Everything You Should Know Before Moving Or Living In Sparks, NV
Welcome to Sparks, Nevada! Take a breath before you read today’s article because there are many things you will learn today.
Relocating from one place to another or one city to another is always a big hassle. And if you are planning to move to Sparks NV, be sure that a beautiful landscape and right-out-of-novel city await your arrival. But then again, making such a decision takes a lot of work. That is why you must know everything about living in Sparks before you move here.
As NV's famous cities, Sparks and Reno, are from Washoe County, non-Nevadans often confuse Sparks and Reno as the same location. Hence, this article will guide the perks -geography, living costs, employment opportunities, weather, health, transportation, recreation places, and more- of living in Sparks so that the prospective movers can discern the location from Reno.
Living In Sparks, NV - Pros And Cons
Let’s not waste any more time and see whether you might find the sparks you are looking for in Sparks, Nevada.
Why You May Like Sparks, Nevada
- No State Income Tax: The best part of living in Sparks, and all in Nevada, is that there is no state income tax. That is one of the common reasons why many people move here.
- Affordable Housing: Despite high housing costs in some parts, Sparks offers many affordable single- and two-storied housing.
- Amazing Weather: One of Sparks' best parts is its fantastic weather conditions. It has all four seasons, and the temperature is not bad despite occasional snow and blizzards during the winter. But that makes Sparks a better city if you are into snowboarding.
- Growing Job Market: People in Sparks are seeing diversity in the job market here. With the growth of manufacturing, technology, and healthcare, Sparks is a place for job opportunities for many people.
- Wide Range Of Living Housing Options: You can find old and new housing in Sparks. There are options for one or two-storied housing as well. The impressive part is that the city has 55+ gated communities ideal for having a single-storied or retirement home.
- Convenient: Living in Sparks is convenient. No matter where you live, you will always find a hospital not far away, and the freeway is also very close. Also, the town is close to Reno Airport. It also has many options and opportunities for schools and high schools.
Why You May NOT Like Sparks, Nevada
- Higher Living Cost: While Sparks offers affordable living facilities, finding the right place that fits your budget can also be challenging. Though Nevada is a no-income-tax state, you end up paying more for other daily necessities, including education.
- Limited Transportation: Despite being a large city, Sparks only offers limited public transport that travels only on fixed routes. So the best way to get around Sparks is by getting your car. And because there has been population growth in Sparks and Reno over the last several years, it also has a high traffic issue.
- Limited Outdoor Activities: There aren’t many restaurants and bars in Sparks. As a result, if you are looking for a nighttime adventure or fun activities, you need to head down to Reno. Also, Sparks is pretty far from most resorts.
- Desert Area: One of the drawbacks of moving to Sparks is its desert areas. But some parts of Sparks are still charming.
Having acquainted ourselves with the pros and cons of relocating to Sparks, let's dig in more comprehensively into the distinct features and nuances that define the city of Sparks, Nevada.
Location & Geography
Before you move to a new city or area, it is always fascinating to know its geography. So let’s see where this town is located and what the population is here.
Sparks was named after John Sparks, Nevada Governor from 1903 to 1908. The city is situated along the Truckee River at the foothills of Sierra Nevada- presenting wonderful opportunities for the residents to enjoy nature. It has an area of 35.9 square miles (93.0 km2). Most of it, about 35.8 square miles (92.6 km2) is land, while 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2) is water. It means the water area of Sparks is only about 0.47%.
Population Of Sparks, NV
According to the latest US Census Bureau report (2022), Sparks had a population of 109,226. On the other hand, a recent report by World Population Review shows that Sparks has a population of 111,158 as of 2023.
Around 3,103 people live per square mile. So it’s unsurprising that Sparks is Nevada's 5th largest populous city.
As for people living there, Sparks is a city of people of all races and ethnicities. While most of its population is Caucasian, another big part of the population consists of Hispanic or Latino, African-American, people of two or more races, Asian, etc.
Cost of Living in Sparks, Nevada
If you are moving to Sparks or plan to do it, you first need to know the cost of living. So, we have covered some essential areas in the following part.
A median home in Sparks costs about $530,000, 12.5% higher than the average Nevada state housing price and 38.8% higher than the national average. Yet, it is still cheaper than Reno's average median house cost, which can be $610,000.
If you are renting, let’s say, a two-room apartment, the cost can be $1,662 per month. It is also 12% higher than the state average and 16.1% higher than the national average.
Utilities And Bills
Utilities and bill rates in Sparks, Nevada, are around 12% lower than the national average. The average utility bill in Sparks can be $154.8 to $171.1. On the other hand, the national average is $192.98.
The phone bill rate in Sparks can be $119.80 per month. The national average is $166.6.
The combined sales tax in Sparks, Nevada, is 8.27%. The Washoe County sales tax is 3.67%, and the Nevada sales tax is 4.60%. However, there is no applicable special or city tax.
The tax rate in Sparks is 78% higher than in other Nevada localities. But it is 0.115% lower than the maximum Nevada sales taxes.
Cost Of Goods And Services
Goods and services can include various things, such as food, clothing, supplies, etc. The cost can be more or less based on where in Sparks you live and what kind of goods and services you choose. However, most of them cost less than the national average.
Employment Opportunities In Sparks, Nevada
With all the developments around Sparks for its increasing population, it now has growing job opportunities. In 2021 and 2022, job opportunities increased by 3.9%, higher than the national average. You can make an average of $22.75 per hour at a decent job.
Living in Sparks allows the residents to work for top-tier conglomerates - such as Amazon, Tesla, Chewy, Zazzle, Microsoft, Intuit, Polaris, etc.- in nearby Reno. Thanks to the growth in healthcare and technology in NV, you can easily find full-time jobs as RNs, caregivers, R&D officers, technicians, etc. Specifically, Tesla became a top employer of Sparks- hiring a ton of engineers, warehouse workers, and tech executives for their futuristic projects.
You can tutor kids as a part-time professional if you are a student. But there are also various part-time job options in Sparks, such as Store Assistant, Delivery Package Handler, Warehouse Manager for Tesla or Amazon, and other administrative positions at manufacturing and retail companies.
Education In Sparks, Nevada
According to GreatSchools.org, there are more than 100 schools in the Washoe County School District, and Sparks is part of the district. There are at least 66 schools in Sparks alone. We highlighted some significant education information in Sparks in the following part.
Sparks School District has several excellent preschools, elementary schools, high schools, etc. But what are the best ones?
If we talk about the best schools, Van Gorder Elementary School, Alyce Savage Taylor Elementary School, Spanish Springs Elementary School, Yvonne Shaw Middle School, Spanish Spring High School, Sparks High School, etc., are some top-rated ones
You will find at least 11 colleges and universities in Sparks for higher education. There are 3 private and 4 public colleges and universities and 4 community colleges that offer various educational degrees.
The average cost of studying for a 4-year degree in a non-profit academy can be around $9,000 - $20,000 annually. A 2-year online course tuition can be around $1,200 per year.
Alternative Education Options
There are plenty of alternative education options in Sparks, Nevada. For example, the Northern Nevada Teen Challenge at Pyramid Highway is an all-boys private school. It deals with young teenagers at risk of drugs or alcohol, tending to skip school, having anger issues, or suffering from a lack of motivation.
Then, there is the Alpine Academy at Boxington Way. This institution focuses solely on the student’s character development and has a high graduation rate.
And not very far from Sparks is the Truckee Meadows Private School at Edison Way, Reno. It is a private school for all school-aged students. The educational activities here are offered as a part of their therapeutic efforts and help students make decisions toward their goals.
Lastly, I must mention Truckee Meadows Community College. It is a job college that helps job seekers prepare for various job exams.
Healthcare Services In Sparks, Nevada
You will find various healthcare services in Sparks, Nevada, including primary healthcare, dental healthcare, mental healthcare, senior-age healthcare services, nursing homes, etc. Various rehabilitation centers, physical therapy centers, and home healthcare services exist.
Northern Nevada Medical Center
Sparks residents can access state-of-the-art healthcare through Northern Nevada Medical Center on Prater- only 7 minutes away from Sparks. Their new ER in Spanish Springs aids the patients who need instant medical attention: myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack), residential accidents of kids and elderly, and other mishaps.
Moreover, specific services, such as the Inpatient Behavioral Health Program, Stroke Care, Telehealth, and Rehabilitation Therapy, provide distinct care regimes for the Sparks residents.
Sparks Nursing Home
Nevada has at least 20 nursing homes: 6 of them are in Sparks, and the rest are in nearby areas.
The average cost of a nursing home per day for a person is between $133 and $249. And the average price per month is around $4,300 to $7,330.
The cost is slightly higher than the national average. But it is still lower compared to most places in Nevada.
Health Insurance Options
Like many other states and parts of Nevada, Sparks also has various health insurance options and agencies to help you get that. Generally, there are 3 types of health insurance plans:
- HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): It involves choosing a primary care physician or PCP for all their healthcare needs. If you need to visit any specialist, you must check with your PCP and get a referral from the insurance company to cover the cost. The upside of the plan is that there are no deductibles or out-of-pocket fees. However, the downside of this insurance plan is that you may have to choose from a network of doctors as your PCP, and all providers might not accept HMO insurance.
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): PPO is an excellent option for choosing a larger group of providers and visiting specialists without requiring a referral. It is one of the popular choices of people in Sparks, Nevada. The upside of this plan is that the policyholder can choose to visit doctors or specialists who are out of the selected network. However, that would involve payment, co-payment, deductibles, etc. This plan also limits how much you can pay out-of-pocket.
- POS (Point Of Service): This combines HMO and PPO. You choose from a more extensive network of doctors and do not pay deductibles if you visit a specialist even without a referral. However, if you see a doctor outside the network, you may have to pay a higher and more expensive deductible and co-payments. Other than these 3 options, there are also the HRA (Health Reimbursement Accounts) plan, HSA (Health Savings Accounts) plan, and MSA (Medical Savings Account) plan. These plans let you set aside the money by yourself or your employer. Some of these plans are flexible, and the funds are often rolled over to the following year.
Transportation In Sparks, Nevada
Like all other cities in Nevada, Sparks also offers various transportation systems. However, Sparks also has a limitation in transportation and heavy traffic, which require many people to get private vehicles.
Regional Transportation Commission or RTC operates most of the public transport of Sparks and Reno, including the bus transportation services. The buses ride within the city, often connecting Sparks to various cities, including Reno.
These transportation allow you to pay your fare using a fare pass, smartphone app, or cash. You can visit the RTC website to learn more about the fares and fare policies.
Highways And Commuting
Highway: The East-West link (Interstate 80) for various locations to the east, such as Salt Lake City, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Oakland, etc., and connect them to the west.
On the other hand, the North-South link (US Highway 395) for various cities to the north, such as Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles, etc., connects them to the south, under highways and commuting. The most convenient and common entry and exit through Sparks are Pyramid Highway, Sparks Boulevard, and Vista Boulevard.
Other Commuting: The rail communication in Sparks has two major communication organizations that offer excellent service to the passengers. One is the Union Pacific Railroad, and the other is the Amtrak.
For air communication, you can quickly go to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, as it’s not very far from Sparks. It offers commercial air travel services for both domestic and international flights.
Biking And Walking Paths
If you are into biking, you should know that there are 199 cycle routes in Sparks for you to explore. There are lanes on streets only for bicycles. You can also ride them on streets and sidewalks but not in large municipal areas.
And many of them are in hilly-type areas. So, people who like to ride around bike trails prefer the Golden Eagle Trail and the Kiley Ranch South Trail. The preferred months for trailing are May and June.
As for walking, you can safely travel on your feet using the sidewalks. And if you plan to go hiking, Sparks has various hiking trails, such as Sparks Marina Loop, Highland Loop Trail, and other parks.
Recreation And Entertainment
You must do some fun activities to live in a city. That’s why Sparks offers a range of recreation and entertainment options, such as hiking, trailing, skateboarding, arts and music, bars, restaurants, and more.
Parks And Outdoor Activities
If you are looking for fun and adventure outdoors, Sparks Marina Park is the best place for fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, etc. You can also play sports there or just take your paw buddies for a walk.
The next thing on your list should be the Wild Island Family Adventure Park. It is the best place to go with your family and friends. The amusement park is filled with various adventure rides, sports, and games.
Other recommended places are the Damonte Ranch Wetland, Rock Park, Pah Rah Mountain Park, Golden Eagle Regional Park, Kiley Links Golf Course, etc.
Arts And Culture
Learn more about Sparks and its heritage by visiting its art and cultural programs. And for that, make sure to visit the Sparks Heritage Museum. It is full of historical artifacts and will tell you a lot about Sparks.
And then there is Sparks Art Walk. This unique art project showcases various artworks through rotation at Victorian Square in Downtown Sparks. You can scan the QR code provided for each art piece to know its meaning or significance.
Dining And Nightlife
Want to enjoy the nightlife at Sparks? Then, you should head down to Victorian Square, which is pretty much like the Times Square of Sparks, Nevada. Also, there are various bars, casinos, and restaurants around the town where you can have a great time.
One of Sparks' most recommended shopping places is the Outlets at Legends at Scheels Drive. You will find stores of various popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, H&M, Levis, Sephora, and more. Other great places include Sparks Galleria Shopping Center, Pyramid Park Shopping Center, etc.
Climate And Weather
Sparks has had scorching summers and moderate winters, with no days below 0°F in the past 11 years. Make sure to know all about the comfy climate and weather at Sparks, Nevada.
Seasonal Weather Patterns
Sparks do have all 4 seasons. However, the city has a high sunny day record, an average of 253 days per year, whereas the national average is 205 days. November to February is the coldest time, while the hottest time is between July and August.
And it rains from September to May. The snowy period lasts around the same time, from November to March.
Preparing For Weather Extremes
Because a big part of Sparks is a desert area, it often faces dry and drought during the hottest weather. The Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) updates the water supply plant and strategy every 5 years to avoid severe situations. Then, there is extreme snowfall or blizzards, high wind, summer thunderstorms, etc.
The Emergency Management and Homeland Security of Washoe County advises the citizens to stay prepared for the time by securing all loose items and fences around the house, not staying outside or taking shelter immediately, having a backup power supply system, keeping weather alerts activated, etc.
Sparks, Nevada Weather Year Round
Sparks' summer season tends to be hot, and temperatures can rise above 90°F. Summers can reach up to 104°F-105°F, with more common temperatures in the high 80s and mid-90s. Despite daytime heat (104°F-105°F), the nights cool off significantly (fall to 60°F-70 °F)- a significant drop, unlike the nearby Las Vegas. December is the coldest month of Spark; temperature bounces between 25°F-46°F.
About 40% of the rainfall happens during Spring and 13% in Autumn. The rainless period of the year is from the end of May to the end of September. January is the month when Sparks experience the heaviest snowfall of the year.
Real Estate Market In Sparks, Nevada
Now, what about the real estate market in Sparks? What are the housing trends? Should you buy or rent a place? What are the best neighborhoods in the city?
We have answered all these questions in the following part.
With at least 176 homes for rent, Sparks has around 631 active homes listed for sale. Of these, at least 34 new homes and 29 open houses, with 352 homes sold in October 2023.
In Sparks, the residential properties stay an average of 58 days on the market- from the listing to the acceptance of a contract and the closing process. The housing trend for median days has decreased slightly compared to 2022, which is now -2.5%.
Renting Vs. Buying
The question is whether to buy an apartment or house at Sparks. It may seem funny, but we get a lot of questions from movers asking whether it is best to buy or rent at Sparks. And people who moved there over time agreed that it depends on how long you plan to live there.
It is best to rent if you are moving temporarily for job or study purposes. There are many studio apartments to rent at Sparks, including luxury apartments. If saving is your goal, you can find low-cost places to rent.
However, buying an apartment or house is best if you plan to stay there for a long time or move there permanently. As you have read, Sparks offers excellent housing at various price ranges. And with the growing community and development of the city, investing in a home would be the best choice.
Do You Need A Real Estate Agent?
To get yourself the best place in Sparks, Nevada, you must find the best realtor or real estate agency. Whether you are moving for the first time or plan to invest in real estate, I can guide you through everything to get you the best deal.
Best Neighborhoods In Sparks, NV
Everyone wants to live in a good area, which is vital when looking for housing, significantly when raising young ones. Sparks already has 14 neighborhoods, most of which are safe, friendly, and close to schools and shopping centers. Nevertheless, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods in Sparks.
One of the popular neighborhoods in Sparks is Wingfield Springs, which is about a 20-minute drive from Reno, Nevada. Most of the housing there was built around the 90s and 2000s, but you will also find new houses there.
Along with various elementary, middle, and high schools, you will find convenient stores, Starbucks, restaurants, and parks at Wingfield Springs. The drawback of this neighborhood is that it is one of the most expensive in Sparks, Nevada
If you are looking for a small family home or a two-storied house with an oversized garage, Spanish Springs can be a convenient neighborhood. Families with college-prep-age kids move into this neighborhood for Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada- an excellent charter school for high-achieving and gifted children. It has a population of 15,000 and has old and new homes. However, despite being an ideal neighborhood for modern and luxury homes at affordable prices, Spanish Springs has only a few amenities nearby.
D’Andrea is one of Sparks' best and most convenient neighborhoods because it has many amenities nearby no matter where in D’Andrea you live. On top of that, the houses here are not that old. The elementary schools, high schools, and shopping centers are very close here. And the best part is it has a gold court and other outdoor recreational places.
Kiley Ranch has houses built in the early 2000s, but the area is also a growing community with brand-new houses. The price of the housing is average and affordable. The rental homes and apartments are also comparatively inexpensive. And just like most other neighborhoods, Kiley Ranch is also very convenient and has everything you need, including schools and shopping centers.
If you want to settle somewhere in Sparks with a stunning view at an affordable price, the Vista is the best choice. It is the most convenient area because you can access almost every part of Sparks from here within a short time. The only drawback of living in this area, which is on the city's outskirts, is that it offers low cell phone coverage.
Toss anything from Downtown Reno, which will fall right in Downtown Sparks. So the saying goes because they are very close. Downtown Sparks is the most affordable neighborhood in Sparks. Most houses in this neighborhood were built in the 40s to late '90s, so it usually takes longer to sell them.
But there are also new house developments going on in the area. Moreover, schools, parks, restaurants, convenience stores, and more exist.
Retirement In Sparks, Nevada
Sparks is the best place for anyone looking for a retirement home. The city has no tax on retirement income, making it more ideal. Let’s get to know more about it.
Senior Living Sparks NV
For seniors who want to enjoy the elderly age peacefully, Sparks offers various options. The city has communities or living options, especially for people of older age. People can choose to have caregivers or live independently as they wish to. That’s why the city is one of the first choices of many people looking for a retirement home.
Best 55+ Communities in Spark To Buy A Home
As a retiree’s paradise, Sparks appeals to retirees and individuals approaching retirement with a plethora of active adult and 55+ communities. Often, retirees seeking customized homes for their particular medical conditions and family structure; they may find under-construction properties more suitable. Due to the abundance of new and existing constructions, there is something for everyone, and here are two of the top-notch 55+ communities of Sparks:
Villa Toscana would be the perfect choice for individuals loaded with cash searching for a prefabricated property in a renowned neighborhood. The amenities(clubhouse, golf course, nature) of this age-restricted community attracts elder reaching their retirement from all over the US. The prospective buyers can find their forever home from 480 single-family homes ranging from 945 to 2,638 sq ft. Considering the broad spectrum of house layouts (compact and expansive), retirees looking to downsize or upsize can find a suitable property.
Due to the high demand for retirement properties and retirees from FIRE, individuals approaching retirement are seeking houses. However, they often fail because of financial duress and higher mortgage rates. A lower mortgage would be attractive for those close to retirement who haven’t withdrawn the benefits yet.
For instance, Regency at Stonebrook by Toll Brothers offers lower (4.99% and 5.99%) interest rates for the first two years and less than conventional rates (6.99%) for the year 3 to 30- saving $16,296 on the process. So, future retirees can enjoy luxurious single-level homes with community features (pool, fitness center, dog park) without breaking the bank.
Crime Statistics Of Sparks, Nevada
Sparks has a crime grade of C-, with one crime committed every 2.5 hours. The crime rate is surprisingly high compared to the average national crime rate.
But just because the statistic shows a higher crime rate in Sparks doesn’t mean it is the same everywhere in the city. Some parts of Sparks have a lower crime rate than others. It all depends on your location and the environment.
Nevertheless, whether you live in Sparks or any other part of the world, crimes are committed everywhere. So, it is essential for everyone to take precautions, such as installing security cameras and other safety devices around the property and staying safe outdoors.
How far is Sparks from Reno?
The distance between Sparks and Reno is about 4 miles or 6 kilometers. It means driving a car to Sparks from Reno can take 10 to 12 minutes, depending on traffic. However, if you are taking any public transport, it can take 25 to 30 minutes.
Is Sparks, Nevada, an excellent place to live?
Sparks is known to be one of the best places to live in Nevada. It has lovely suburban areas, good communities, education, lifestyle, and healthcare. Also, some of its areas have affordable housing.
Is Sparks, Nevada safe?
Even though Sparks residents face a number of violent crimes every year, the number of crimes is heavily area-dependent. Safety in Sparks tends to increase as you move away from the downtown areas- including Victorian Avenue.
What is Sparks, Nevada, known for?
Sparks is best known for its beautiful places, having lots of historical and heritage places, recreational centers, etc. It also arranges many special events with the slogan “It’s Happening Here.”
Another place that attracts tourists throughout the year is The Sparks Marina, which used to be a gravel area but was turned into a park and recreational place after it was flooded due to a natural disaster.
No matter how much we love living in the heart of modern cities, deep down, we all crave some parts of the countryside. Moving to Sparks-Reno, Nevada, can give you such an experience.
And from the information we shared today, you can see that Sparks are suitable for moving. Other than various job opportunities, you can find affordable homes and neighborhoods that are kid-friendly. Most of the areas are safe and very convenient. From parks to adventure activities, you can do everything here.
On top of that, anyone looking for a retirement home or old-age assistance home has options too. And the best part is that it is a no-income-tax city.
Yes, there are certain drawbacks. But when you look at the beautiful landscape and therapeutic view, it will all be worth it. Nevertheless, go through all the information multiple times if you have to, or contact our recommended realtor for more information.