Hello all and happy 2021!
This past year was quite remarkable in our local real estate market, and I wanted to do a quick review of the year as a whole. My last update covered the covid effects pretty well, so I just want to focus this update on market valuations and how they have changed through 2020. In a normal year, I would look at the average sale prices of all of the single family home sales in Tahoe Donner, and compare them with the previous year. In case you are new to my market updates, I use Tahoe Donner as a bellwether for all of Truckee because it represents such a large portion of the sales in the greater Truckee area, so these numbers are statistically significant. But this year, instead of just looking at 2020 vs 2019, because the market is changing so quickly due to unprecedented demand for homes, I broke the comparison down to the time periods of the 3 months ending 2019 with the 3 months ending 2020. So to be clear, I am looking at Tahoe Donner single family homes during those time periods. I will also be breaking them down into how the different types (sizes) of homes did in this market, and results are very interesting.
Lets look at how TD 3 bedroom 2 bath homes did for Oct-Dec 2019:
And the same homes for Oct-Dec 2020:
The smaller homes in TD were in very high demand in 2020. The average in 2019 was $596,317 while the average in 2020 was $784,333, an increase of almost 24%.
Next we will look at 3 bedroom 2.5 bath TD homes for the same time period in 2019:
And for 2020:
These numbers show a 31% increase in sale price year over year. This is an absolutely remarkable increase in value for 1 year.
Lastly, lets look at 4 bed 3 bath homes for Oct - Dec 2019
And for the same time period for 2020:
Here we see that these generally higher end homes rose by an average of nearly 19% year over year.
So where does the local real estate market stand right now? Here is an interesting stat - between the year I started real estate sales in 2006 until 2018, the lowest amount of single family homes that I ever saw as active for sale was 82. That is 82 homes out of around 5200 homes for sale at one time. As of the time I am writing this on January 7th 2021, there are 7 single family homes available in TD. The amount of demand for homes is like nothing I've ever seen, and there is very little inventory coming on the market to help at this time.
I think we can count on some spring listings, as we see every year. But I expect that number to be less than we would normally see. Will the strong demand continue? I expect it will all depend on the Bay Area economy. If things in tech remain strong, I expect it will translate to our real estate market. As I mentioned in a previous update, I watch Google Trends to give me a heads up on these kinds of things. Here is a chart from that site showing searches from California for "Truckee Real Estate"
It looks like after a lull in the late fall, we may be on an upward trend for interest from buyers.
At this point, I see no indication of the market slowing down from its meteoric rise. In order for the market to find some balance, we would need to see demand to drop sharply, and the amount of new listings to increase rapidly. That just isn't happening right now. I think that many potential buyers for this area are also invested in the stock market, with a higher than average exposure to tech stocks. So even if these buyers did not get into the market last year, they still may have a similar amount of buying power, even with prices up so much. This may partially explain why demand remains high even as prices continue to rise. It will be very interesting to watch what happens in 2021.
Thanks for reading the update, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. Thanks and Happy New Year!
Greetings from Truckee on a stormy fall morning,
I thought this would be a good time to reflect on this year with respect to the real estate market in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. At the end of 2019, the market was still slowly and consistently pushing upwards. It had been doing exactly that for about 9 years, as we saw real estate prices finally get above the highs we saw in 2007. When Covid hit in march, everything went on hold for a short time. Realtors had to stand down for a week before real estate was considered essential. Within a week were were back at it, and we had the beginnings of a plan for how to list and sell properties during a pandemic. Nobody knew at that time how buyers and sellers would react. That was our usual time of year to start seeing lots of spring listings, but they were slow to come. By June it was clear that less owners were selling, and there was a huge jump in buyer demand. Many Bay Area folks were now working from home, and many were told it would be permanent. Many of them also wanted to get away from the city, so demand for properties up here went through the roof. I like to watch Google Trends to get an idea of what the masses are thinking. This is a screen shot of the trends of the search "Truckee Real Estate" this year. As you can see, it really peaked in Late July.
But as early as June, we started seeing the big demand changes. Instances of 5-10 offers on a property were becoming normal. Seeing properties going $100,000 over asking were seen for the first time in my 14 year career. Prices were being driven up hard. It was an easy time to be a seller, and it was challenging to be a buyer. That continues through the summer and up to today. We are now in the time of year where we usually get less new listings, and buyer demand peaks. New buyers want to get in before the ski season, and we are seeing that still, along with the existing covid based demand. Let's have a quick look at the sales numbers so far this year. These are from the end of October, and reflect the number of sales, and sale prices for single family homes, condos, and vacant lots. These are all from Tahoe Donner, which is a very good bellwether for the broader market in our area.
There are some interesting things to see in this chart. First, the number of single family home sales is up around 50% year over year. The average sale prices are up just over 10% since this time last year, again, just in single family homes. Remember though that these are average numbers taken since October 2019. The market is up significantly in the last few months. If you took todays market as a snapshot, I would say that we are up more like 20% since this time last year in terms of home prices. And unlike many times we have seen in the last few years, the high end homes have done just as well as the entry level and middle market homes in Tahoe Donner.
Condo sales, however, are completely flat in bath the number of sales and prices. I think that is a function of families wanting their own space, again a covid effect.
Now look at vacant lot sales, they have more than doubled. There is a lot of construction happening in the area right now, and many spec builders are looking for their next project. The average price, however, is down. This tells me that builders and not looking for premium lots for their next house.
What can we expect for the rest of this year, and into 2020? I get asked this a lot. The answer is that I don't know for sure. We could see a drop in demand due to prices increasing, or we could see this upward march in the market continue. There are 4 factors that I am watching to see what might happen.
Covid Itself - the pandemic is spiking hard right now. The spike seems to be everywhere, and Truckee/North Tahoe has not been spared. I believe that as long as covid community spread remains high throughout Northern CA, so will demand for property up here.
Low interest rates - as long as rates remain this low, the ability for buyers to afford a home here will remain elevated. From what the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says, rates will continue to be kept low for at least 3 years.
Work from home - in my opinion, one of the biggest drivers in our market this year, and probably for years to come. The last 2 deals I just completed both involved buyers who could now work from home and would rather live here than where they were living before. Many tech workers form the Bay Area have been told they can now work remotely, on a permanent basis. My wife, who is a social worker at the VA, has also been told she will now be working from home permanently, even post covid. I believe this will influence our market more than anything else in the long term.
Inflationary pressures - the Fed is printing money at rates we have never seen in this country. Even though it has been scaled back throughout this year, it is still happening and will continue for the foreseeable future. A likely result of this, over the medium and long term, could be inflation. This is especially true if the economy recovers quickly next year. If inflation starts running up fast, hard assets, like gold or real estate, would be likely places for investors to put their money.
Considering these 4 influences on our market, my best guess will be that the market will continue upwards, but probably not quite as hard as it did this year.
The long and short of it is that buyers can still get good homes right now, but they have to be aggressive. There will also not have as many options, as there are fewer new listings. There are no great deals to be had right now, at least not on good homes without design problems. As for sellers, it is easy street right now. Multiple offers are driving up sale prices well above listing prices in many situations, and most offers are all cash. Deals with loans are still happening though!
Let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help you with your real estate needs. Thanks, stay healthy, and lets get through the rest of this year in one piece!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Greetings and happy 2019! I'm happy to report that although there seems to be some unease in the minds of some owners, prospective buyers and agents that I speak with, the local market continues to do very well. Driven by an unrelentingly strong Bay Area economy, buyers continue to outnumber sellers. Inventory has remained relatively low for the whole year, while going through its normal seasonal swings. As is normal for winter, our inventory is declining and is very much in line with where we were last year. Let's look at some year over year numbers, courtesy of David Hipkins of Dickson Realty.
As usual, I am using Tahoe Donner sales numbers as a bellwether for the Truckee/North Tahoe Market, and the numbers look pretty close to where we ended up in 2017. First, lets look at some similarities: In 2018 there were 277 single family sales in Tahoe Donner, compared with 278 the year before. How's that for close? One clear difference is that people are buying more expensive homes. To see that, we just need to look at the number of condos sold. Most condos in Tahoe Donner are considered entry level for TD properties. The number of condos sold in 2018 dropped sharply from 81 to 56, while average prices for these stayed very consistent over the course of the year. This is evidence of buyers going after more of the mid level to higher end properties. Further evidence of this is the increase in the average and median prices for single family homes. The average went from $730,000 in 2017 to $771,700 in 2018, an increase of 5.6%. That does not mean, however that all price ranges increased by that amount. It does indicate an increase in higher end homes sold year over year. One very bullish sign here is the number of vacant lot sales. This is evidence of local builders seeing a path to be able to profitably sell their spec homes in 2019. It is also worth noting that the number of vacant lots in Tahoe Donner is down to 607. That is getting pretty low and the idea of total buildout in Tahoe Donner is becoming more real each year.
So what's going to happen with real estate in 2019? That would depend on several factors. Will there be a national recession? How will the tech industry do in the next year or two? Are there enough well paying jobs in Truckee and North Tahoe to support home prices for the locals? Will we have good snowfall this winter? These are all factors that will determine the supply and demand for homes in the coming year. While I don't know how it will go, we have seen that our market has always done well in the long term. We have a very limited amount of land that can be developed. Urban sprawl is not an option here. We are bounded by both geopolitical and and physical boundaries in our ability to build lots of housing here. Truckee/Tahoe is surrounded by Forest Service Land, National Forest and unbuildable mountainous terrain. This inherent supply limitation bodes well for the market long term. Also, the Town of Truckee has been soliciting the advice of locals as to what kind of building should happen in Truckee going forward. I was recently at a town housing meeting attended by around 150 people and by far the locals are asking for more affordable housing to be built in and around the downtown area. Single family homes came in dead last as far as what the attendees wanted to be built. Most wanted medium to high density apartments and condos to help reduce the strain of the local housing crisis. Middle to low wage earners simply can't find places to rent in the area. This has been worsened by the proliferation of short term vacation rentals in the area. If the building focus begins to shift away from single family homes, this will further strengthen the existing market.
Let me know if you have any questions, or if there is anything I can help you with!
Happy October, I hope this update finds you well! The Truckee/North Tahoe real estate market continues its upward trend. Here are some stats for the year so far. These stats are all from Tahoe Donner, and courtesy of David Hipkins, Realtor, and good friend.
Tahoe Donner has about 5100 completed single family homes. There are currently 55 on the market, or just over 1%. Nationally, this is a very low number, but not uncommon for TD and Truckee in general. It is definitely indicative of a strong market. On this date last year, there were 67 on the market. Today there are 33 homes in escrow, and 44 this time last year. For single family homes sold year to date, we are at 206, compared with 199 on this date last year. The average and median home sold prices in Tahoe Donner this year are $771k and $715k respectively, compared with $706k and $660k for this time last year. This is a big bump, but I should mention that this is for all price ranges in Tahoe Donner. This doesn't mean that a similar home is up this much year after year. While comparable properties are certainly up year after year, this rise in average home prices also reflects buyers purchasing nicer homes at a faster rate than previous years. Our market is largely tied to the Bay Area economy, which is still running full steam.
Condo sales are telling a different story. There are currently 14 active, with 9 active last year. There are 3 under contract, compared with 13 last year. And as far as total sales year to date, we are at 41 compared with 58 last year. We see buyers putting more emphasis on picking up homes than condos this year, which is not uncommon for a year that trends upward.
Vacant lots are in very high demand. We have sold 40 in TD this year compared with 28 on this date last year. The spec builders are definitely at it and are scooping up good vacant lots quickly. Despite this, the prices for vacant lots are flat in the last 12 months, which is surprising.
Interest rates are definitely on the rise now, with conforming loans now breaching 5%. It is hard to know if this will continue in a significant way, stay flat or drop again. But with both the national, and Bay Area economies roaring, we may see rates continue to rise, and possibly slowing down the market at some point.
If you have any questions for me regarding the local real estate market, feel free to leave a comment for me here or contact me directly, my information in all on the website. Thanks, and enjoy the fall!
1.) WINTER HAS RETURNED!Truckee got more than a foot of snow today, and was only forecast to get around half off that. There is a bigger storm coming on Thursday, so the skiing and riding is about to get much better.
2.) AVAILABLE HOME INVENTORY HAS HIT THE LOWEST LEVEL I HAVE SEEN IN THE 12 YEARS I HAVE BEEN IN TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE!Today in Tahoe Donner, a bellwether for the Truckee and North Tahoe market, the number of single family homes for sale is 18. Eighteen homes, out of over 5000 homes, are for sale. This represents around 1/3rd of 1% of the existing homes in Tahoe Donner. This is a very strong seller's market. I should mention a couple of caveats. One, we usually hit our low inventory level for the year in February or March, and inventory will start climbing in the spring, as it does every year. Secondly, with rates starting to climb and the possibility of an inflationary environment creeping in, buyer demand may even strengthen this year. For current owners, this is a great situation to be in. And for those looking to purchase property here, there will be a reasonable time this summer when inventory starts to creep up. Being patient will be the key to finding a good home at a fair market price. If you are looking to buy or sell this year, let's check in and talk about your timing. In the mean time, let's ski!
Allison James Estates and Homes
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