For Tahoe – Truckee real estate, the preceding 12 months are best read as a story in two chapters; neatly divided into six-month increments.

The first chapter was the continuation, and in fact the apex, of frothy conditions defined by excessive demand coupled with historically tight supply resulting in outsized price gains and unprecedented rates of absorption.

The second chapter was defined by moderation. Relative to the previous 24 months, inventory grew just enough for consumers to have buying options, slowing the sales cycle to a more normal pace. The absence of distress or an overhang of listings has caused pricing to recede only from the absolute peak while maintaining nearly all the gains from 2020 and 2021.

Resulting data points for the year offer contrasting information. 1,297 residential transactions are the fewest for the region since 2011: 30% fewer than in 2021 and 45% down from the historic run of 2020. While saturated demand and more cautious consumers play some role, waning absorption and tight supply are overwhelmingly the dominant factors.

The supply of available listings reached a peak mid-summer at approximately 4 months of inventory. While this was nearly a quadrupling to the quantity of listings from the outset of 2022, it still represents a tight market in which anything below 6 months tilts in sellers’ favor.

As evidence of pricing stability, total sales volume exceeded $2 billion for only the third time ever despite the fewest transaction in a decade. For the year, median price rose 7% to $1,075,000; eclipsing $1 million for an entire year for the first time ever.

Notably, December sales achieved a median price 12% higher than January, though the roughly equivalent result in November is most representative of the year’s trajectory.

 

Consistent with surging prices, the share of luxury sales was historic in 2022. 54% of all sales were above $1,000,000; the first time a majority of transactions eclipsed this mark. At the ultra-high end, transactions exceeding $10,000,000 more than tripled any previous year other than 2021.

As in years past, Tahoe Lakefront properties and Martis Camp led luxury sales. While the total volume of trades in each category were down, pricing continued to surge for relatively scarce premium properties nearly rendering eight-figure transactions the norm.

Other well-amenitized resort communities offering modern architecture and newer construction also surged in pricing. These include Lahontan, Schaffer’s Mill, Gray’s Crossing, Old Greenwood and Northstar among select others. Communities with little or no available inventory have continued to increase in price while the rest of the market settles. This includes the niche enclaves of Sugar Bowl’s Snowbound Village and Mountainside at Northstar.

This phenomenon extends on a more macro level as a distinction between Truckee real estate where the majority of resort subdivisions exist and properties in the Tahoe basin that are more traditional mountain cabins. The ratio of $1 million sales continues to tilt in Truckee’s favor increasing 10% year over year.

Of course, not all market classes perform equally. Vacant land sales have languished as factors beyond simple supply and demand ratios impact sales. Surging inflation and supply chain constraints have continued to escalate construction costs while the value of the finished product has dipped slightly. With this equation distorted, speculative builders have been put on the sidelines while custom activity is clustered among those having bought in at a lower basis in preceding years.

The use pattern of consumers for Tahoe real estate has returned to a more traditional second home model as the rush for primary or co-primary homes has ebbed, though the demographic weighted toward Gen-X and older Millennial families from San Francisco Bay Area communities remains dominant. A cohort of consumers moving to the region full time in the wake of distance learning and remote work has remained, while many have returned to Bay Area schools and offices. Defying many predictions, the majority have chosen not to sell their mountain holding, rather reverting to the second home use pattern of frequent, short visits.

An emerging demographic of hybrid work has allowed for days spent partially behind a screen balanced with time on the mountain. This has created new demand for coffee shops and public co-working spaces; particularly the unique circumstance where the two are combined.

At the outset of 2023, the landscape of Tahoe Truckee real estate is undeniably different than it was a year ago. Consumer sentiment is notably more cautious in stark contrast to the frenzy of the preceding year. Despite headwinds in the housing sector, there remains steady demand and capacity to purchase. Very high usage and exceptionally little distress, whether mortgage carry burden or other forms of liquidity, equate to mostly stable pricing. Look for the typical surge in new listings at the end of ski season which could lead to prices drifting slightly lower as longer sales cycles equate to increased days on market.

The local market seems to have priced in a tougher 2023 economic year, including higher interest rates and compressed equities, so any signs of economic relief could boost local activity. Nevertheless, the fundamental value in Tahoe homeownership will continue to deliver an enhanced lifestyle benefit that transcends economic values this year and for years to come.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2023.