The annual Las Vegas Perspective took place yesterday. It's actually a report that discusses in detail economic, government, demographic, business and lifestyle issues in the valley. A thorough undertaking. It's put together by the Metropolitan Research Association, a nonprofit organization.
One of the main topics of the event was housing affordability. According to the report, only 15% of the residents living here can now afford to buy a house. On the other hand, home ownership is nearly 70%, a level that was reached largely on the subprime market's flexible mortgage underwriting guidelines. So, when we look at these numbers, the affordability has really taken a severe beating in the last few years. And the gap might be widening further as home prices seem to hold fairly well, yet mortgage lenders are steadily raising loan qualification standards. Many of the first-time buyers and the borrowers with weak credit files may have to stand for a while on the outside looking in.
What's the good news? The population growth gauge for 2006 recorded a healthy 5.3% increase, to 1.91 million. The five states that contributed the most are California, who else, Arizona, Florida, Texas and New York. There is more good news. We are now the top player in the whole nation in the green housing trend. We should all be very pleased about that.
We do have challenges, of course, but with a report like this we get to know what they are and can then go to work on them. The full report is available in public libraries or can be obtained directly from the Perspective.