Archive for January 2012

Snow…it’s like white gold!   Leave a comment

Folks who live in Tahoe and Truckee all know that snow is a big part of the Tahoe economy…but we didn’t realize how big that impact was until this winter. It is not unusual to go through long periods without much snow in the winter, but usually these periods of quiet come in-between long snowy periods when the feet of the white stuff stacks up and brings us what we need. This year that hasn’t happened.

Here we are January 17th and people are hiking into Desolation Wilderness to go ice skating on Eagle Lake or mountain biking on the Emigrant Trail north of Truckee. They are driving over usually long closed Tioga Pass into Yosemite, where they post pictures on Facebook of going ice skating on Tenaya Lake…in bikinis. On the east shore of Tahoe some have been swimming on warm days, and surfing the waves on the windy days. It’s all about creative Sierra locals making lemonade out of the no-skiing lemons. It’s all fun, but one of the reasons you see all these folks doing all these things is because they have lots of free time…the ski areas they work for haven’t hired them yet, or laid them off after the Christmas holidays until the snow flies again.

While the downhill ski areas are still open, they are limited by what sort of artificial snow they can put out, and the skier numbers and thus ski area employees are way down. The cross-country ski areas have taken it even worse, as they have not been able to open yet this season. The Nordic centers, which usually sell a third of their trail passes over Christmas and New Year’s, have got zippo so far this year. Vacation rentals have dropped dramatically as well. While many of the Christmas/New Year’s rentals had non-refundable deposits, new bookings will be practically non-existent until the snow flies. Hotels, restaurants, gift shops, gas stations…the list goes on and on of who is impacted when the snow doesn’t fly in the winter.

Everyone’s business is dependent upon people from the Bay Area, Sacramento and around the world coming to enjoy the pow at Lake Tahoe. Other than praying for snow and washing our cars is there anything else we can do? Support Tahoe and Truckee Businesses! If you are a Sierra local, dig deep and go out to dinner at one of your favorite haunts (check the local papers, some are giving discounts to attract customers) or buy yourself some new ski gear that you will eventually get to use. If you are from out of the area, come on up even if there isn’t snow…eat, drink, be merry. Go for a hike, gander at Donner Lake or Lake Tahoe…it’s all good.

Storms are threatening. We may still get a healthy dose of snow. And when it happens and winter life returns to normal you will see some very happy campers that are ready to enjoy what nature has to offer. Bring it on.

Did you miss the 2011 Sales Summary on my last blog? Be sure and take a look.

Truckee/North Tahoe 2011 Real Estate Sales Summary   Leave a comment

Snow Envy!                                                   

Truckee/North Tahoe Sales By Year              2011                                    2010

Total Sales                                                            1217                                    1136

Single Family Residences                                   956                                      866

Condos                                                                   261                                     270

Average Sales Price                                           $535,834                              $640,727

Median Sales Price                                             $397,700                             $430,000

Truckee Only Sales

Single Family Residences                                  582                                         506

Average Sales Price                                           $541,833                                $591,609

Median Sales Price                                             $435,000                               $472,000

Beyond the numbers:

There was a slight increase in total sales, and a substantial decrease in the average and median prices of properties sold from 2010 to 2011.

There were 186 short sales and 206 REO sales in 2011…thus 32% of the sold properties were considered “distressed sales.”

66% of the sales were under $500,000, compared to 60% under $ 500,000 in 2010.

At the end of 2011, there were 854 listings on the market. Given the current level of inventory, and the speed at which houses are currently selling, there is roughly six months of inventory available—assuming no new listings come on the market. And we can probably assume that not only will more properties come on the market, but that as spring and summer roll around the total number of properties on the market will increase.

What does it mean for you:

If you are a seller: Houses are selling, because the prices have been driven down to a point where buyers now feel like they are getting a deal. With about 1/3 of all sales being short sales or properties owned by banks, there is significant downward pressure on prices. This will probably continue until the inventory of total homes on the market is significantly reduced, and the percentage of those sales that are distressed drops as well. Most experts believe that will not be happening in the next year.

What is selling? The lower priced the better. In fact, in the lowest price ranges there is quite a bit of activity with competitive properties sometimes garnering multiple offers and/or offers over the list price. Properties in the medium and higher price ranges are selling more slowly, with more downward pressure on prices.

If you are a buyer: Great deals are out there, but in many cases the deal is already reflected in the listing price, especially for lower priced homes. If you are interested in an REO or short sale purchase, while there is potential to get a deal, there also may be heartache and headache involved in the process. Patience and flexibility will be required. If you find a house that fits you and it is priced right-act accordingly by putting in a strong offer now.

If you are considering an investment you need someone who really understands the complications of the local market. I have been active in the Truckee-Tahoe real estate market for over 25 years, in good times and bad, from roaring markets to whatever it is we have now. I keep up to date and communicate with my clients on a regular basis. If you need help, give me a call.

Are you a procrastinator? Well, you may have lucked out this winter. Even if you haven’t gotten around to winterizing your house yet, the lack of snow may have given you a second chance. Check back to my November 1st blog and review the “10 Things to Do before winter.” Even if you don’t get your house winterized, perhaps just making an effort to do so will make it snow…while you are at it would you please do your part by washing your car, taking your snow tires off, and making plans for a big outdoor event…that should make it snow.

Sales Information is based on sales reported to the Tahoe Sierra Multiple Listing Service and Coldwell Banker. The median priced sale is the price where half the sales were more expensive and half the sales were less expensive.


Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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