Mesquite Nevada’s Sunny Future

Mesquite Nevada, is it at a crossroad?

“Will I Have Enough Money in Retirement?”

Very few baby boomers have not given this question considerable thought.

Mesquite can continue down the path set some years back as a high end, wealthy, golf, and gaming lifestyle community with great weather. Mesquite did a good job of this, but times are changing. The market has changed. For those claiming credit for Mesquite’s booming past, the truth is it had a great deal to do with market timing, funny money, and the Palm Springs hype.

The high-end housing market is a very competitive and a shrinking market. New homes being built today continue to get smaller nationally. While Mesquite has focused on expensive HOA’s, gated neighborhoods, streetscapes, and image our competition is focusing on future cost saving efficiency and sustainable living.

Even a free and clear home is not free to live in, homeowner association costs, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities all go on forever.

The boomers are just starting to retire this year and will be retiring at a pace of 8000 to 10,000 per day for the next nineteen years. These retirees are Mesquite’s future target market.

Besides their recent asset value losses and reduced personal net worth, they are concerned about future health care costs, pension stability, social security, debt, inflation, and their future cost of living. There is 2.5 Trillion in pension funding owed today, who will pay this, Bankrupt States, Municipalities, Unions, the Federal Government? Are you willing to gamble your future on the stability of this debt? Or is your future already depending on it? Will our legacy for our children and generations beyond be that they will live with a lower standard of living, and we were a generation of extravagant, wasteful, fools?

For most, they grew up thinking real estate had little or no risk. The reality that there is downside risk in real estate has hit them, as a generation, hard.

We all know a huge percentage of the Boomer generation has not saved enough money.

Looking forward, some of the most relevant results of the recent past will be the way they view their money. Their attitude about debt. Their attitude about investing in residential real estate has fundamentally changed. It is no longer viewed as a quick way to wealth; rather it is where they live. They have also realized that leverage or debt has plenty in common with a margin account used for trading stocks. Gambling with borrowed money. They have become far more cautious and conservative. Finances in most cases will dictate their lifestyle choices, including where they will live.

Objections, obstacles, and adversities create opportunities. They are nothing more than problems to be solved. Remember IBM thought the Personal Computer was a Stupid Idea! They ignored the future at their own peril. 

Yet not a single home builder in Mesquite offers a solar application of any kind in a standard package. They do not talk much about orientation to the sun or solar applications. Mesquite homebuilders took out 201 new home building permits in 2010. How many do you think are properly solar oriented?

Innovation and technology like shared geothermal systems for heating and cooling entire neighborhoods and solar energy are the future. Do you think electricity costs are going down? Have you heard about cap and trade? 

The level of consumer awareness about home energy consumption costs will continue to rise. It will become a higher priority for many future home buyers. Solar orientation has as much to do with cooling in the summer as it does with warming in winter months. Your home’s energy efficiency will eventually affect your homes value.

Undeveloped subdivisions platted and being re-platted and approved by The City of Mesquite meet many requirements, but no consideration is given to home site solar orientation. This will not happen without The City of Mesquite’s support. The City of Mesquite will need to take the lead and be committed. The home builders will not just do this, land use density or maximizing the number of homes they can build on a parcel of land will prevent them from laying out lots for maximum solar exposure.

Overton Power offers a Power Purchase Agreement to individuals. While this is becoming more common, it is not available in all markets.

This is not about “Green Thinking” rather smart financial planning for the future and marketing.

Solar applications such as home orientation, glass exposure, and overhang design do not necessarily increase cost to build. Yet they save money each month forever.

The systems to generate electricity and heat water add to initial cost, but right now, there may be numerous incentive and rebate programs, stimulus money!

Today for the most part, Mesquite looks like an example of how to best not utilize the sun’s power at all! 

Are there any new solar oriented homes in Mesquite’s future? 

Would people visit Mesquite just to see a solar home neighborhood?

Could Mesquite become a shinning example, attracting national attention?

Would affordable solar homes in Mesquite stimulate economic development? 

Are there solar oriented subdivisions in Mesquite’s future?

Ignoring the concepts of affordable self-sustaining housing as Mesquite grows is like ignoring the fact that the Baby Boom Generation are really retiring. Proper solar orientation keeps homes cooler during the hot summer, permanently reducing the need for expensive air conditioning.

As I see this, we can either lead or follow. It is a conscious choice that the people of Mesquite should discuss and provide feedback to The City of Mesquite. To be “solar certified” would require changes to existing building codes, and powerful tract home builders and developers will likely oppose any changes. Is Mesquite economic development moving in the direction you would like it to be?

The truth is home building technology has not changed much in fifty years. If not properly oriented an energy star rated home can still cost plenty to heat and cool. The sun can help change this.

Vacant land cost basis, five subdivisions sold, all up in the newer Mesquite Heights/ Canyon Crest area. They were a total of 223 acres and sold combined for $2,650,000 or $12,000 per acre. If the builder puts six homes per acre, that is an average cost basis of $2,000 per lot. This is deleveraging in action, lowering cost basis. Infrastructure and grading costs could bring this cost basis up to $30,000 per lot. This could be why only three single-family resale lots sold in 2010 with a median price of $71,000, per Mesquite MLS.

Real estate building and development can become the economic engine for Mesquite again. The target market may have changed, dictating innovation and product change. We must look forward and adjust to the new realities.

Old style conventional home builders in Mesquite have been too slow to embrace this land use and building concept. In my opinion, Mesquite’s future is far too important to leave it to builders and land developers to lead Mesquite into the future.

Is the type of Mesquite’s future land development, home building and growth an election issue? 

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