Lake Tahoe home sales approach $1 billion in value | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe home sales approach $1 billion in value

Rob Sabo
rsabo@nnbw.biz

Single-family home sales at Lake Tahoe declined 11 percent last year to 1,221 units.

LAKE TAHOE — Home sales last year around Lake Tahoe cooled a bit from a red-hot year in 2013, but even with a dip in overall sales, total sales value still approached $1 billion.

The number of single-family homes sold at Lake Tahoe — 1,221 — decreased 11 percent from 2013, while condo sales dipped 8 percent to 398 units, Chase International reports.

The value of homes that changed hands in 2014 was $985 million, down 8 percent from year-earlier values of $1.06 billion.

Sue Lowe, corporate broker and senior vice president for Chase International, which is headquartered at Zephyr Cove and has offices around the lake, says the dip in sales volume isn't so much an indicator of declining interest in owning property at Lake Tahoe as it is a lack of available inventory.

"In 2013 there was a lot of property changing hands," Lowe says. "In Nevada it was an exceptionally good year with the issues with Proposition 30, and that has somewhat cooled — folks that were redirect to Nevada for tax purposes did so more in '13 than they did in '14."

And though the total dollar amount of sales was down, year-end figures from 2014 don't include some high-end multimillion sales, Lowe notes.

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The median price for all homes sold in Lake Tahoe rose 7 percent to $475,000. The median price for condo sales was up 8 percent to $350,000.

Lowe expects the market and values to remain strong throughout the year based on Nevada's strong economic recovery and the red-hot economy of Silicon Valley and other parts of Northern California.

"As a whole there is more discretionary income now that the economy is recovering," she says. "We are a feeder market to Northern California, and that market is very strong right now. We will continue to see people who want to buy a second home up here and be able to drive up and enjoy Lake Tahoe.

"With our economy strengthening, we are seeing more people come back, especially in the luxury market to buy that second or investment home."

Single-family home sales at Incline Village in 2014 were down 24 percent from the previous year to 195 units, with the median price essentially flat at $885,000.

Two years earlier, however, the median price for single-family homes at Incline Village was $702,000. Condo sales last year at Incline Village were down as well to 150 units, a 19-percent decline. The median price rose 6 percent to $425,000.

South shore of Lake Tahoe was the most active market with 595 single-family homes sold, a dip of 9 percent from 2013. The median price was up 7 percent to $349,000. Condo sales spiked 18 percent to 79 units sold at a median price of $280,000, up 6 percent.

Lowe says that rising home values coupled with dwindling inventory could lead to more teardowns of older homes to make way for new product. Building restrictions at the lake make developing raw land much more difficult.

"The value is in the land and the coverage," she says. "You are only allowed a certain amount of coverage, and if a client wants to buy and tear down (the lot) may be 50 percent covered. For raw land the maximum might be 30 percent.

Coverage includes the overall footprint of a house and anything that covers the land, such as driveways and walkways.