Tahoe real estate: Maintaining the bubble | SierraSun.com

Tahoe real estate: Maintaining the bubble

Sierra Sun/Jean EickLocal foreclosure rates are increasing, but not at the level other communities around Nevada and California are experiencing, according to local real estate professionals.

Nevada: 61,025

Washoe County: 1,297 (1 in 136 units)

California: 384,288

Nevada County: 157 (1 in 317 units)

Placer County: 817 (1 in 177 units)

“-December 2008, from RealtyTrac Inc.


TAHOE BASIN “-Despite California and Nevada topping the list of the states affected by the economic downturn, local real estate agents say the Tahoe Basin has been better protected than other parts of the state.

The two states took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the list of the worst foreclosure rates in the country, according to statistics from RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing service.

But according to local real estate agents in Placer, Nevada and Washoe counties, those record-setting foreclosure rates do not reflect the real estate pockets around the Tahoe Basin.

“There are definitely less foreclosures in our area because we have a clientele that can typically afford the economic changes,” said Kelly Smith, a Century 21 Realtor in Carnelian Bay.

Customers also tend to put a substantial amount of money down when they buy homes, and consequently are not ready to walk away, Incline real estate business owner Chris Plastiras said.

“It’s a lot worse in other places and we’re not going to see a tidal wave of these things,” said Plastiras. “There are not a lot of spec buyers in Incline, and most people put 20 to 30 percent cash down on their homes, something the spec buyers don’t do,” he added.

Though Plastiras said the rate of foreclosure properties is slowly increasing in the area, he generally sees bank owned properties sell quickly, some within a month or two.

John Falk, Legislative Advocate for the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors, agrees.

“It seems to be a relatively consistent situation; however, I’m not hearing about a cascade of problems,” Falk said.

But while the foreclosure problem is not as bad in Tahoe as it is in other areas of California and Nevada, real estate agents are beginning to see the need to cater to “distressed properties” in their listing service.

The Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors approved a field in their multiple listing service database last week that will include properties sold under “distressed conditions,” including foreclosures and short sales, said Falk.

In some areas away from the lake, foreclosure rates are so high that current prices reflect what they were nearly a decade ago.

“There’s a huge difference when you hit Sacramento,” Smith said. “There are so many foreclosures there that prices have stepped back seven years.”

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