Is Tahoe’s Real Estate Market About to Repeat Itself? Will You Miss Out?

Luke Curran compared the cost of living in Lake Tahoe to other real estate markets.

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“As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” – Mark Twain


An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One: Market

5-Year Time Frames 2015 -2020

In the summer of 2015 an article quoted Chase International’s take on home prices.

Lake Tahoe home prices continue to rise 14 percent to $525,000. Overall sales around the lake dipped slightly from this time last year, with Incline Village seeing decreases across the board and Tahoe City seeing healthy improvements.


Sotheby’s International Realty Sierra compared 2015 Incline Village/Crystal Bay Real Estate Market

  • Non-Lakefront Properties improved since our first post recession, come-back  year in 2013.
  • A relatively strong supply of inventory exists in our Incline Village and Crystal Bay
  • Lakefront condo sales dropped from 14 in 2013, to 13 in 2014, down to just 7 in 2015.

In the winter of 2016 Deb Howard & Co of South Tahoe Real Estate described the South Shore Lake Tahoe market as experiencing

… slow but steady growth, both in sales and pricing projected at 5%

Courtesy of Tahoe Luxury Properties
  • Tahoe-Truckee real estate market for luxury home sales decline at end of 2015
  • Luxury home sales in North Lake Tahoe and the Truckee area down 39 percent from the 82 high-end sales during the fourth quarter of 2014 20 percent decline

But, overall 2015 was a good year for the housing market in general in this region.

“Inventory levels are starting out 2016 traditionally low.”

Courtesy of Tahoe Luxury Properties

In terms of luxury sales, Truckee communities boasted the most with 24, followed by North Lake Tahoe, West Tahoe Olympic Valley and then Alpine Meadows.

Realtors looked favorably towards 2016.


South Tahoe Real Estate explained it this way.

With the inventory available coupled with homes still priced at 5-6 year lows and very favorable interest rates, the conditions are attractive for savvy real estate investors who want to get into the Tahoe-Truckee market

When things start to normalize again both the buyer and seller have peace of mind.

The good news –  at the macro level:

  • US underlying economic fundamentals are forecast to be stable
  • GDP at 3%,
  • unemployment decreasing to 5% and
  • interest rates hovering at historic lows of 4-5%
  • all of which contribute to consumer confidence uptick!

The good news – at the overall Lake Tahoe Real Estate Market level:

  • Stabilized values remove years of uncertainty and drive a new infusion of qualified home buyers, investors and vacation lifestyle buyers.
  • Value pricing coupled with low interest rates favors a diversification of a financial portfolio toward tangible investment – read “real estate.”
  • Attractive investment property opportunities with  favorable returns on investment (ROI). Lake Tahoe’s lack of inventory keeps prices moving up.
  • Lake Tahoe emerges again as a revitalized resort community with four season to enjoy quality-of-life and lifestyle desires.
  • The beauty of the area draws investors and second-home owners heavily from the San Francisco Bay Area where record amounts of wealth have been created over the last few years.

And that translates into demand for Lake Tahoe real estate and drives growth at a rapid rate.

Luke Curran compared the cost of living in Lake Tahoe to other real estate markets.


When you add up the major expenses – housing costs, groceries, utilities and transportation –  because of the area’s small population, the cost of living is lower here than in most cities.

In fact he says …

  • The cost of living is 15% higher in San Francisco than it is in the Lake Tahoe area.
  • The housing costs 49% higher in San Fran.

But, according to Chase International

Photo credit: Selbe. on Best Running / CC BY-NC-ND

Mark Twain agreed when he wrote in “Roughing It” in 1880.

“As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”

Approaching Lake Tahoe today, there’s no denying the unique rural atmosphere with small lakeside towns.

Whether you travel to the North Shore via I-80 or to the South Shore via US 50.


22) Selectively evaluate the best quality-of-life communities to live in and weigh the tradeoffs of risk and rewards for accruing real estate appreciation along a progression of rural and small towns that meet what your pocket books can afford.

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on

34) On your visits look for any newer developments that may trigger changes in neighborhood patterns. New construction in or around the neighborhood? Major regional economic adjustments? Transition from households with children to ones that are empty nests? Rezoning, and dramatically rising/falling land values?