Recognizing that many local builders believe that negative housing stories in the press kept consumer confidence low during the downturn, the Southern Nevada HBA hired consultants Applied Analysis to forecast the region's housing trends through 2012.

The sound bite from the study: By the close of 2009, there's a good chance that a housing shortage will emerge in Las Vegas, as home builders that downsized in 2007 and 2008 will have a hard time ramping up to meet higher-than-average demand in 2009 and 2010.

"There's no question that we hit a peak in 2005 and we are now well off that peak," said Monica Caruso, director of public affairs for the Southern Nevada HBA, who added that the report predicts strong population and job growth in the region -- growth that home builders must prepare for.

According to the report, growth in the Las Vegas region will stimulate demand for 177,400 housing units between 2008 and 2012, a 13 percent increase over the demand reported during the preceding five-year period, 2003 through 2007.

Demand for new housing will be driven by large new projects such as MGM Mirage's 7.8 billion CityCenter and Turnberry Associate's $2.8 billion Fontainebleau.

One big change is that the mix of higher housing costs in comparison to incomes and tighter lending standards will lead builders to focus on town homes, condos, and rental units.

While single family homes now account for 59 percent of all local housing and accounted for 74 percent of all units built between 2003 and 2007, single-family housing is anticipated to account for just fewer than 58 percent of all new units built between 2008 and 2012.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.