Despite Shortage of Inventory, Tahoe/Truckee Home Sales Up From 2011

Posted by Cathy Harrington — May 3, 2012

1336062649San Francisco, CA. April 24, 2012 A much-anticipated sequel to “Snowmaggedon 2011” failed to materialize in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region during the first quarter of 2012 as unseasonably dry weather distracted weekend snow enthusiasts normally in the market for a vacation home during the winter season. Even so, sales of existing, single-family detached homes rose sharply compared with last year’s first quarter as year-round residents took advantage of favorable home prices and interest rates, according to a report by the research division of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate based on an analysis of MLS data.

Home sales totals would have been more impressive if not for a significant decline in the inventory of homes listed for sale. Regionwide, the number of homes on the market was down as much as 50 percent from the comparable quarter a year ago. As a result, multiple offers on ready-to-occupy properties became more common, particularly among homes priced below $500,000.

In the Lake Tahoe area, 73 existing, single-family detached homes changed hands in the first quarter of 2012, a 26 percent increase from 58 homes sold during the first quarter of 2011 but a steep 23 percent decrease from 95 homes sold in the final quarter of last year. Sales were down across the board on a quarterly basis, with West Shore and North Shore accounting for the majority of homes sold. With fewer high-priced sales, except in Squaw Valley, the median price of a Lake Tahoe-area home fell from $482,276 a year ago and $467,879 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $399,055 in this year’s first quarter.

In the Truckee area, 150 existing homes changed hands in the first quarter of 2012, an 18 percent increase from 127 homes sold in the comparable quarter of 2011 but down 21 percent from the fourth quarter, when 194 homes were sold. Tahoe Donner® set the pace with 63 homes sold during the first quarter, a 43 percent increase over last year’s first-quarter total of 44 homes sold. The median sales price, meanwhile, was up 17 percent from the previous quarter and essentially unchanged from a year ago in the Glenshire Area and climbed 8 percent on an annualized basis in Golf Course Communities.

With fewer fast-moving bank-owned properties on the market, it took longer to sell a home in most communities. In the Lake Tahoe area, the average number of days a home was on the market before receiving an offer to purchase jumped from 129 days a year ago to 209 days in the first quarter of 2012. In Truckee, the average dropped from 153 days a year ago to 105 days in this year’s first quarter.

With the spring and summer months ahead, many Bay Area and Northern California buyers will return to the High Sierras in anticipation of a snowier future. According to Cathy Harry, Manager of the Tahoe and Truckee offices of Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie offices, “Favorable interest rates and prices continue to provide excellent opportunities for homebuyers seeking a primary residence or a second or vacation home – although low levels of inventory can be expected to nudge prices higher over time.” Price and property condition remain the key factors for home sellers. Prime locations in top condition will attract both buyers and multiple offers.

To view the full market report, click here.

About Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate

Our heritage began with the founding of Mason-McDuffie Real Estate in 1887. In 2010, the company was named the 17th largest real estate services firm in the nation (RIS Media), and Number One in the San Francisco East Bay (SF Business Times). The company provides comprehensive solutions to home buyers and sellers, and handled 7,790 transactions in 2011, generating $2.94 billion in sales. Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate is independently owned and operated and includes joint ventures with partners Highland Partners in Piedmont and Montclair, Wine Country Group Realtors in the North Bay, and Tri-Valley Realty in Pleasanton-Hopyard and Ruby Hill. The organization is comprised of more than 1,400 sales professionals in 29 offices. For more information, go to

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