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.

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KUNR Wins Multiple AP Awards

May 24, 2019
Bree Zender, Krysta Scripter

KUNR is adding a few new plaques to the shelf for 2018.

Our series on the lack of affordable housing in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra, Priced Out, won first place for Best Enterprise Reporting by the Associated Press Television and Radio Association.

The KUNR news team has earned three 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, or RTDNA.

Google Maps (June 2017)

There are more than 100 motels in Reno alone. For some, they’re links to the city’s unique past as a gaming mecca. Others see them as hotbeds of criminal activity that bring down the surrounding area’s economic potential. But as Reno Public Radio’s Paul Boger reports, the motels are increasingly becoming a key player in Northern Nevada’s housing crunch.

A woman with short blond hair in a pink shirt stands near a window.
Krysta Scripter

As part of our Priced Out series, KUNR has been speaking with everyday people impacted by rising housing costs in the area. One of those people is Rachel Young, a state employee who has been struggling to find housing since she left her wife in 2017. Young sat down with KUNR to talk about her experiences and how the housing crunch has affected her personally.

The recent rise in housing costs is lucrative for those who rent or sell homes in Northern Nevada. But for other residents, the threads of stability are breaking. KUNR's Bree Zender spoke with a math teacher who says she won't be able to afford to live here comfortably any longer. 

The Sage Street site.
Jacob Solis

Among the people hit hardest by Reno's affordable housing crunch are the city's lowest income residents. Rising rents are often pushing people out of apartments or motels and onto to the street. But now, in downtown Reno, there's a project to create a new safety net.  

Interview: Tahoe's Lack Of Workforce Housing

Jun 28, 2018
A view of Lake Tahoe during the day.
Josh Clemence, Unsplash.com

The housing crunch is being felt across Northern Nevada, but up in Tahoe, the community faces a unique set of challenges. Seventy-eight percent of the homes in the Tahoe area are either vacation rentals or second homes. Meanwhile, many of the people who work in Tahoe can’t afford to live there. Heidi Hill Drum is the CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center; she spoke with our reporter Tim Lenard.

Image of apartment complex behind chainlink fence and construction sign.
Paul Boger

Nearly a third of the households in the Truckee Meadows are considered either very low or extremely low income. That’s according to a report created by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency in 2016. With housing prices continuing to climb, many of those residents are being pushed out of the area. Part of the problem is the lack of publicly subsidized, affordable housing. Reno Public Radio's Paul Boger reports.

Bree Zender

Over the past several weeks, KUNR has been reporting on the affordable housing crunch in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. Today, we speak to a man whose beloved cats essentially priced him out of the Reno rental market. Reno Public Radio’s Bree Zender spoke with him about his extended search for a home for himself, his cats, and his wife. 

Construction workers on site of an apartment complex being constructed for people 55 years of age and older.
Noah Glick

For our series, Priced Out: The Housing Crunch, our reporters have been speaking to several developers. And some have pointed out one potential reason for rising housing costs: immigration enforcement.

Bree Zender

Our reporter Bree Zender has been talking to various everyday people in the region affected by rising house costs. Today, she talks with one mom whose adult son has a mental illness about her efforts to keep him off the streets.


Noah Glick

During our series, "Priced Out: The Housing Crunch," we've looked at the ways rising housing costs have affected various groups within the community, and we've delved into options moving forward.

Now, we're going to look at something a little different.

Noah Glick

With housing costs reaching record highs throughout northern Nevada, potential buyers and builders are looking at alternative options.

One big idea that’s gaining traction nationwide is small: tiny homes.

Krysta Scripter

For years after the recession, there were zero new homes built in Fernley, which was dubbed the foreclosure capital of the US. In 2017, there were more than 200. It's part of a larger trend as people start to look outside of Reno/Sparks for a place they can afford to live. Our reporter Jacob Solis spoke to an official in Fernley to find out more.

image of large residential building being constructed
Noah Glick

The housing supply in Northern Nevada is far below demand, which has led to a rapid rise in costs.

Many are calling for more development, but builders in the community say they’re unable to keep up.

Fresh vegetables in baskets sit on a table.
Anh Gray

About half of the people living in Washoe County are rent burdened. That means they’re spending roughly a third of their income on housing. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray sits down with a public health expert to learn how Northern Nevada’s housing crunch is affecting people in the community.

More than a third of Washoe County residents are considered burdened by housing costs. That's according to research conducted by Enterprise Community Partners -- a non-profit that advocates for affordable housing options across the country.

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.

As Reno Rents Rise, UNR Students Feel The Burden

May 16, 2018
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.

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