Tahoe-Truckee back on radar of second home buyers


By Hudson Sangree and Phillip Reese, Sacramento Bee

Like a lot of vacationers, Rick and Kristie Santos would return from trips to Lake Tahoe during the housing boom wondering what it would take to own a second home there.

They were always disappointed when they looked at the listings. “You’d jump online and never could afford it,” Kristie Santos said. “It was out of reach.”

Lately, however, with interest rates dipping below 4 percent and home prices seeking bottom, the Fair Oaks couple started thinking differently. The Santoses recently joined a growing number of would-be buyers scouting the Tahoe area for second homes.

On Saturday, the couple went on their first trip with a real estate agent to look at vacation properties in the sprawling, wooded Tahoe Donner subdivision near Truckee. Most were listed in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, a big drop from the peak.

The outdoor enthusiasts came away feeling their long-held dream of owning a mountain getaway might be attainable.

“It’s a compelling time to buy for families that a few years back thought, ‘There’s no way we can do this,’ ” said Alison Elder, a top agent in the Truckee area who showed the couple a half dozen homes.

In fact, the real estate market around Lake Tahoe has been hopping lately, with buyers scooping up relative bargains.

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  1. Hangs Ups From Way Back says - Posted: May 3, 2012

    Mortgage bond yields have plummeted to their lowest level on record while bond sales have slumped, all in anticipation of another massive round of mortgage defaults:
    The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was four or five years ago.
    We have never come close to recovering from the last recession and another one will be here soon.
    Home prices in the U.S. continue to fall like a rock as well. They have declined for six months in a row and are now down a total of 35 percent from the peak of the housing bubble. The last time that home prices in the United States were this low was back in 2002.
    Home ownership is now in the same realm as automobile ownership. People were always willing to pay ungodly amounts of money for “that new car smell”, even though they knew that the value of their expenditure would fall by one third just driving it off the lot. Now, homes have the same rate of depreciation that cars have. The only people buying new homes are the ungodly rich. Common folks are wising up to the horrific expense of repairing, maintaining, and paying property taxes. Plus, if the neighborhood goes sour, you will never unload that dog until you die. Why would you want to sign onto such a fraud?