A recent REALTOR® Magazine piece, 11 Metros Break $500K Median Home Price, highlighted that the Austin, Texas, metro area, in March, became the latest market to join the half-million-dollar club — where the “half-million-dollar club” being those markets with a median sale price of $500,000, or more.
Referencing an analysis by OJO Labs (See OJO Labs’ March Unaffordability), the REALTOR® Magazine story cited 11 U.S. metros that have a median sales price of $500,000 or more. These markets include: Austin, Tex. ($500,000); Salt Lake City ($503,000); Portland, Ore. ($505,000); New York ($520,000); Sacramento, Calif. ($550,000); Boston ($560,000); Denver ($565,000); Seattle ($626,000); Los Angeles ($720,000); San Diego ($825,000) and San Francisco ($1.3 million).
Frequent readers may be asking, “Why is Reno, Nev. not included in the list?” After all, per this blog’s most recent market report, March 2022 Market Report for Reno and Sparks, Nevada:
The median home sales price for the Reno, Nevada metro area rose to $575,000 in March — setting another record high for the area.
Well, the short answer is, the OJO Labs data looked at only a subset, 50 (largest?), of the U.S. Metro areas, and Reno, Nev. was not included.
According to Wikipedia, there are 384 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. When ranked by population the Reno, Nev. MSA ranks 114th of 384. [Incidentally, the Reno, Nev. MSA’s population, as of July 1, 2021, as estimated by the United States Census Bureau, is 497,535.]
While taking a closer look at the Reno, Nev. MSA, I noticed that the Reno–Sparks Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in Western Nevada, anchored by the cities of Reno and Sparks.
The map above highlights the two Nevada counties that are part of the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Statistical Area — Washoe county and Storey county. The highlighted portion in red is the actual MSA. This red portion encompasses all of Washoe County and a portion of Storey County.
Observing this, I quickly realized that the monthly Market Report that I publish for the Reno-Sparks market does not technically cover the entire Reno, Nevada MSA. This is because these market reports cover housing data as reported by the Northern Nevada Regional MLS for NNRMLS Area #100 — mostly the cities of Reno, Nevada and Sparks, Nevada. This link takes you to a Google map depicting NNRMLS Areas contained with MLS Area #100.
I decided to pull home sale data for the entire MSA in order to compare with the data for MLS Area #100 in order to see if there were any differences.
For March 2022 the Northern Nevada Regional MLS reports 497 home sales for NNRMLS Area #100. These sales exhibit a median sales price of $575,000.
Then I searched home sales in Washoe County. There were 500 home sales in March, again exhibiting a median sales price of $575,000. Next I searched home sales in Storey County. There were 5 home sales in March — all of which are located in the red portion of Storey County (as shown on the map above), which is part of the Reno–Sparks Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Combining these numbers yields a total of 505 home sales in March for the entire Reno–Sparks metropolitan statistical area. These sales exhibit a median sales price of $575,000. Therefore, no difference between what was reported in March’s Market Report.
Now that we are comparing apples to apples, we can see that the Reno–Sparks metropolitan statistical area is indeed, not only in the “half-million-dollar club”, but also ranks among some of the highest median home price MSAs in the country — surpassing even Austin, Salt Lake City, Portland, New York, Sacramento, Boston, and Denver.