $160,350 unavailable 84    
Jul2001 433 $169,900 unavailable 90    
Jun2001 426 $166,225 unavailable 96    
May2001 404 $162,050 unavailable 97    
Apr2001 370 $158,750 unavailable 94    
Mar 2001 385 $159,900 unavailable 97    
Feb 2001 294 $159,950 unavailable 103    
Jan 2001 264 $165,000 unavailable 102    
Dec2000 272 $156,500 unavailable 100    
Nov2000 355 $154,500 unavailable 93    
Oct 2000 348 $153,000 unavailable 98    
Sep2000 356 $160,000 unavailable 104    
Aug2000 412 $163,375 unavailable 94    
Jul2000 368 $155,000 unavailable 110    
Jun2000 466 $165,845 unavailable 104    
May2000 363 $158,000 unavailable 105    
Apr2000 312 $155,000 unavailable 113    
Mar 2000 339 $162,700 unavailable 102    
Feb 2000 244 $149,620 unavailable 110    
Jan 2000 217 $156,000 unavailable 112    
Dec 1999 264 $155,000 unavailable 118    
Nov 1999 293 $149,900 unavailable 98    
Oct 1999 289 $147,895 unavailable 108    
Sep 1999 311 $157,000 unavailable 106    
Aug 1999 360 $148,500 unavailable 112    
Jul 1999 375 $147,800 unavailable 105    
Jun1999 372 $150,000 unavailable 103    
May 1999 307 $145,500 unavailable 106    
Apr1999 324 $151,700 unavailable 111    
Mar 1999 308 $151,000 unavailable 121    
Feb1999 249 $148,900 unavailable 120    
Jan 1999 210 $143,000 unavailable 115    
Dec 1998 265 $140,000 unavailable 118    
Nov 1998 279 $153,000 unavailable 126    
Oct1998 286 $142,825 unavailable 115    
Sep 1998 279 $144,500 unavailable 102    
Aug 1998 331 $145,000 unavailable 113    
Jul 1998 335 $150,000 unavailable 108    
Jun 1998 351 $148,500 unavailable 103    
May 1998 302 $145,500 unavailable 99    
Apr 1998 235 $149,000 unavailable 111    
Mar 1998 267 $142,500 unavailable 114    
Feb 1998 201 $139,900 unavailable 126    
Jan 1998 165 $149,490 unavailable 131    


Note: The medians table above is updated on a monthly basis. The median home price data reported covers the cities of Reno, Nevada and Sparks, Nevada [NNRMLS Area #100]. Residential data includes Site/Stick Built properties only. Data excludes Condo/Townhouse, Manufactured/Modular and Shared Ownership properties. Data courtesy of the Northern Nevada Regional MLS – June 2010.  Note: This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.


About Guy Johnson

I am a licensed Nevada REALTOR® living and working in Reno, Nevada. Give me a call at 775-722-4011. My team and I will be happy to assist you with your real estate needs.
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66 Responses to May median sold price, units, DOM, and $/sq.ft.

  1. Avatar PriceItRight says:


    I brought the issue of Mean vs. Median to give the bears some more perspective when they predict that the Median is set for a double-dip while acknowledging at the same time that prices are stable in the sub-$200K category.

    Statistical quantities of a distribution changes with the shape of the curve (read that as relative level of activity in different strata of market) and/or spread of the curve (read that as average price point for different strata of market).

    The second factor (spread) influences the Mean more than Median, particularly when percentage variation in prices is more amplified in upper strata than lower strata. So if someone argues that the metric to gauge the market will decline as a result of weakening in prices in the upper strata, they are better off by looking at the Mean rather than Median. The Mean should however be used very cautiously as certain kinds of distributions (for example a power-law) can exhibit a non-converging behavior. To compute a mathematically well behaved Mean for the size of market in Reno (~400 houses sold per month), I would preclude transactions which have a probability of 1/500 or less (may turn out to be $1M+ transactions).

    The first factor (shape) influences the Median in a stronger way. But I haven’t heard bears on this forum talk much about likelihood of increasing level of activity in the the lower strata of market vis-a-vis the middle and upper strata. In one of my previous posts, I requested Guy to dig out ratio of activity in lower and higher priced area of the town [example: MLS 134 (Stead) vs. MLS 165 (South Suburban) or MLS 180 (Sparks) vs. MLS 165]. Examining the changes in Median price in light of ratio such as these can be very insightful. It sounded like such data mining can be very time consuming.

  2. Avatar Sully says:

    Price, since I cannot access sales by MLS areas quickly I use APN on the ytd sales list. Further calculating price sq/ft and comparing to other sales in same development. This helps some, however distressed sales can distort this enough to where you have two price ranges on the same block for basically the same house.

  3. Avatar inclinejj says:

    The exploding student debt problem will cut into new first time home buyers for the next 10 years.

    BTW you can not discharge Federally backed student debt in bankruptcy and 99% of all student debt is Federally backed!!!

  4. Avatar KingBud says:

    Good statistics discussion above.

    Hey, our friendly wager on the blog to predict median sales price at year-end is based on median sales price for the whole market, not carved-out segments of the market to include some percentage of total sales (80%, 85%, whatever).

    I think about median from the standpoint of a teeter-totter. Take the home sales prices and write them out from low price to high price from left to right. Now decide where to place the fulcrom so that the teeter-totter is balanced. That is the median sales price.

    How do you decrease the monthly median sales price? By seeing relatively more sales volume this month at prices below the median sales price from the previous month.

    Why did the median sales price go down consistently from 2006-2009 ?? Because for many consecutive months we were seeing sales volume happening at lower prices relative to the previous month’s median sales price. So the calculated median price kept going down.

    Why should we expect sales volume moving forward to be higher in the 172K+ segment relative to the below-median price segment ?? Unemployment is 13.7% in Nevada. Credit is tight. How many people in Reno/Sparks have 100K+ for a down payment, and then a job or business in the area that provides sufficient income to qualify for a 300K+ mortgage ??

    The bubble pricing was the creation of easy credit in the first place, which now is over. I think most prospective home buyers realize this now and are aggresively making low-ball offers on homes. They’re not looking to pay 400K or 500K for anything in Reno/Sparks, even if they can afford it.

    If median household income in Washoe county is about 40K, that means the median home price should be around 160K, which is a little lower than the current median price.

    FWIW, I’m comfortable with my 150K prediction because I think there is relatively more shadow foreclosure inventory at the lower end of the market than the high end, and this inventory is effectively not affecting market prices right now because of government/bank manipulation of the housing market (the quid-pro-quo of banks getting TARP money and other favorable banking regulations from government in return for banks not aggresively foreclosing on the delinquent home owners, and hence dumping additional supply into the housing market). Once this additional home supply comes to market, the median will go down more. That’s at least my prediction, anyway.

  5. Avatar MikeZ says:

    [KingBud] “If median household income in Washoe county is about 40K, that means the median home price should be around 160K”

    FINALLY, a legitimate analysis.

    Outside of the recent credit bubble, median household income correlates strongly with median home price.

    $40K was median household income in 1999 [1], and as you can see from the data at the top of this thread, median home price was $145K-$155K, as expected.


    Middle-of-the-road estimates of 2010 median household income fall between $44K and $48K, supporting a median price of $170K-$185K.

  6. Avatar Free Falling says:

    I’m onboard with the correlation between median income and median home price.

    Well here is a link to HUD’s household income for Washoe County.

    My apologies that this doesn’t click through. (pointers anyone?)

    Well HUD has the median income for Washoe County at $70,400 for 2009 -10. That $70 k median household income can buy a lot more house than the $175 k median today.

  7. Avatar MikeZ says:

    [Free] “HUD has the median income for Washoe County at $70,400 for 2009-10”

    That figure appears to be the median income of FHFA approved home buyers (“based on data provided to Fannie Mae by FHFA”), over some unspecified period of time, not the median household income of the area.

    Approved home buyers will naturally have higher median household income than the area as a whole.

    Estimates of median household income for Reno/Washoe are all over the map, I chose the middle of the pack of the estimates I found and make no claim of accuracy; there’s a lot of wiggle room in the figure I posted.

  8. Avatar Free Falling says:


    If you don’t like that HUD site, try this one. It sets Reno/Sparks Median for 2010 at $71,200. This is the measure used for setting rents in rent controlled apartments. I’d take it as accurate.

    But let’s go a little farther. The median household income includes those households living in rental properties. In Nevada, the average home ownership rate for the past ten years has been around 65%. 35% of households are renters. Some by choice (too young or too smart to buy in 2005). Others simply don’t have the financial means to own a home.

    Let’s assume that the bottom 28% of renters (10/35) simply can’t afford to own. That means the households with the top 90% of incomes are the homeowners. This means that those at the median “home” is being purchased by the household at the 55th percentile of income (10 + 45).

    Now let’s take it a little further. The inalienable rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence are “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” There is nothing in there about “Life, Liberty and the Deed to a Single Family Detached Home”. So, of our 65% of Nevadan households that are homeowners, some own condominiums and manufactured homes which are excluded from the SFR Median we are all watching as our barometer of the market. About 15% of sales are excluded from the SFR median, and most of those are below the SFR median. So 15% of the 65% of homes which are owned by households is about 10% of all homes. This means that about 55% of homes are single family detached owner occupied homes.

    It is thus not an unreasonable assumption to make that the median priced home is now being purchased by the household at about the 60th percentile of income. (I’ve made an arbitrary adjustment for households that could afford to own a single family detached home but instead choose to rent or to own a condominium or manufactured home.)

    I can’t quote any stats on the 60th percentile of income, but if median is $71,200, then $75,000 is plausible as the median income for owners of single family detached homes.

    It wasn’t that long ago that a 10% down payment was considered the minimum to get into the ownership game. If we reduce the median home price of $175,000 by $17,500 for a 10% down payment, we are left with a mortgage of $157,500, or barely twice the median income of the single family detached homeowners. With a 30 year loan at 5%, that is $845 per month. Taxes are another 145. Insurance is 25 for a burden of $1015 per month (before auto and credit card debt) on monthly income of 6250. Well that is a debt burden of 16% or less than half that allowed by most lenders.

    If the median household income for single family detached homeowners is $75,000 and the median single family detached house price is $175,000, there is plenty of room for price appreciation once we start seeing job creation in the Truckee Meadows. Right now the market is being held back by income loss, fear and personal debt amassed during the boom days.

  9. Avatar LikeBigBottoms says:

    Definitely the bottom…

    “U.S. home buying applications sank for a fifth straight week to a fresh 13-year low, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday, suggesting that tax credits had robbed more from future sales than expected.

    Mortgage application

    Demand for loans to purchase houses fell 5.7 percent in the week ended June 4 to the lowest level since February 1997.”

  10. Avatar inclinejj says:

    Here is another. Sorry to burst the bubble of the housing homers but:

    Overall mortgage application volume falls 12.2 pct
    By J.W. ELPHINSTONE (AP) – 21 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — The number of customers applying for a mortgage to purchase a property fell to the lowest level in 13 years last week, a sign the housing market is struggling without government incentives.

    Purchase volume declined 5.7 percent and is at its lowest point since February 1997, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

    Overall mortgage application volume, which includes loans for purchases and refinancings, dropped by 12.2 percent during the week ending June 4, compared with the previous week. Refinance volume tumbled 14.3 percent.

    “Purchase applications are now 35 percent below their level of four weeks ago, as homebuyers have not yet returned to the market following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of April,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

    New buyers were offered a credit worth up to $8,000, while current owners who bought and moved into another home could get one for up to $6,500. To receive them, buyers had to have a signed offer by April 30 and must close by the end of June.

    The trade group said customers looking to refinance homes accounted for 72.2 percent of all applications, compared with 73.8 percent the previous week. This marks the first decline in refinance share in five weeks.

    Interest rates have hovered near historical lows for the past month and many homeowners have already refinanced recently. Others can’t qualify because they owe more than their homes are worth, lack job security or have tarnished credit, Fratantoni said.

    The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.81 percent last week from 4.83 percent a week earlier.

    The average rate for a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage — which is often more popular for refinancing a mortgage — rose to 4.26 percent from 4.24 percent.

    The survey provides a snapshot of mortgage lending activity among mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. It covers more than 50 percent of all residential retail mortgage originations each week.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  11. Avatar Sully says:

    Free, when using median income to determine house affordability, the variable is down payment, interest rate and monthly debt. The median sale price of houses is simply the middle house on the list. i.e. three houses selling at 500,450 and 100 – the median is 450, the average is 350. Change the middle house to 200 and the median drops to 200, however the average is 266. Which was my point above. Affording a house based on income is for the bank to extent you a loan, too bad they weren’t doing this 5 years ago.

    The median price discussion relating to the contest at the end of year was to guess where this number would be and is not related to median income vs house affordability.

  12. Avatar KingBud says:

    Yes, I think the mortgage market action after expiration of the 8K tax credit is suggestive that the government manipulation is more than just theoretical, that it really was having a meaningful impact on mortgage and hence sales activity.

    I’m not sure what average household income is in Washoe County, but if anyone has a good source of this information please share. I would think the County would have this information, but I didn’t readily see it on their website. It’s probably at the Bureau of Economic Analysis website somewhere.

    But anyways, let’s say for sake of argument that the average household income is 60K, a little lower than the 70K figure that Free Falling cited above.

    And let’s assume Washoe County unemployment is the same as the state average of 13.7%.

    And then let’s assume that all unemployed homeowners in Washoe County are receiving the maximal unemployment benefit and getting it for 52 weeks, which in Nevada is $362/week, so we can estimate some maximal average household income in the county.

    That would give us an average household income of:

    0.137*(362*52)+ 0.863*(60,000) = 54,358.

    Obviously, not everyone who is unemployed qualifies for the unemployment benefits, and many of those who qualify do not qualify for 52-weeks worth of benefits or benefits at the maximal amount of $362/week.

    So the $54,358 estimate is a ceiling. We can debate how much below the $54,358 the actual average is. And of course maybe one of us can find a good source of information for the median household income in Washoe County.

    By the way, I got the $362/week maximal unemployment benefit from the site below. Hopefully the link works:

  13. Avatar DonC says:

    The Census Bureau says the median household income for Washoe is $57,355. MuniNet says it’s $66,517. Compare with

    Of interest is that the average income is $79,453, which means that income shows the same tail as housing.

    So where does that take us? Let’s just assume the median family household income is $60,000 just because it’s a nice round number between the two numbers we have. The current average rate for a 30 year mortgage is 4.72%. 28% of income would be $1400/month. At 4.72% you’re talking about being able to qualify for something just south of a $275,000 mortgage. Round that down to $250,000 because of taxes and insurance and some other debts and you still end up with a number that’s above the current median selling price.

  14. Avatar smarten says:

    No offense LBB, but NOT every piece of negative news is directly relevant to the “bottom” [however one chooses to measure it] of the Reno SFR market. For instance, one could say that we’ve most certainly reached the bottom based upon Joran Van der Sloot’s alleged upcoming confession of Natalie Holloway’s murder [ ]; couldn’t one?

  15. Avatar Sully says:

    smarten, hop over to housing tracker:

    Check out the listings chart for Las Vegas and San Jose, then go to the Reno chart.

    Can you see the disconnect in the high end listings?

    It took Reno realtors 3 years to come down to earth and almost another year to get in alignment with the rest of the market. So until the high end stays in better alignment with the rest of the market, I don’t see how a bottom can be determined. Since sales follow listings it will take a little longer to see if high end sales are affecting the rest of the market. Many people think that lower prices in the high end will cascade down to the lower price ranges. It’s hard to tell in this market, as the other 75% have been correcting since Apr 06 and might be compressed already, another difficulty is trying to compare listing price range with sales price range, however a general trend should emerge soon.

    BTW, this has been my point for quite a while and only recently have I been seeing or hearing comments regarding better values – which I am also seeing and only since the high end started getting closer to the general market.

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