Tahoe-Truckee real estate sales produced an atypically robust November, hardly abiding by the typical year-end taper.  Recent months had shown signs of a return to “normal” rhythms in the marketplace whereby peak activity was reached at the end of Q3 only to fade slightly as consumers returned to their primary homes to begin school and, in some cases, return to office work. Rather than fade into the holidays, and despite limited inventory, sales activity in November sparked with 152 residential sales, 17% more than October and roughly on par with September. Only through the lens of 2020, wherein a staggering 237 homes traded, does this performance pale.

Pricing in November remained rock steady with values established throughout 2021 with an average price of $1,254,000 and a median value of $905,000; roughly an 8% jump year-over-year for both metrics.

This surge is more remarkable given the drought of competitively priced inventory. While the story line of 2021 has been tight supply, inventory is always at its lowest at year’s end. Current residential offerings stand at 182 or approximately 5 weeks absorption at the rate seen in November. This level of absorption has remained steady throughout the year as listing counts have waxed and waned.

This data implies that roughly 1/3rd of listings are priced by sellers seeking opportunistic values to which the market is not responding. Inventory priced consistently with recent comparables, even at values that factor the wild appreciation realized over the last 18 months, will still sell reliably.

As evidence, the 152 residential sales in November went into contract within a median time of 17 days. The 182 current active listings show 66 days on market as the median. As well, the median asking price is $1,392,000 versus year-to-date sales price of $950,000; a 46% gap. Even in a market where the average sale is 101% of asking price, this gap is too large to cover through negotiations; thus these aggressively priced listings sit idle.

As we await the start of winter, the promise of consumers returning to the market en masse remains as strong as ever. Under “normal” circumstances, this will result in a moderately active December with sales activity general focused on premium resort product. Regardless, when viewed in total, 2021 will have been a remarkable year.