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Real Estate Market Rebounds

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The real estate market in Tahoe/Reno is showing impressive gains over this time last year, with median home prices up 42 percent in Tahoe and 33 percent in Reno, according to a report released this month by Chase International.

The median home price in Tahoe (including Truckee and the ski areas) rose to $439,000, up from $310,000 this time last year. Tahoe's East Shore saw even more impressive gains with the median price at $675,000, up 69 percent from a year ago, according to Chase's analysis.

“Sales in the upper end of the market have been phenomenal,” said Susan Lowe, Chase's corporate vice president. “Usually we have a handful of sales that push the numbers in a certain direction, but there’s been an incredible demand for high-end homes in recent months with buyers realizing we hit the bottom of the market and are headed back up.”

Sales of homes priced over $1 million are up across the spectrum. In Truckee, Incline Village, and Reno, sales of upper-end homes more than doubled over this time last year. Surprisingly, real estate agents are also seeing multiple offers on some of these pricier properties.

One Tahoe Donner home priced at $948,000 recently received multiple officers, according to Truckee agent Carmen Carr. Despite rising interest rates, Carr says some buyers who have the means to pay with cash are still finding it makes financial sense to leverage with borrowed cash.

The median price of a home in Truckee is now about $493,000, slightly higher than Tahoe City's median of $441,500, and little more than half of the median price in Incline, which is $925,000 this year, Chase reports.

In Reno, the sale of homes priced less than $1 million continues to be brisk, with the median price at $214,700, up 38 percent from this time last year.

Low inventory and high demand in the mid-market has driven price increases, realtors said. The spike in demand has also been a boon to the construction market.

In Truckee, for example, applications for new residential building permits hit an all-time low of just 12 in 2011. By June 30 of this year, applications for new housing starts in the town are up to 53, which are 15 more than all of last year.

The rebounding real estate market is good news for Placer County, which is seeing the increased values reflected in the property tax roll. The county's 2013 assessment roll increased a little more than 6 percent over last year.

"The increases in value have primarily been focused on residential properties where the strongest real estate market recovery has taken place," said Placer County Assessor Kristen Spears.

Placer County homeowners who have enjoyed property tax rollbacks under Prop. 8 could be bracing for increases of more than 2 percent this year. (The 1979 law allows property owners to petition for a reduction in taxes if market value has fallen below a home's assessed value.) The county has launched a campaign to explain why this is not a violation of California's Prop. 13, the 1978 tax initiative that limited property tax increases to no more than 2 percent per year. For detailed information, visit the Placer County website and click on the video entitled "How Property Is Assessed."

Nevada County has not seen similar gains. The 2013 tax roll is up a little less than 1 percent over last year, but Assessor Sue Horne says she expects that figure to increase with continuing gains in the real estate market this year.

"We've seen improvements from January to now," she said, noting that because property taxes are billed in arrears, the roll doesn't yet reflect this year's real estate rebound. "But Nevada County is not Placer."

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September 13, 2018