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With majestic mountains, glimmering blue waters, and lush green forests, who wouldn’t want to wake up in Lake Tahoe? People have favored the coveted vacation destination for weekend getaways and winter ski tours for decades now. But those who have stayed longer than three days know that there are other things to do in Lake Tahoe and its surrounding small towns aside from vacationing. Tahoe’s real estate market has become increasingly strong over the years, making this region one of the most desirable places to live in the Golden State.
People’s desire to escape city life—combined with the complications brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—has significantly impacted the Tahoe real estate market over the past year or so. Here’s everything you need to know about the Tahoe real estate market that a tourist getaway guide won’t tell you.
A fun fact about Lake Tahoe is that an increasing number of Californians have been moving there from the Bay Area for years. Whether they purchase a summer home, a second house, or are retiring, Lake Tahoe has long been an idyllic destination. But the pandemic has created a sense of urgency for those on the fence about buying a home away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Unprecedented bidding wars, buying activity, and increased prices have made the Lake Tahoe real estate market hotter than ever on each end of the lake. Data from both North and South Lake Tahoe shows that people working in the tech industry represent the largest buying audience in the area today. These buyers represent roughly a third of Tahoe’s homebuyers.
Historically, properties listed in the Tahoe housing market took an average of three to four months to sell. Now, it’s more like four days. There are many factors driving today’s market. People are able to work and live anywhere, so a lot of folks want to get out of the big cities and establish themselves in suburban areas. This desire and ability to move, along with the fact that the real estate market was put on hold for several months, resulted in pent-up demand. And last but not least, historically low-interest rates have played a role in the Lake Tahoe real estate market’s growth.
So, in general, people working from home are fleeing the city in search of more space and a healthier lifestyle. There are tons of perks that come along with relocating from busier cities like S.F. to a place like Tahoe. A few of these benefits include larger houses with home offices, more land for kids to play, and access to outdoor recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, and bike riding.
Lake Tahoe’s real estate prices can start in the thousands and go way up to millions (and multi-millions) of dollars. Comparing Tahoe’s real estate prices to the past three years’ stats in the United States show that the median value in Tahoe is way higher than the national average. But the price you’ll end up paying depends on which part of the region you’re looking to relocate to and what type of property you have in mind.
Median home sale price: $625,000
Price per square foot: $385
Median days on the market: 14.5
The average sale price for homes in South Lake Tahoe has gone up 46-percent since last year, with houses spending around two weeks on the market before being sold. According to Redfin’s statistics, 53 houses have been sold in South Lake Tahoe in the first month and a half of 2021 alone. Many homes are getting multiple offers—some with waived contingencies—and hot homes are even selling for slightly above list price. So, describing the South Lake Tahoe housing market as competitive would be an understatement.
The most valuable features in South Lake Tahoe houses include newly built and renovated homes, security cameras, and laminate floors.
Median home sale price: $995,000
Price per square foot: $603
Median days on the market: 76
Median home sale price: $982,000
Price per square foot: $480
Median days on the market: 50.5
Tahoe City and Tahoe Vista, both located on the north side of the lake, show higher pricing but less competition in Lake Tahoe’s real estate market. Despite the influx of NorCal residents relocating to Tahoe, the housing market is less competitive in this area, with houses spending an average of two-plus months on the market.
However, this also varies greatly from one city to the next. For example, despite both Tahoe City and Tahoe Vista having average home sale prices in the $900,000 range, Redfin stats show that Tahoe Vista sale prices have gone up a staggering 581-percent since last year. On the other hand, Tahoe City home prices have gone down around 21-percent. Yet, generally speaking, homes in the North Lake Tahoe housing market still receive multiple offers and commonly sell above list price.
The most valuable features in North Lake Tahoe homes include high ceilings, laminate floors, and an elegant deck to soak in the majestic views.
Median home sale price: $334,000
Median days on the market: 30
Statistics show that home prices nationwide have been growing year-over-year. Last year’s figures show that the number of homes purchased rose 20.2-percent and listings fell 41.2-percent. The large difference between supply and demand explains the steady rise in prices.
There are currently over 700,000 residential homes for sale in the United States. These properties spend an average of 30 days on the market before being swooped up.
The majority of people showing interest in the Tahoe real estate market are looking for a full-time residence to live in for the next year or more. Others are buying a property with the intention of turning it into a vacation home in the future. Either way, people are choosing their homes for characteristics other than location and proximity to their workplace—the latter of which was a huge priority in previous years.
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