As we come into this New Year with fresh snow and new perspectives, it’s interesting to see a correlation between ideal ski season weather and favorable real estate activity. This holiday season was met with near perfect ski conditions. The Tahoe-Truckee region saw over 6 feet of fresh snow in 7 days with Northstar California reporting 185” of snowfall since November, already surpassing last season’s total of 133”. Northstar’s resort saw a 99.5% sellout of accommodations; restaurant reservations sold out for weeks and Village businesses booming with consumers likely not seen in 4 years. With an abundance of snow and holiday excitement, the region’s 4-year drought was seemingly forgotten, where buyers delayed ski property purchases because of underperforming ski conditions.
Northstar has seen explosive holiday season activity with 9 contracts since mid-November. This is an incredibly early start to the search process as families typically make decisions after subsequent visits later in the season. Looking at overall sales activity within Northstar, median prices, or the midway point of all properties sold within a given period, show a more accurate view of the market since they are typically less affected by large deviations in the data. In Northstar, median prices slowed down to less than 1% in 2014 during our recent ‘drought’ year, with the lack of a proper Tahoe winter. In 2015, the Village at Northstar, however, saw a 23% increase in price, with 2 of the year’s 9 sales going into contract within the last 2 weeks. Compare this to 2014 which saw a mere 2.6% increase. With this seemingly robust start to the season, one can assume a strong first half for Village sales in 2016.
There have been other interesting observations related to snow. Some sellers see this wave of ‘snow excitement’ as an opportunity to raise prices. As well, with early sales activity, comes dwindling inventory, so buyers delaying purchase decisions could miss some great options. This makes the “deal” on properties defined as those written at today’s value versus deeper into a euphoric winter. Overall, this optimal weather has benefited everyone.
This season has kicked off with a ton of excitement with personal enjoyment, adventure, memorable family time, thriving local businesses and optimal real estate activity. We couldn’t ask for a better mix as we head into the New Year.