2020: A Banner Year for Tahoe Real Estate

Almost $3 billion worth of real estate changed hands in Tahoe/Truckee & Incline/Crystal Bay last year. For single-family homes, that’s a whopping 87 increase in volume over 2019 – a staggering jump that no one has seen in recent memory, and more than double the gains we saw in 2012, when bargain buying fueled a recovering market.

But there were almost no bargains to be found last year.  Homes that were priced right and showed well received multiple offers and often sold for well over asking. 

A Year for Luxury

The highest demand was for homes priced under $1 million, but luxury sales also soared in 2020. Close to half (45 percent) of the homes that sold in North Tahoe and Truckee last year closed for $1 million or more.

In Incline Village/Crystal Bay, a millionaire’s tax haven where the beaches are all private to homeowners and their guests, homes priced less than $1 million are the minority. Two-thirds of all homes sold there in 2020 went for more than $1 million, and a handful sold for well north of $10 million.

This brand new home on the shores of Crystal Bay sold last summer for $24,850,000.

Here's a short video of the view from the deck when it was under construction:

As with other Tahoe luxury destinations, the volume of home sales in Incline/Crystal Bay more than doubled to $895 million last year, and the median sales price of a single family home rose 12 percent to $1,455,000.

Driving the luxury market were well-heeled buyers seeking a retreat from the confines of their urban environments in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and other big cities.  And they were showing a decided preference for tony gated communities like Martis Camp, with its own lift on the backside of Northstar and a 55,000 square foot clubhouse that boasts his and hers spas, and a heated saline lap pool.

Once the Covid shutdowns lifted, money flowed into Tahoe like water ...

Sales at Martis Camp were close to double what they had been the year before, with 60 homes selling for a total of close to $338 million (almost all of them cash).  The vast majority were sellers cashing out; only 8 were brand new.

On the California side of the Lake, buyers showed a preference for lakefronts priced under $10 million, but it was also a summer marked by low inventory on the California side, with a number of beautiful estate properties only hitting the market in the Fall. The Nevada side of the Lake saw some spectacular estate sales. Over the summer waterfront home sales in both states tripled from they had been the year before.

At Grays Crossing, a golf course community just north of downtown Truckee, sales also doubled from the year before.  Many of the homes there are Mountain Modern, with contemporary finishes and walls of windows. With prices there hovering at or under $2 million for much of last year, Gray’s also represented somewhat of a bargain compared to other golf course communities like Lahontan, where, for much of the summer and fall, it was challenging to get an offer in on anything priced under $3 million.

Rich buyers weren’t the only hallmark of 2020. Seeing the spike in prices, many locals also decided to cash out.

In Glenshire, for example, home sales nearly doubled over what they had been in 2019, and the median price of a family home rose 22 percent to $698,000.  That’s a big jump for a neighborhood comprised of largely full-time families locally employed in Truckee or Reno.

Prosser Lakeview and Prosser Heights, similarly full-time neighborhoods, saw the volume of sales nearly triple from the year before, and the median sales price rose 33 percent to $700,000.  Those who owned their homes for a decade or more saw significant appreciation. 

The same was true for Tahoe Donner, where even those who had owned for just a few years pocketed big gains.  The volume of home sales doubled there, with more than half of all homes selling at – or above – asking, and the median sales price rising to a record high of $815,000.

So where are we headed?

Low inventory and high demand continues to put pressure on the market segment below $3 million, with the greatest number of buyers looking under $1 million. At this writing, just after New Year’s Day, there are only 27 homes for sale in our entire market (including Incline Village) that are priced under $1 million.

Where we go from here depends a lot on the degree to which professionals can continue to work from home, and the strength of the economy moving forward.  New inventory could help balance the market, and the key indicators to watch as we move into 2021 will be sales volume and days on market.

Please call or email me if you would like a personalized valuation of your home or neighborhood. ~ Jackie Ginley 775-391-9443




Posted by Jackie Ginley on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.