On Your Market: For the love the mountains, outdoors
It is pretty obvious that the Truckee and Lake Tahoe real estate market is driven by visitors and second homeowners. We live in Truckee and Lake Tahoe because we want to. It is not an easy place to live full time as many are remembering as we heave heavy shovelfuls of snow 12 feet into the air to clear our paths and walkways.
With the amount of snow we can get, the higher cost of living and the challenges that we can face are certainly worth considering before calling this region home.
Many locals will cite the volume of second homeowners as the root of our challenges. Without fail we will see references to long lines at Safeway, too many cars on the road and not enough long-term rentals for locals to support themselves and high prices everywhere we look.
We live in a community that has one primary factor driving our economy, tourism. We are a commodity market. We are built around the desire of visitors to play and enjoy our beautiful landscape. It is part of what makes this community as amazing as it is. Without the constant influx of visitors, we would be just another small mountain town that gets too much snow.
When we look at our market there are three primary populations: locals, second homeowners, and visitors. Locals are folks who call this place home full time or nearly full time. We are the ones who work at the local businesses, shop at the local stores and experience Tahoe and Truckee day in and day out.
The visitors are all of the folks who come up for trips. They make up a large amount of our traffic, they spend a good amount of money and help to drive our local economy. For them, they care about what fun they can have and what they can experience when they are in town.
For the second homeowners, they really do have the best of both worlds, they are not only here to have fun and to play but also have large investments in our community. The second homeowners really do drive the economy. Without them buying and selling their homes we would find a lack of work for many industries in our community.
While visitors drive our retail and hospitality jobs, the second homeowners drive much of our skilled labor and other higher paid jobs in our market. The many architects, builders, landscapers, interior designers, and real estate agents are reliant on this population. What makes our market unique and profitable is the second homeowners who call this place home.
So, who is the average second homeowner? Well, for the most part, they are hailing from the Bay Area. As with the majority of our tourism, we see most second home buyers coming up from the Bay. They tend to be connected to Silicon Valley in some way and are often in their mid to late 40s and early 50s. They are driven to our market because of their love for the mountains and the outdoors. Many chased their careers and lived in the city for most of their lives but are finally at a point where they can afford an investment in their preferred community. Second homeowners love our community.
As locals, we have to find a way to be open to the visitors and second homeowners who are making their way to our town. Spending hours in a car and then thousands of dollars at our stores, restaurants, and resorts. We must be open and welcome those who are coming to town to enjoy and participate in our community.