Housing Needs Assessment – November 2022
SUMMARY HUMBOLDT COUNTY – NEVADA
Key findings of the study of Humboldt County’s housing market, including supply and
demand factors for future growth of the region are summarized below.
Demographic and Employment Overview
• After a number of years of decline, population in the county increased for three
consecutive years between 2018 and 2021, with population growth tied closely to gold
• The ratio of residents owning their homes declined in the last five years from almost
three quarters to slightly over two thirds of residents, now only slightly above US
• Median income, at the household and family levels exceeded national measures, though
average income levels were slightly lower. Per capita income in Humboldt County was
lower, likely due to a higher ratio of families with children used in the income estimate.
• The county has had a high number of in-migrating new residents. Almost 50% of persons
moving from outside the county are in the range of 20 to 34 years of age. Over one-third
of these residents had a per capita income of $75,000 and over.
• Like most areas, Humboldt County lost some employment during the COVID-19
pandemic in 2020. By July 2022, employment remained slightly below 2019 levels, but,
due to a decline in labor force, the county had an unemployment rate of 2.6%,
significantly below natural unemployment levels.
• County wages increased by 6.7% between 2017 and 2022, below the CPI increase during
this period of 16.7%. The industry with the highest wages in Humboldt County in 2022
was the Utilities industry with a weekly wage at over twice than the countywide average
wage, followed by the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction industry at 1.75
times greater than the average wage. Other high wage industries include Manufacturing
at 1.13 times the average wage and Wholesale Trade at 1.25 times.
• Between 2017 and 2022, the county lost employment in the Utilities, Information,
Finance and Insurance, Professional and Technical Services, and Administrative and
Waste Services industries. Employment increased in the Mining, Construction,
Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, Transportation and Warehousing, Health
Care and Social Assistance, and Other Services industries. These employment increases
occurred in industries with higher than average wage levels, resulting in strong growth
in county wages during this period.
• The Humboldt Development Authority conducted a survey of existing and future large
employers in the region, estimating 822 jobs are expected to be created or existing vacancies filled between 2022 and 2026, including Lithium Nevada, Turquoise Ridge, I80 Gold and other large projects. Indirect and induced jobs supported by these operations are expected to bring another 476 jobs to the county, for a total of 1,298 jobs by 2026.
• Humboldt County residential unit inventory is made up primarily of single family
detached and manufactured homes, at approximately 38% of total units, each. This is
followed by multi-family (apartment units) at 24% of total inventory. The county has
only 47 units of single-family attached product (condominiums and townhomes).
• Between 2020 and September 2022 65 new dwelling units were added per year in
Humboldt County which equals the construction rates for between 2000 and 2020.
Manufactured homes were the most popular product added to Humboldt County
between 2020 and September 2022.
• Housing vacancy rates for those homes available for rent or for sales was 2.3% in
Humboldt County, according to the 2016-2020 American Community Survey. This
indicates the county’s housing market has few existing units available for rent and/or
sale in order to accommodate future growth in the county and will require new
construction to accommodate this future growth.
• Humboldt County new home sales in 2021 and 2022 (19 sales through September 2022)
have somewhat recovered from a low of two new home sales in 2020. The average
annual appreciation rate of new home values between 2011 and 2022 (through
September) is 6.5%, with a 2022 median price of $410,700.
• Existing single-family home sales show a strong and consistent demand for homes over
the last 11 years in Humboldt County. Through September, the 2022 median sales price
of existing single-family homes in Humboldt County was $270,000, following $295,320
in 2021. Nevertheless, the existing home sales trends shows an increasing demand for
housing and home ownership in Humboldt County. The average annual appreciation rate
of existing home values between 2011 and 2022 (through September) is 4.4%.
• Manufactured housing is popular for suppliers and buyers in both Humboldt and
Pershing Counties. The popularity indicates the challenge to recruit traditional home
builders for onsite construction.
• There is very low inventory of available homes for sale in Humboldt and Pershing
counties compared to their sales trends. A review of the available single-family homes
for-sale in September 2022 (Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service) showed
10 available units in Humboldt County. Another four manufactured homes were listed.
In Humboldt County approximately 25 homes of all product types are sold per month.
• According to the 2016-2020 American Community Survey, rents in the county have
stayed relatively flat while the median household income for renter-occupied households
have also stayed relatively flat.
• However, the availability of home rentals across all product types is very low in
Humboldt County. An online review of four home-rental websites in October 2022 found
six listings in Winnemucca.
• Workforce households in Humboldt County can afford homes priced between $175,000
and $525,000, and rents between $1,500 and $3,950, depending on industry wages.
Overall, the results from comparing workforce wages, household worker composition,
and home prices show that home affordability in the county is not an impediment to
• A small number of residential developments are currently under construction and about
twice as many are approved for development in Humboldt County. However, in assessing
these developments, a glaring shortfall has been identified in the multifamily product.
Over 40% of Humboldt County’s employees are employed by industries that temporarily
work in specific locations, including mining, transportation, and construction. Since
2000 only 16% of new residential units are of multifamily construction, and there are no
multifamily projects in the immediate pipeline.
• A high of 970 construction employees are estimated for the county in 2025, declining to
560 employees in 2026. These are direct jobs only, as indirect and induced jobs are
expected to be undertaken by existing construction employees in the county.
o Due to the temporary nature of the construction labor, it is unlikely all construction
employees will relocate to Humboldt County permanently, not all employees will be
in the county throughout the year, and not all will require permanent housing as they
may commute or reside in temporary housing (such as RV parks and hotels/motels).
As a result, the actual demand for housing in the county from these employees is
difficult to estimate.
• Based on unsustainably low unemployment rates in the county, the 1,298 permanent
new jobs in the county will be filled by persons moving from outside the county. The
analysis estimates this will result in 733 new families for the county.
o Given low vacancy rates for homes, all new families will require new housing.
o On average, new employees will be able to afford to purchase a home as a single
person at a price of $160,000 and $320,000 for a family. Affordable rental rates range
from $1,400 for a single person to $2,525 for a family.
o Rental versus owner product will depend on availability, affordability, and
Comparisons of current home listings and historical sales velocities show a community
barely treading water in terms residential construction and absorption. Tight supplies in the
housing market is putting upward pressures on rents and sales prices. Industries in rural
Nevada communities have historically cycled through low and high employment levels,
leaving traditional home builders hesitant to risk investments into apartment or subdivision
construction. However, many of the new industries planned for Humboldt and Pershing
counties will not be tied to fluctuating gold prices and will potentially deliver a large
employment base that will require significant housing construction.
In addition to hundreds of new permanent operating employees, current wage levels for the
impacted industries can afford new and existing home prices and rents, alleviating the future
risk to residential builders. As the transition to new industries and employment occurs,
given a current lack of diversified housing product, the priority for residential construction
in Humboldt County should be multifamily housing to provide flexibility and affordability
during the economic diversification.