Lake Tahoe real estate is suddenly becoming a commodity available mostly to those who can afford to spend more than $1 million. Luxury sales tripled at the Lake in the first six months of this year, and the median sales price climbed to an unprecedented $1M, a 44 percent jump from the year before.

But most surprising is that for the first time ever, many areas of Lake Tahoe and Truckee saw more homes selling for over $1 million, than under. Last year at this time, for example, luxury sales represented just one-third of the overall sales at the Lake. And this year so far, homes priced over $1 million outpaced more affordable properties.

Lake Tahoe Real Estate

real estate tahoe

From January to June this year, 383 homes closed at Lake Tahoe for $1 million or more. That's more than three times as many as last year at this time. And surprisingly, luxury sales outpaced sales under $1M not just at the Lake, but in communities like Truckee, and even Tahoe Donner, which has long been one of Tahoe's more affordable resort communities.

By the end of June, 70 homes had sold in Tahoe Donner for more than $1M (compared to just 56 homes under $1M). That a whopping 367 percent increase over this time last year, and it represents a new trend for this community in the hills above Truckee. *The home below set a new record in Tahoe Donner, closing for $2.95M cash. Only 12 homes have ever sold in Tahoe Donner for more than $2M, 10 of them from 2020 to today ... 

Tahoe Donner Home Sold

The uptick in luxury sales was even more pronounced in affluent areas around Lake Tahoe. In Incline Village, for example, the first half of the year saw only 13 homes close for less than $1M, while luxury sales there doubled from what they had been last year (112 homes sold for over $1M).

Incline wasn't the only community to see this new trend. On the North and Westshore, only 71 homes closed for less than $1M. That's a 25 percent decrease from the year before, while luxury sales there quadrupled. The East Shore also saw a 17 percent drop in the number of homes selling for under $1M, but luxury sales there tripled.

The tipping of the scales toward higher Tahoe price tags is definitely a new phenomenon. And if it continues, the average homebuyer could well be priced out of the Tahoe/Truckee real estate market.

But will it continue?

That's the question on many minds right now. As a broker in both California and Nevada, I have the opportunity to work with buyers and sellers from all walks of life. Some of my clients -- even those working professionals with two-income households -- are frankly out-priced and outgunned in today's Tahoe real estate market. (It's hard to compete with well-heeled cash buyers who are comfortable removing contingencies with an over-asking offer.)  Others with some cash to spare are sitting on the sidelines, fearful that they might make a mistake by buying at what's perceived to be the height of the market.

But there is another trend at play. Covid, for all its pain and death, has inspired many to rethink their lives and their work. And this shifting of priorities has inspired some people to choose lifestyle over money.  That tips the question of: "Am I overpaying" on its head because the inverse of that is: "What's a year of my life worth?"  And if I can enjoy it in a place like Tahoe, why not spend more?

We are not seeing the sort of panic-driven buying we did last summer, when the Covid shutdowns were first lifted.  Inventory increased dramatically this summer, and that's helping to balance the market. (Some weekends last winter, there were little more than a handful of homes to show on many a weekend)

It's a shifting market that does not support price gouging, but homes that are priced right and show well are still receiving multiple offers in a matter of days. With the median sales price hitting unprecedented highs in many communities -- $1 million at the Lake (a whopping $2.1 million in Incline Village), $1.2 million in Truckee, and a little over $1 million in Tahoe Donner -- one does wonder what the market will bear moving forward ...

Stay tuned ... I'll update you when we close out the 3rd Quarter!

Click here for the Full Tahoe/Reno Mid-Year Market Report









Posted by Jackie Ginley on


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