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Tahoe-Truckee home sales, markets differ

Reed Saxon/Associated Press
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Got big plans to sell your home? Now might not be the best time to put it on the market.

But, if you’re looking to purchase a home, it’s as good of a time as any, say local real estate officials.

The slide in real estate sales and price levels continues through most of Lake Tahoe and Truckee, marked particularly by the drop in sales volume and median home prices in Tahoe City.



Truckee, on the other hand, was a late entry to the list of communities affected by the downward market pressure. Prices for single-family homes declined, but total sales volume increased nearly 5 percent.

“One reason why maybe sales go up in the Truckee area is because it’s still more affordable,” said Christy Curtis, board president of the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors. “In Tahoe it’s still more expensive.”



Housing inventory plays a role as well, Curtis said.

“The other idea is there’s more development in Truckee ” from the Ritz Carlton to Gray’s Crossing ” maybe delivering more sales for that reason. Truckee really isn’t hurting, that’s for sure ” not compared to the rest of California,” she said.

According to a report from Chase International comparing the first six months of this year to the same period in 2006, the median home price in Truckee dropped 13 percent to $645,000. Meanwhile, volume and units sold rose modestly by 4 and 14 percent respectively.

The number of Truckee homes sold for less than $1 million increased 31 percent, while the sale of homes over $1 million dropped by 37 percent.

Figures for Tahoe’s North and West shores, however, reflected a different housing market than in the faster-growing Truckee region.

“Tahoe is a no-growth area. We have a supply and demand issue,” said Chase International Vice President Corporate Broker Susan Lowe. “Property always continues to appreciate in Tahoe.”

Generally, real estate prices peaked in the first part of 2006 and then have declined over the past year. Throughout the Tahoe Basin, sales volume declined by 8 percent compared to this time last year.

But the demand for high-end lake properties remains.

“The high-end is continuing to be extremely active and there are record-breaking numbers in the high, high end. We are definitely having a normalization in other price ranges,” Lowe said.

Tahoe City took the biggest hit in the first half of this year.

Amplifying the national trend, single-family home sales dropped by nearly 40 percent. Nationwide, sales of new homes decreased by more than 8 percent in August from July, according to Commerce Department reports. At the same time, the median sales price nationwide in August fell by 7.5 percent, the biggest drop in nearly 37 years.

The median sales price in Tahoe City was down this year to $679,000 from $885,000, according to mid-year reports from Chase International, a 23 percent drop.

Agents say the current market looks good for buyers.

“Of course I’m a real estate agent, I’m always optimistic,” Curtis said. “I think it’s a great time to buy … I think any buyer can rest assured they’re getting very good value if they’re buying a home right now. It’s not an investment that’s looked at to flip very quickly, but a solid, long-term investment. I’m telling everyone this is the new normal.”

Lowe said Chase International will release more current numbers in the next week or so.

” The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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