Sierra Sotheby’s International Releases 2019 Year End Market Report

2019 was another good year for Lake Tahoe, Truckee and the surrounding area real estate markets with Northern California and Nevada resort properties continuing to be a popular investment.

The allure of the lake, California’s outdoor lifestyle and Nevada’s tax friendly climate continued to attract buyers and second homeowners across all price points while demand remained high for quality, move-in-ready homes.

The year ended strong with a robust winter kick-off. “Agents are busy showing which tells us buyers are out looking,” said Camille Duvall, Vice President, Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty. “We saw a lull at the beginning of Q3. Now buyers are taking a serious look at the inventory that hasn’t sold. The caveat? The price must be right. Katherina Haug, North Lake Tahoe-based realtor with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty echoed that sentiment. “I’m seeing more active listings this winter than I’ve seen in previous years. Active buyers are coming up, regardless of snow. People tend to hibernate during the winter, but the market seems to be very active still for winter.” With the continued activity, Haug anticipates heading into Q1 with more single-family sales than past years. “Condo sales always excel in the winter, but single-family should keep on pace,” she said.

Looking back the overall market revealed a mixed bag with slight ups and downs depending on the neighborhood of interest, however, total volume sold and sale prices were fairly on par with numbers from 2018.  With a new decade comes an active and balanced market for both buyers and for sellers who price their homes according to what the market will bear. 

Incline Village

It was a banner year for the Incline Village lakefront and luxury real estate market. Four lakefront homes and one mountainside estate sold for more than $10 million in 2019 compared to just three sales over $10 million in 2018. “There is very limited lakefront inventory, and the ultra-high-end buyers rely on agents to find these niche properties before they come to market,” said Lexi Cerretti, an Incline Village-based agent with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 2019 lakefront condo market was especially robust with a 23 percent increase in the total dollar volume sold. On average, lakefront condos spent nearly half as many days on market compared to last year.

Incline Village and Crystal Bay home sales below $2 million took a hit in 2019 with 39 fewer sales and $37 million less in sales volume. “The other price ranges were consistent from year to year, both in sales volume and number of sales, telling us some buyers have been priced out of the market,” said Cerretti.

Overall, the Incline Village market ended the year with an average sale price of $1,825,513 and a median sales price of $1,295,000 with the highest sold price of $24.5 million

East Shore: Glenbrook, Zephyr Cove, Stateline

The East Shore market was down slightly overall from last year in terms of the number of transactions and both the median and average sale prices. The biggest decrease was seen in the lakefront market with a 60 percent decrease in the number of properties sold and a 69 percent decrease in the total dollar volume sold. Properties spent 225 less days on the market on average indicating that lakefront inventory is low.

The micro markets of Skyland and Glenbrook were bright spots, each seeing sales above $5 million. Zephyr Cove/Round Hill also saw big increases with 50 percent more homes sold in 2019 compared to 2018 and a 79 percent increase in the total dollar volume sold.

Truckee

Overall single-family home sales in Truckee were down slightly in terms of the number of properties sold and the total dollar volume sold. A $13.6 million dollar sale helped bring the median price up two percent to $752,900 while the average price fell four percent to $1,201,520.

Kaili Sanchez, a Truckee-based realtor with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty is experiencing multiple offers on homes for people wanting to relocate to the area due to the low inventory. “Many people are considering increasing their purchase price due to lower interest rates and the option to work remotely. Whereas three bedrooms used to be the magic number, I’m now finding more people require four bedrooms or a bonus or flex space.”

Sam Swigard, a Northstar-based realtor with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty has also seen higher demand for four-bedroom homes, especially in Glenshire. Additionally, he says buyers are acting on homes that are updated and turn-key versus those needing work. “Homes that need work experience more days on market even in the $500,000 range.”

Glenshire saw a 40 percent increase in the number of properties sold and a 23 percent increase in the total dollar volume sold.

Buyers are acting quickly on newer and more modern inventory in the Village at Northstar. “Overall, modern architecture and modern remodels are outpacing mountain lodge style homes,” said Swigard. 

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe single family lakefronts saw a massive increase this year. The two properties sold last year totaled $1,715,000 while the 11 properties sold this year totaled $32,141,500.

Total non-lakefront sales volume in South Lake Tahoe was up by seven percent, however, several niche markets such as the Tahoe Keys outpaced 2018 sales despite much ambiguity surrounding the short-term rental market.

Overall, we saw an eight percent decrease in the number of sales but a nine percent increase in the average sales price to just under $600,000.

Reno-Sparks/Carson Valley

According to Phil Reed, a Reno-based real estate professional and broker with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, the greater Reno-Sparks market continued to hum along in the fourth quarter, albeit at a more “normalized” pace. “The lower price points in Reno’s northwest and southern neighborhoods have experience longer than usual days on market, but that could also be more representative of this time of year,” said Reed. “Our mid-range, which could be considered anything priced in the $500,000-$800,000 price range has remained strong, with four to six percent price increases in the higher end West Southwest, South Suburban and Southwest Suburban neighborhoods.  

According to Reed, Californians looking to move their primary residence to Nevada have been forced to slow down their Nevada home search due to the slower pace of sales in their primary California neighborhoods. “Most are families or Baby Boomers and typically they have to sell elsewhere before they can buy. Looking ahead we are likely going to see a big push in the early part of the year from those looking to relocate and establish Nevada residency by June.”

In general, Reno price points have steadily ticked up ending in 2019 with a median sales price of $395,000, a five percent increase over the 2018 median sales price of $375,000.

Plumas & Sierra County

We saw a 12 percent decrease in the number of sales but an increase in both the average sales price ($381,292) and the median sales price ($305,000). “We’re seeing a trend in buyers relocating from Truckee to Sierra County,” says Barb Hartley, a Truckee-based realtor with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty. “The area offers more open space at better entry level prices, less snow and a quieter lifestyle, all coupled with a 25-minute commute to the town of Truckee.”

Sierra Foothills

Located just 40 minutes west of Truckee along Highway 20, the Sierra Foothills market remained steady with modest gains overall in the number of transactions (up five percent) and the median sales price (up three percent). The biggest percent change was seen in the High Country/Washington area with a 73 percent increase in total dollar volume sold and increases across the board in terms of the number of transactions (up 26 percent), median price (up 22 percent to $440,000), average sales price (up 37 percent to $559,276) and highest price sold (up 67 percent to $1,650,000).

“With winter off to a healthy start in the Sierra, we can anticipate another prosperous real estate climate in 2020 with a bustling and balanced market that benefits everyone,” said Duvall.

The data in this report was collected via six regional multiple listings services. To see all pricing and sales volume for Reno, Lake Tahoe or surrounding areas broken down by a specific resort community or neighborhoods visit tahoemicroreports.com.