Lake Tahoe real estate: Market shows promise heading toward summer
Special to the Sun-Bonanza
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Snowy weather in March gave Lake Tahoe’s real estate market a late winter boost, bringing with it an influx of tourists who might be interested in purchasing property.
An upward trend continues around the Lake Tahoe region, too, as families scramble to secure a location for next year’s snow season.
With the rental market selling out fast and rental rates skyrocketing, purchasing a home has become a reasonable option. However, prospective buyers will still find home prices slightly elevated.
The South Tahoe Association of Realtors group reports the median price for a single-family dwelling on the South Shore increased by 5.7 percent, listed at $370,000 in February 2016 and $350,000 in February 2015.
A brighter weather outlook contributed in part to the improved numbers since extended dry conditions last season produced lower-than-average sales and undervalued homes.
Tahoe Mountain Realty reported that Lake Tahoe regional sales exceeded $1 billion for the third consecutive year.
Home prices vary by neighborhood, so it is wise for buyers to do a thorough due diligence before making home purchasing decisions, according to Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty experts.
Because of the unique nature of Lake Tahoe’s real estate market and the dramatic variations that can occur between neighborhoods, it is important buyers know regional trends and are schooled in micro-market data.
For example, the Tahoe Keys neighborhood holds a significant lead in South Lake Tahoe’s market with a median selling price of $825,000 in February 2016, up 17 percent from one year ago when its median was $705,000.
The North Upper Truckee neighborhood boasted a median selling price of $532,000 in February 2016, previously $492,500, an increase of 8.1 percent.
Montgomery Estates and Echo View Estates came in at $495,000 (up from $480,000) and $420,000 (up from $409,000) respectively — a 3.1 and 2.7 percent increase.
There was also a notable 16.7 percent increase in value in the Al Tahoe neighborhood. The median selling price in February 2016 was $350,000, up from $300,000.
NORTH SHORE NUMBERs
A rosy picture is additionally revealed in Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty 2015 year-end micro-market report for the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, with especially good news for single-family lakefront properties.
A significant 32 percent jump was reported for the median price in this market, bringing it to $3,800,000. Non-lakefront single-family dwellings increased 6 percent to $525,000.
West Shore’s lakefront single-family property increased 57 percent with a median of $5,250,000, while non-lakefront single-family homes were listed at $550,000, a 7 percent uptick.
Alpine Meadows was up 22 percent to $705,000 for a median single-family home, but Squaw Valley dipped in single-family homes and condos — $1,350,000, down 11 percent, and $450,000, down 17 percent, respectively.
The Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors 2015 sold price analysis listed median single-family home prices for Northstar, Truckee and Tahoe/Donner at $800,000, $500,000 and $585,000 respectively.
NEW LUXURY DEVELOPMENT
New construction is additionally on the rise, with a boost in activity not seen in over 10 years.
South Lake Tahoe’s Zalanta Resort At The Village is part of this surge. Zalanta is distinguished as the first new luxury condominium project to be built in Lake Tahoe in 30 years.
Its sales campaign was launched in January with the release of Phase 1, that offers 30 units with prices beginning in the high $800,000 range.
Mike Dunn, Zalanta’s listing agent said, “There is nothing like this in the entire country. It’s definitely a standout offering for all of Tahoe.”
Hundreds of other new builds have been recorded in various Tahoe-Truckee locations including Mountainside at Northstar, Martis Camp, Schaffer’s Mill, Gray’s Crossing Lahontan and Old Greenwood.
The luxury housing market is unique and thriving as well. President and CEO Philip White of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty believes it is healthier than it was before the 2008 crash.
“It’s less erratic and the long-term value is even stronger,” he said, because luxury property shoppers are less influenced by interest rate fluctuations or market instability because many are cash buyers.
‘THERE IS BUYER INTEREST’
Jeff Hamilton, a Sierra Sotheby International Realty broker, commented on current lakefront property trends.
“The biggest market shift showed increased activity on the West Shore combined with the decreased activity on the North Shore as buyers searched for ‘deep-water’ functional piers,” he noted. “We expect that water level will play a less important role in determining which properties are being sold if storms continue.”
Incline Village agent Lexi Cerretti reported that Incline Village experienced a sizeable increase in sales volume in 2015.
“There is buyer interest, especially for building opportunities as well as newer construction or remodeled homes,” she said.
Martis Camp leads in luxury property value with an average selling price exceeding $4,600,000.
The South Lake Tahoe condo/townhome market experienced a decrease of 3.5 percent with a median sales price listed at $275,000 in February 2016 down from $285.000. There’s been a slight monthly decrease in this market since July 2015 after experiencing 22 months of consecutive increases, South Tahoe Association of Realtors market analysis revealed.
It’s important to note that prices are affected by many factors, including changes in characteristics and sizes of homes sold as well as volume of sales.