Las Vegas does not have the endless suburban options of a more traditional metropolis, but there are two other cities in the Vegas Valley – Henderson and North Las Vegas – that homebuyers may want to explore. While there aren't considerable differences in laws or taxes between the burgs, each still offers something unique.
Henderson – Family-Friendly
If the thought of living in Sin City makes you uncomfortable, consider Henderson. Located southeast of Las Vegas, Henderson draws families with its low crime and good schools.
Laura Harbison, broker and salesperson with Realty Executives of Southern Nevada, decided to live in Henderson in part because of the schools. “I have seven kids, so a lot of my concern was narrowing down which handful of schools would be good,” she says. She adds that residents can take advantage of the city's many family events and community centers.
Potential buyers may be concerned that Henderson is too far from the Strip, but even if you are a bit farther from nightlife, you may be closer to other important destinations. Harbison says buyers often decide to live in Henderson because “they like the proximity and ease of getting to the airport.”
In addition to being family-friendly and easily accessible, Henderson is “a very pretty city,” according to Harbison. There are many tree-lined streets and beautification projects that make the area feel less like the desert. For buyers who decide on Henderson, “it feels more like a hometown to them than Las Vegas does,” she says.
North Las Vegas – a Good Value
According to Tania Michaels, Realtor and team owner with Keller Williams Realty, decisions to purchase a home in North Las Vegas are “mostly price-driven.” You're able to purchase a larger house with more features for less money north of the Strip.
Many buyers decide to purchase a home in North Las Vegas because of the planned community Aliante. Another planned community, which is one of the most popular and largest planned communities in the Valley, is Summerlin on the west side of Las Vegas, but Michaels notes, “The way [Aliante] looks right now, it rivals Summerlin and is a much better price.”
Michaels also says Aliante is one of the best places in the Valley to buy a new single-story home with a three-car garage. “People love them. They are 2,500 square feet with big lots and RV parking, in a gated, master-planned community, next to a park that is gorgeous, and within minutes of the freeway,” she explains.
Like Henderson, North Las Vegas is farther from the city center, but I-215 makes it relatively easy to travel across town. North Las Vegas may not have the lush greenery of Henderson, but there is plenty of wide open space. “You go out there, and you can really appreciate the desert,” Michaels says.
Las Vegas – Something for Everyone
High-rises, midcentury modern homes and planned communities – Las Vegas offers a home for every lifestyle, and pretty much every ZIP code in Las Vegas is a short drive from the Strip. Compared to the rest of the Valley, downtown Las Vegas in particular provides the most dining and entertainment options within walking distance (unless you buy a condo on the Strip).
Summerlin is very popular with buyers currently, according to Enzo Varela, broker with Precision Realty, in part because of the recent completion of Downtown Summerlin, an outdoor shopping center. “You can be in your own little bubble and not have to leave. You have everything you need, including major shopping, and people think the schools are nicer,” Varela says.
Another offering unique to Las Vegas is classic architecture and original Vegas neighborhoods. “Within the city, there are the '40s, '50s and '60s homes that are getting quite popular with newer buyers. There is this old charm that you definitely won’t find in Summerlin. You may find it in Henderson, but it won’t be the same setup,” Varela says.
Ultimately, experts agree that picking the best location starts with understanding what you need. For example, do you have to be close to the airport and a great public school, or is being near a casino most important? After you have a list of your must-haves, share them with your agent.
“It may sound like a good idea to be in Summerlin, but if most of your activities are towards Henderson, then maybe you should be in Henderson,” Varela says. “I try to gear people towards being more logical. Make a decision based on what you actually use.”
Looking for a real estate agent in Las Vegas? U.S. News' Find an Agent tool can match you with the person who's most qualified for the job.