January real estate market ‘busy but less frantic’ | SierraSun.com

January real estate market ‘busy but less frantic’

Hannah Jones
hjones@ierrasun.com

With limited inventory on the market pushing prices higher, buying a house in the Tahoe region may not get easier anytime soon with even fewer available affordable options.

Statistics released by the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors showed the median price of 19 single family homes sold in Truckee in January was $785,000. January 2018 saw 30 homes sell in Truckee for an median price of $672,500.

"The first half of last year was incredibly busy," said Kane Schaller of Dickson Realty. So far this year, he said, the market "is still busy, but less frantic."

According to the Tahoe Sierra Multiple Listing Service, the 2018 Truckee market totaled 453 homes sold. The cheapest, Schaller said, was a 900-square-foot, one bedroom, one bathroom home for $325,000. The second lowest was over $350,000 and the 15th lowest was over $400,000.

Compared to last year, there is about 10 to 15 percent more inventory currently for sale — 486 units to 450 in January 2018, throughout the Tahoe region — but not many less than $500,000,

Twenty one single-family homes sold under that amount in January, throughout the Tahoe Sierra MLS region, along with 18 condos, comprising nearly 40 percent of the month's sales.

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Last month in Truckee, just one single family home sold for under $300,000 out of 19 total homes sold. The same was true in January 2018, with just a single home sold in Truckee under $300,000.

"It's a tough market to be a buyer," he said. "When there's not enough to sell and there's a lot of people trying to buy, prices will typically go up. That's what it's looking right now," Schaller said, noting agents are seeing multiple offers on homes.

Condos might be a cheaper alternative, but of the 23 sold in January 2019 just 10 were bought for less than $300,000. Schaller said homebuyers also need to calculate in homeowner association fees that generally come along with condos inside housing communities. In Tahoe Donner, where five condos sold for less than $500,000 — one under $300,000 — in January, those fees could amount to $550 to $600 a month, Schaller said.

Totaling properties sold on the North Shore, West Shore, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, Northstar, Truckee and Tahoe Donner, there were just six single family homes and 10 condos sold for under $300,000 this past month, with seven homes sold at more than $3 million and one home sold at over $10 million.

According to a quarterly report released by Lake Tahoe-based real estate agency Chase International, sales of homes more than $1 million drove the Lake Tahoe real estate market in 2018, pushing the average price of a home sold in the region to more than $1 million for the first time since 2008.

Home sales less than $1 million declined in all communities around the lake except on Tahoe's east shore, according to the report, which saw a 32 percent increase.

According to a 2016 Tahoe Truckee Housing Needs Assessment the average household income in North Lake Tahoe is $67,000. This means a family of four may fall short of purchasing a $500,000 home.

"It's definitely really tough place to live right now," said Schaller. "It's not just housing, everything is expensive up here. Just the cost of living, in general, is a real beast."

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

January Sold Median $

Single family homes

2019 Truckee 19 $785,000

2018 Truckee 30 $672,500

2019 Tahoe Donner 14 $815,00

2018 Tahoe Donner 15 $610,000

2019 Northshore 10 $672,500

2018 Northshore 8 $632,500

2019 Westshore 7 $724,763

2018 Westshore 5 $620,000

Source: Tahoe Sierra MLS