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Record Number of Empty Homes in Nevada | Housing

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Record Number of Empty Homes in Nevada

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's building boom over the last decade has ended in a record number of empty homes.

Newly released Census data shows nearly 168,000 empty houses in the state last year, more than double the number in 2000. In all, the number of vacant homes represents about one out of every seven houses across Nevada.

The data suggests the housing crash forced many Nevadans from their homes. More than 16 percent of Nevadans relocated to other residences within the state in 2008 alone, the highest mobility rate in the nation.

The state also had the highest foreclosure rate in the country in January, and delinquent mortgages are on the rise. The jobless rate is 14.2 percent, and the state's estimated budget gap starts at $1.5 billion.

Realtor Nick Nolf says the supply of homes is actually at a healthy level. The National Association of Realtors says around a quarter of home sales are first-time home buyers, half are repeat buyers and a quarter are by investors.

"The cash infusion coming into the market is paramount because that is going to change the future of Las Vegas as well. When you have that cash coming in to really shore up the Vegas market, it's going to lead to a much more stable future," said Nolf.

UNLV economist Nasser Daneshvary explains that residents can expect a slow recovery beginning two years from now.

"Two percent appreciation every year. But if you have 2 percent appreciation, it will take quite a few years for some neighborhoods to go back to where they were about three years ago," said Daneshvary.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)