Apparently, the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe are being rediscovered. Sales for the month of August in the basin jumped by over 20%,from 53 to 65 sales, compared to a year ago. The increase was almost exclusively in single family homes. This occurred while Squaw Alpine dropped by 33% from 12 to 8 sales, and all but one of those were condo sales. Tahoe Donner sales dropped by 28%, from 42 to only 30 sales, evenly distributed between single family homes and condos. The greater Truckee market was nearly identical at 69 sales compared to 70 last year. The distribution of single family and condo sales were also nearly identical to last year. So what is going on? My theory is that for many years Truckee was the lesser expensive market to buy in while the Tahoe basin was out of reach for many. Over the last few years the value difference between Tahoe and Truckee has shrunk and people are seeing reasonable value at the lake again.
I have talked before about the idea that there are lake people and there are mountain people. For many lake people, Donner Lake may not be big and bold enough. From Truckee, you have great access to many bodies of water, but none come even close to what Lake Tahoe offers. While Truckee continues to grow and progress, Tahoe remains much the same as it has been for decades. In some respects, this may be to a fault. While much has changed, most has remained the same. Folks looking for that newer contemporary, upbeat lifestyle are more likely to find it in Truckee. The community in Truckee is active and robust, while Tahoe City is lively at times, it can also be exceedingly quiet. Seeing the increased sales in the basin gives me hope for the return of a Tahoe lifestyle like I experienced when I moved there in 1985. It was a fun, vibrant community filled with many locals.
What is the latest word on the real estate industry?
Most believe we are headed into a time of shrinking sales. Inventory and affordability continue to plague the industry. The question I have and that only time will answer is will we continue to see the appreciation that we have had since 2012. One of the following may happen: the inventory becomes tighter, so buyers will have to pay more or fewer buyers will be able to afford prices to buy, so sellers will have to accept lower prices. As an owner of real estate and an agent, I will wish for the latter. Having said that, I would be okay with a pause in appreciation to allow affordability to rise again. Buyers struggling to afford more than they should make it feel too similar to before the market crashed in 2005. I am a fan of slow, steady, and sustainable growth.