LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — When you sell your house to cash in the current housing market, you better have a plan.

Home prices in Las Vegas have started to come back down, and the number of houses available on the market has increased. People who have thought about selling might be thinking if they don’t sell now, they might miss the opportunity to make a big profit.

You have to live somewhere, and unless it’s your mom’s basement, you’re either looking at another house payment — or rent. And if you haven’t heard, rents have gone way up.

If you’re planning on an apartment, the Nevada State Apartment Association (NVSAA) says 7.3% of apartments are available — about 12,000 statewide. The average rent is just over $1,400, but that depends on a lot of things. The majority of apartments under construction are aiming at the top of the market.

For existing apartments, the rent averages $1,673 per month for “4 and 5 Star” units. The middle of the market is priced lower, with rents averaging $1,365. And for “1 and 2 Star” units, you’ll pay an average of $1,016. Those figures are updated regularly by NSAA. A recent report said 27.8% of tenants in Nevada have seen rent go up $250 or more in the past 12 months.

NVSAA Interim Director Susy Vasquez said, “Typically, we advise beginning your apartment search at least 30 days in advance.”

Figure in the cost of a storage unit if you’re downsizing — and you’d better look for a storage unit ahead of time, too.

Getting information about rental houses isn’t as easy, but moving from owning a house to renting usually doesn’t net big savings.

That leaves another option: relocating. It doesn’t make sense for everyone, but retirement or changing jobs could be reasons to move.

Las Vegas ranked No. 21 in a comparison of housing prices in major cities. The top metro areas were all in California: San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim and San Diego/Carlsbad, with Colorado’s Denver/Aurora/Lakewood in fifth place.

Las Vegas has been an attractive alternative for Californians because home prices here are much lower. But where can Las Vegas residents go that makes sense? A new study suggests the answer isn’t in the West.

Hawaii, California, Colorado and Utah are all far less affordable than Nevada, according to a study by ConstructionCoverage.com that compares states by home prices and earnings potential. The study looked at the median salary for construction workers and the median home price, then calculated how many hours someone would have to work to afford a home in each state, assuming that a worker would spend no more than 30% of their income on housing.

In the Las Vegas/Henderson/Paradise metro area, a construction worker making $23.17 per hour would have to work 66 hours a week to make enough money to bring housing costs down to 30% of their earnings.

For Nevada overall, that number is 67 hours per week, according to the study. Nevada ranked No. 8 overall. West Virginia, Illinois, Oklahoma and Iowa had the most affordable housing.

The nearest states with significantly lower home prices were New Mexico and Wyoming.

Nevada, Montana, Arizona and Oregon were about equal in terms of affordability.