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With the arrival of snow in Lake Tahoe (with more scheduled to fall over the next few days), there’s a renewed sense of optimism for a great second half to winter!  January 2014 showed the first tangible sign of the listing shortage experienced in the Bay Area over the past year. While January is historically the slowest month for closed transactions, 59 sales represented the lowest figure in nearly three years.  The same month 2011-13 saw 67, 72, and 83 sales, respectively, when more properties were available to purchase.

Conversely, the average sale price of $832,037 is the strongest beginning to any year since 2007. Luxury real estate continues to be in-demand – 15 of the 59 (25%) January sales were above $1,000,000.  Of these luxury sales, four were found at Northstar illustrating a clear elevation of Northstar’s status as a premiere destination resort.

Luxury sales included:
• 4 Ritz- Carlton Residences from $1,350,000 – $4,110,000. With the latter topping $1,200 per square foot, Mountainside at Northstar is demonstrating it can reach the highest price segment of the Tahoe market.
• A single-family home in Northstar’s Big Springs neighborhood for $1,775,000.
• Other single-family homes including:
• Martis Camp – $3,200,000
• Lahontan  – $1,095,000 & $1,875,000
• Squaw Valley – $1,725,000
•Gray’s Crossing – $1,550,000
•Schaffer’s Mill – $1,080,500
• Tahoe Lakeside from $1,180,000 – $1,506,500

As is often the case in early winter, a shift among high-end Lakeside sales occurs towards the resort markets. A look at the properties currently pending sale shows 137 residential transactions in the works, including 25 at prices greater than $1,000,000 in each of Northstar, Martis Camp, Lahontan and other resort communities.

The sale of residential land continues to buck seasonal trends with tremendous activity. Two homesites in Martis 25 are newly pending, both for $1,645,000 with construction likely this year. The remarkable comeback at Gray’s Crossing continues with six closed transactions in January, five at prices $110,000 and above.

In a typical winter season, expressions of interest in the early winter will give way to property tours during the winter holidays and become actual transactions during the late winter / early spring months.  As such, there appears to be ample demand for Tahoe real estate. The only question is how many sellers will be willing to meet this demand as conditions have clearly shifted in their favor.