Priced Out: The Housing Crunch

Home and rental prices continue to soar in Northern Nevada and Northeastern California, leaving more working families and individuals on the brink. Seniors, college students, single parents, immigrants, and the working poor are particularly vulnerable. Some must choose to pay rent over buying food or securing healthcare. The lack of affordable housing in urban and rural areas alike is changing the identity of this region. In response, the KUNR newsroom is examining housing through many lenses, including the economic, political, and public health impacts.

The median sales price of a single-family home in Reno is now higher than it was during the peak of the housing boom just before the Great Recession.

This surge in pricing is reminding many in the region of the thriving market of the mid-2000s, as well as the devastation the ensuing crash caused to Northern Nevada.

A leasing sign near UNR
Jacob Solis

In the last few years, the University of Nevada, Reno, saw a spike in enrollment even as nationwide numbers decline. But with that increase in students comes another problem; where are they all supposed to live? And as Reno Public Radio's Jacob Solis reports, the answer is not so simple.

Rob Sabo

Tariffs enacted on softwood lumber imported from Canada are helping create a "perfect storm" of escalating construction costs in Northern Nevada. Our contributor Kaleb Roedel of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly has the details.

Courtesy RSAR

New home listings in Washoe County for April were down 13 percent from a year ago. Our contributor Kaleb Roedel of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly reports.

Pallets with boxes of food sit in a food pantry.
Anh Gray

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that rents have been rising faster than incomes. Many families have a hard time paying for housing and buying food. Our reporter Anh Gray checks in with the head of the region’s food bank to see how housing security is linked to food security.

Anh Gray

People who are considered rent burdened spend roughly a third or more of their income on housing. This leaves many families with less for other essentials like food or healthcare. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports there’s a program that is helping low-income people battling illnesses get the nutrition they need.

High rent prices in Reno are placing many people in financially dire situations. With more of their income going to housing, families may have less to spend on essentials, like food. Our reporter Anh Gray visits a local food pantry to find out how the housing crunch is affecting people in the community.

Outside of major metropolitan areas like the Bay Area and Seattle, Reno has one of the highest median home prices in the American West.

Krysta Scripter

As a part of our "Priced Out" series focusing on affordable housing, we wanted to find the human beings of this issue. The real people who represent the statistics and percentages.

And we found three of them—a family—at a Days Inn Motel in Carson City. Reno Public Radio's Bree Zender followed their story for about a month, starting at the motel. 

A senior stands at a table with food in front of him.
Anh Gray

Older Americans are much more likely to experience the burden of high housing costs. Washoe County Senior Services provides a variety of programs, serving more than 20,000 people in the region. The lunch program is one of the most popular with many, including Bud Matlock. He lives in public housing and shares his story with KUNR.

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