Truckee market buoyed by timeshares, new homes | SierraSun.com

Truckee market buoyed by timeshares, new homes

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunMichael McGinnis, sales manager for Old Greenwood, shows a fractional ownership unit for sale at Old Greenwood Monday. Shares in the properties are popular because of the amenities available for homeowners.

Truckee’s high-end home market has remained surprisingly buoyant throughout a national real estate downturn that has hurt housing markets as close by as North Tahoe.

Sales on multi-million dollar homes were up 56 percent from this time last year in Truckee, whereas the luxury market in Tahoe City fell 33 percent, according to a Chase International first quarter report.

The trend has stumped some real estate experts who have watched other formerly fast-growing areas fall sharply.

“It seems counterintuitive and it is,” said John Falk, spokesman for the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors. “With more construction that occurred in the Truckee region, it should be more volatile.”

However, after analyzing current and past real estate trends, Falk said when the market started to tumble, Truckee wasn’t as effected because property was already undervalued.

“Property in Truckee was still going for rates that didn’t reflect the full expansion of the hot market so when it started to cool, the market wasn’t as impacted,” Falk said.

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Another contributing factor to the rise in Truckee’s multi-million-dollar home market is a growing popularity in fractional ownership, said Carleen Long, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Truckee.

“People are able to buy an over-million-dollar house for $75,000 and own a fraction of the property,” Long said. “They don’t have a lot of fractionals in North Tahoe.”

In addition, Truckee and Tahoe Donner real estate agencies are heavily marketing all-inclusive communities such as Old Greenwood and Northstar where golf courses, club houses and swimming pools are attracting second homeowners, Long said.

“You’re getting more bang for your buck with these huge amenity packages,” Long said.

By contrast, single-family homes priced below $1 million in Tahoe City are up 25 percent while mid- to lower-range home sales were down 37 percent in Truckee, according to the Chase report.

Although the Truckee-Tahoe housing market indicates a mixed bag for the first quarter of 2008, Falk said early indicators are showing positive signs for home sales in both territories for 2009.

“2009 is shaping up to be a year of recovery,” Falk said. “Loans are opening up, interest rates are low and property pricing is at a prudent, shallow climb, which is what we want.”

If all plays out as planned, the last component necessary to replenish the market is consumer confidence, Falk said.

“There’s a reticence to become involved in the market. Many people are asking ‘how far will the market fall?'” Falk said. “But by all accounts, the right time to buy is now.”