Area rent prices stable, property managers say

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Despite rent increases across most of the West, landlords in North Tahoe and Truckee say residential rent has remained stable to keep housing occupied.

“It is hard to fill up properties when [landlords] are aggressive on the price,” said Tyler O’Neal, property manager for O’Neal Brokers on the North Shore. “People couldn’t afford to live and work here. A lot of owners try to accommodate the renters. They might come down on the rent to get the right person in there.”

A typical asking price is $500 per room, although prices in Tahoe City tend to be higher than in Kings Beach or Tahoma, O’Neal said.

A report released Jan. 18 by Novato-based market research firm RealFacts showed that rental prices rose an average of 4.5 percent in 12 major Western markets last year, with the biggest increases occurring in California.

Although Tahoe and Truckee were not identified in the report, it showed that Reno apartment rents rose 3.9 percent last year with an average of $853 in rent. The most expensive apartments remained in Los Angeles and Orange counties, where the average monthly rent climbed 7.4 percent to $1,567, according to the report.

Oakland resident Jim Coyle, who owns a duplex on Donner Lake and rents out the back half, said he raised his rent by $100 last year only because he upgraded the apartment with new carpet and furnishings.

Area property managers interviewed said that long-term rental prices have gone up a little, but that they encourage landlords, who are mostly second homeowners, to be reasonable with prices because it is expensive to live in Tahoe and Truckee.

“Most of our renters work in the service industry and can’t afford a lot,” said Ken Degney, owner of Assist 2 Sell All Service Realty in Kings Beach and Incline Village. “If you price yourself out of the market, you won’t have anyone.”

Debbie Milani, property manager with Coldwell Banker in Tahoe City, said there used to be a “waiting list of renters” seeking a long-term rental, but that now it takes longer to fill up vacant rentals.

“Our workforce here is dwindling,” Milani said.

Rental prices vary, said Julie Pieper, office manager for the Housing Connection, which keeps rental listings for the entire Lake Tahoe area, Truckee, Sparks and Reno. Pieper said prices for a one-bedroom apartment can range from $675 to $1,125, depending on whether the rental is furnished or not, whether it has a view, and if it includes a hot tub.

Clare Foster, property manager with Tahoe Park Realty, said prices here are “not cheap, but not exorbitant.”

She said most long-term renters leave because of a “change of lifestyle” and not area prices. Rentals range from $750 to $3,000, she said.

Stacy Muffly, 25, keeps two jobs to help pay her share of the $1,100 rent for the two-bedroom Carnelian Bay apartment she shares with a friend.

“I felt like it was expensive,” said Muffly, who moved to Tahoe recently from Telluride, Colo. “But people will pay for the beauty and being close to ski areas and outdoor activities.”

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