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Historic snow, bank failures, road closures and painfully thin supply merged in March to create one of the quietest months for residential closings in the recent history for Tahoe-Truckee real estate. Yet, despite only 48 residential transactions, average and median pricing for the month were the highest since December of 2021 while standing inventory continued to fall for the 7th successive month.

In the months to come, we will see which among these metrics is a signal for the direction of the market and which is simply noise as the snow (presumably) recedes and more supply becomes available.

The composition of sales in March indicates a mostly typical, mid-winter level of activity within premium resort markets. Three properties in Martis Camp traded for an average of $9,500,000; a number only slightly below peak values from a year ago. Two properties sold in Lahontan, each of 2022 vintage, for prices above $1,000 per square foot while Mountainside at Northstar similarly held a pair of closing for $1,300 (per sq.ft.) coupled with a benchmark $2,115 (per sq.ft.) for a Ritz-Carlton Residence. Other noteworthy sales trading above or near all-time highs include two homes in Gray’s Crossing, a single-family residence in Olympic Valley and a lakefront property in Meeks Bay on Tahoe’s West Shore.

All told, 28 properties sold for greater than $1,000,000 in March representing almost 60% of all transactions, exceeding the ratio of 2022 and well outperforming any other period in Tahoe’s history. Equally notable is the median number of days on market was only 53 for homes exceeding $1 million versus ten fewer for those below indicating the absence of major price sensitivity for premium offerings.

Through Q1, 2023 despite especially poor transaction volume, average price is 1% greater than calendar 2022 while median price is 5% below.

Active listings are just below four months of supply at 185 with the rate of absorption seen in Q1; or below two months supply based upon sales velocity over the last year. 76% of these listings are asking greater than $1 million including 10 seeking 8-figure sums.

The quantity of listings is sure to increase in the coming months, while distress remains almost entirely absent from the market as many homeowners evaluate the utility of their property after ski season. An overwhelming season such as the one we are experiencing is likely to push some additional owners closer to their end date into the market selling. The overabundance of snow and resulting potential maintenance issues may extend the listing season from spring into early summer which in turn may avoid the perception of flooded supply during the quietest months for visitation.

For now, the surplus of snow and challenges in accessing the region are giving many potential buyers cover cause to wait for optimal inventory that is inevitably right around the corner.