Buyers are back in the driver’s seat in the Tahoe/Truckee real estate market.
With more homes to choose from, and fewer buyers leaping at new listings, sharp pricing became key for sellers this summer. Homes that were strategically underpriced continued to receive multiple offers, but roughly half the homes in any given market lowered their asking prices to make a deal.
In a new twist on the summer market, high-end buyers gravitated away from Lake Tahoe and toward Martis Camp. The tony gated community at the base of Northstar’s Lookout Mountain saw 10 homes change hands so far this summer (more than half of them at or over asking), and the median sales price there edged over $6 million.
Lakefront sales, by contrast, stalled this summer, with just two homes selling on the West Shore (both priced under $10 million), none on the East Shore, and one in Incline Village — a home on Highway 28, sandwiched between two condo complexes, that previously sold in 2020 for $7 million and fetched $11.4 million this summer.
Inventory is up around the lake, with four lakefront estates to choose from in Incline and Crystal Bay, and nine beautiful properties on the East Shore varying from $55 million for the Wovoka Estate (nearly 5 acres set in a turquoise cove) to a handful of homes in the $10 million to $15 million range.
From the North Shore stretching down to Rubicon Bay, there are 15 lakefronts for sale, more than half of them under $15 million.
For Tahoe/Truckee locals, the summer brought a little relief from the price wars that characterized much of the past two years. While the median price of home ownership continues to hover just over $1 million, close to half of the homes sold in Truckee’s more full-time neighborhoods this year were under that bar, including a handful in the $550,000 to $750,000 range.
Glenshire, the Armstrong Tract, and Sierra Meadows offered affordable options, while vacation home communities like Tahoe Donner continued an upward pricing momentum despite slower volume.
Sales volume in Tahoe Donner was down roughly $20 million over last summer’s pace. But the median price of a home there inched up to $1,155,000.
The communities rimming the lake on the California side saw a dip in both pricing and the pace of sales. Volume was roughly half of last summer’s high, and the median price fell to $1.1 million, with 40% of homes closing under $1 million.
The opposite was true for Incline Village, which saw only about half as many homes as last summer sell, but at higher prices. The median sales price in Incline rose almost 40% to $2.6 million this summer compared to the same period last year.
As we roll into a post-Covid reality that involves concerts and dining out, the most notable change in Tahoe real estate is that there is simply more of it to choose from than there has been in three years. As of this writing, there are more than 250 homes for sale in all of Tahoe/Truckee, more than 100 in Incline, and another 50 on the East Shore stretching from Glenbrook to Zephyr Cove.
That’s in sharp contrast to last summer, when, on any given weekend, there were little more than a handful of homes to show buyers in any given market.
During the Covid lockdowns, homes seemed to fly off the shelf so fast that many sellers who didn’t reach high on price were leaving money on the table. This summer, over-reaching led to price reductions.
As we move into fall, typically a slower season for Tahoe/Truckee real estate, buyers are in a better position to negotiate a deal here than they have been in three years.