Sierra Sotheby’s: Tahoe luxury market defies gravity amid downturn

Special to the Sun-Bonanza
This West Shore lakefront estate at 6900 West Shore Blvd. — represented privately, off-market by Sierra Sotheby's International Realty sold for close to $16 million.
Courtesy |

The Lake Tahoe, Truckee and surrounding area real estate market closed out its third quarter on a high note, despite the National Association of Realtors’ reported dip in the luxury real estate market.

The downturn has been most noticeable across the ultra high-end sector in certain markets such as New York, Miami, San Francisco and Aspen.

While high-end luxury homes prices are losing altitude around the country, Lake Tahoe and Truckee home prices have held steady and volume is up across most neighborhoods.

“Some markets are seeing a slowdown in the high end, but some aren’t,” says Philip White, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, whose company cranked out $80 billion in U.S. sales volume in 2015.

“It is sort of a mixed bag and obviously there is some slowing,” he added, cautioning that ultra-high end sales were a much smaller slice of overall real estate turnover in the U.S.

Tahoe’s lakefront market witnessed that “mixed bag” first hand. Incline Village, Lake Tahoe’s East Shore and South Lake Tahoe all saw third quarter gains in lakefront sales. While the North and West Shore lakefront market dipped by 78%, with 2 recorded lakefronts sold on that end of the lake as compared to 9 in 2015.

In Truckee, Martis Camp continues to defy gravity in the luxury market with 44 homes sold in third quarter as compared to 16 this time last year; a 175% increase in properties sold with a total dollar volume of $186,725,250.

The highest recorded sale was $8,900,000, while the low end registered at $1,795,000. Average days on market for Martis Camp was down from 255 to 165.

On the heels of winter, the slopeside markets saw the best third quarter pickup in years with a 143% jump in sales volume for single family homes at Squaw Valley, 142% increase at Northstar and a 33% jump on Donner Summit/ Sugar Bowl. With new homes under construction and significant proposed development, these will continue to be hot spots to watch in the coming year.

“The Tahoe Real Estate market performs quite differently than the national average and market trends can vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood,” says Brit Crezee, Marketing Director at Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty. “We drill down the data in quarterly reports to help buyers and sellers understand what’s happening in each distinct community.”

“Generally speaking, we’re seeing very robust activity in mid to entry priced properties across of all the markets we serve. And while there has been an increase in transactions, price increases are moderate and less than expected,” added Peter Strand, President of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty. “Traditionally, third quarter is very strong for Lake Tahoe home sales, and this August proved to be our best month on record for our brokerage.”

Citing new data from, experts are predicting a stronger than average fourth quarter with claims that the market could bring the hottest fall in a decade.

“Overall, the fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the traditionally slower sales season, and pent-up demand remains substantial as buyers seek to get a home under contract while rates remain so low,” says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.

“Lake Tahoe Realtors are reporting pent up buyer demand due to a scarcity of desirable homes for sale in the mid to lower end market space,” says Strand. “The lack of supply is curbing the efforts of many prospective buyers.”

For sellers who are on the fence, now may be a great time to list. “The properties that are moving continue to be in the best locations with the best updates and finishes. If sellers aren’t willing to commit to realistic pricing and reasonable staging/updating then we’re seeing more and more agents walk away from the listings,” says Andrew Greenwell, Broker of Venture Sotheby’s International Realty and star of Million Dollar Listing.

Visit to read full market reports from Sierra Sotheby’s.

This article was submitted by Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, with eight office locations throughout Lake Tahoe and Truckee: Incline Village, South Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley, Stateline/Village at Heavenly, Tahoe City Gallery, Tahoe Donner, Downtown Truckee and Tahoe City Lakeside. Visit to learn more.

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