Breaking the Red Tape: Nevada’s Solution to the Housing Shortages

Staff

If you build it, they will come. We know this is true as we see Nevada bust at the seams. But what happens when there’s no land to build on it?    

In the neon glow of Las Vegas, a housing crisis looms. We need more land for new homes. In a recent Review-Journal article, Tina Frias of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association warns that the Vegas Valley could face a shortage of available land in just eight years.  

Federal Land in Nevada Cause Housing Shortages

Here’s the deal: the federal government owns more than 80 percent of land in Nevada. That’s a lot of red tape to navigate.   

However, here’s where it gets a bit messy. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages most of Nevada’s land and that of other Western states. An entity that some argue serves no clear public purpose.  

Nevada’s looming housing shortages are caused, in part, by the amount of land in the state currently owned by the federal government.

Governor Joe Lombardo recently endorsed a bill that pushes to change this. The Accelerating Appraisals and Conservation Efforts Act (AACE Act) is a bill presented by Democratic Representative Susie Lee that aims to speed up land appraisals, making it easier to build homes and infrastructure.   

It is the first time he’s endorsed a Democratic bill in Congress as a governor. One thing both parties can agree on is that there needs to be more wiggle room for land development.  

Less Land Equals Higher Housing Costs

This restricted development not only leads to fewer homes being built and higher prices for existing housing but also contributes to the cancellation of many multi-million-dollar projects due to high land prices, resulting in lost construction jobs.  

Furthermore, the decrease in affordable apartment construction has caused a sharp rise in rents.  

According to Lee’s office, the AACE Act would allow the U.S. Interior Department to contract with private appraisers, easing a bottleneck by making more appraisers available to the federal government. For instance, this could expedite the assessment of property values needed for federal projects such as constructing new national parks or upgrading existing infrastructure like bridges and roads.  

In addition, the Interior Department would be required to prioritize working with local appraisers, ensuring community knowledge and expertise are leveraged. However, they would have flexibility to engage non-local appraisers if local professionals were unavailable, ensuring projects can proceed efficiently without unnecessary delays.  

Hope for Change in Housing Market

Developing an adequate housing supply is an issue that is not going away anytime soon.  

Skyrocketing land prices are stalling projects and driving up rents. But with Nevada’s growing political influence, there’s hope for change. We can pave the way for affordable housing and economic growth by unlocking federal land and streamlining processes.  

We can ensure that every Nevadan has a place to call home with determination and cooperation. 

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