Opinion: More buyers than sellers in Tahoe housing market


By Robert Stiles

The low supply of housing inventory is giving some economists reason to believe we are in for much bigger price gains this year.

As of Jan. 31, there were 111 active single-family homes on the market in South Lake Tahoe. We haven’t seen numbers that low since spring 2005. That’s less than a three-month supply of housing inventory. This means that buyers are dominating the market, while there are relatively few sellers.

The tightening in supply is not expected to continue, however. I expect to see a rise in the number of willing sellers, which means inventory will hit a bottom soon.

Twenty-eight percent of the single-family homes sold during the last 90 days were bank owned properties or short sales. At the beginning of 2012 distressed sales accounted for more than half of our local sales.

Some economists are saying we have an artificial increase in housing values, but only time will tell if they are right or wrong.

The yearlong decline in the number of distressed sales as well as housing inventory has stabilized our local market values.

As of Jan. 31, the median sales price for a single-family residential home (per the South Tahoe Association of Realtors) had declined 0.4 percent from $250,000 a year ago to our current $249,000. We hit bottom in August 2012 at $234,000.

Statistics for some of our area neighborhoods: Gardner Mountain area has declined 0.2 percent in value from a year ago. Montgomery Estates is down 12.5 percent, while Y area values are up 35.9 percent from a year ago. For those living in Tahoe Keys, market values have increased 6.7 percent.

Robert Stiles is with Tahoe Real Estate Services.



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Comments (2)
  1. ljames says - Posted: February 6, 2013

    the fact that the first parts of the economy to show up ticks are housing and the stock market (and not employment and jobs creation) is NOT good. It indicates that people out there still have money to burn and have just been waiting for the right conditions to go back to the speculating that got us into this mess to begin with. What ever happened to actually working or creating something to create value??

  2. thomas says - Posted: February 6, 2013

    Hello people. This is a new market that we’ve never seen before. Years ago this market lagged behind Sacramento and the S. F. Bay Area by one year. What I mean is if the prices increased 10 % down there one year, you could expect prices to increase 10 % here the following year. We followed behind here in Lake Tahoe. But due to the housing bubble bursting in 2008, we now have a situation that is entirely new. Getting loans will be more difficult from now on, and buyers may be more cautious. On the other hand, if the public becomes convinced that this market recovery is for real, there could be a quick price spike upwards as buyers rush to buy while there are still decent deals available. Homeowners that are holding their properties could experience the best increase in property value this coming year. I think we’ll be able to know one way or the other by August. I would not bet that prices will drop from here. If homeowners are willing to hold their properties this May and June, we could see what I’m holding out for. If economic news worsens, I don’t think we’ll see any drop in prices because the foreclosures are so few. Those are my thoughts.