Construction jobs continue to show improvement

Nevada’s construction industry continued to advance in May.

The building sector added 5,000 jobs year over year in the month, for an 8 percent job growth rate that was more than double the overall formation rate of 3.4 percent, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported on June 17.

The jobs trace to widespread improvements in construction activity, from building in residential master plans including Inspirada and Summerlin to resort-corridor projects such as Resorts World Las Vegas and the 20,000-seat arena MGM Resorts International and AEG are developing west of New York-New York.

Despite the higher jobs count, construction remained well below its pre-recession peak. The state had 67,800 construction jobs in May, compared with a peak of 148,000 in 2006. Employment in the industry bottomed out at 46,700 statewide in 2012.

Construction’s share of the jobs base is also much smaller, at 5.4 percent in May. Construction made up about 12 percent of the state’s jobs base in mid-2006. Nationally, the industry has historically averaged 5 percent of the employment base.

Top 10 in rental gains

A big jump in annual appreciation rates made the Las Vegas market a top spot for investing in rental housing, according to a network of property management companies.

All Property Management ranked Las Vegas No. 7 in the West and No. 10 nationally among its best markets for rental real estate investment in the first quarter.

Year-to-year property-value gains averaging 12.7 percent — the highest “by far” nationwide in the quarter — were a key factor in the city’s ratings. A rental-capitalization rate of nearly 8 percent also helped make the case. The two indicators meant stronger-than-average returns.

The study also cited local job growth of more than 3 percent. The market’s job-formation rate was about 40 percent higher than the national average, the report noted.

Other rental markets performing well in the first quarter included San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Portland, Ore.

Seven of the top 10 markets nationwide were in the West, which as a region is offering higher returns than any other area.

The analysis also pegged the vacancy rate at 7.2 percent.

Skye Canyon readies event

Southern Nevada’s next big master plan is getting ready for its first big sales event.

The 1,700-acre Skye Canyon in northwest Las Vegas, at U.S. Highway 95 and Skye Canyon Park Drive, is hosting “First Look” on Aug. 1.

The event is a preview of the community’s first 10 model homes, by Pulte Homes and Woodside Homes.

There’ll also be renderings of the community, as well as Skye Center, an 8,142-square-foot community center that will have a juice bar, coffee shop and open-air cantina and wine bar.

Community officials will also unveil plans for Skye Fitness, a 9,663-square-foot center with a swimming pool and splash parks.

Both Skye Center and Skye Fitness are scheduled to open in early 2016.

The master plan is angling heavily for outdoor enthusiasts, with designate bike lanes on all major streets, a network of hiking and biking trails, a bike shop and a greenhouse. It also plays up its proximity to Mount Charleston, and it will give away ski packages, Mount Charleston getaways and hiking and camping backpacks at “First Look.”

Other builders at Skye Canyon include Century Communities.

The Skye Canyon community will have 9,000 homes upon completion.

Olympia Cos., the developer of Southern Highlands, is behind Skye Canyon. Olympia Chairman Garry Goett said at the master plan’s June 2014 groundbreaking that home prices would range from $200,000 to $600,000.

Siegel buys in Arizona

A Las Vegas-based operator of extended-stay apartments made its first foray into Arizona.

The Siegel Group Nevada bought a 483-unit extended-stay property in Casa Grande, Ariz., for $8.3 million. The 10-building property has been operating under the Legacy Suites brand.

Siegel executives said they’ll add upgrades including Wi-Fi, new flat-screen TVs in all units, and “minor” cosmetic upgrades.

The acquisition comes weeks after Siegel’s rollout of its Siegel Suites Select brand, launched through two former local Crestwood Suites properties. Siegel Suites Select is targeted at business professionals, corporate groups and customers looking to stay at least a week.

Siegel executives said they chose the Casa Grande market because of its planned, $1 billion PhoenixMart project, which will have 1.5 million square feet of space for manufacturers and distributors looking to showcase products for business-to-business dealings. The center will have more than 2,000 manufacturers, plus categories including home and hotel, industrial and automotive, and food and beverage. The project is poised to create more than 7,000 jobs in the Casa Grande market.

“We are thrilled to enter the Arizona market with the acquisition of such a phenomenal property that is not only newer construction and in impeccable condition but is located on the main thoroughfare of an area that is undergoing significant economic development,” said Steve Siegel, president of The Siegel Group. “Just by looking at all the new retail developments that are anchored by some of the largest big box businesses in the country, one can easily see Casa Grande is destined for big things.”

Siegel also said the acquisition is “just one of many” the company plans in Arizona.

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