The dawn of 2020 finds the Tahoe – Truckee real estate market in great condition, with the 12-month totals for volume and total transactions ranking among the most productive ever. Last year gained momentum after withstanding a stalled beginning due to abundant snowfall, wrapping up with the second busiest Q4 on record.

While volume and transaction productivity were obviously notable, a much more discerning consumer trend was revealed. While classic mountain architecture has shown traditional peak roof forms and utilized wood finishes and dark tones reflective of a forest setting, a much more contemporary look featuring flat or single-pitch roof and clean, stark finishes has become the default preference of the modern Tahoe consumer.

As a result, legacy inventory has languished while newer offerings have thrived driving price and volume in newer, nicely-amenitized communities disproportionately higher. Martis Camp has been a trend setter in this capacity, having dominated luxury real estate throughout the last decade, often at the expense of Tahoe lakefronts; the historical bell weather of mountain luxury.

Beyond the ultra-high end, luxury communities in Truckee, by definition a newer breed of housing than those in the Tahoe Basin, have gained momentum outselling lakeside property by nearly a 2:1 ratio; particularly at prices greater than $1,000,000.

Among these more contemporary communities where contemporary design is most prevalent, Gray’s Crossing, Old Greenwood and Schaffer’s Mill each approached all-time highs for total transactions and pricing.

The most glaring example of the market’s perception of vintage properties is found within Lahontan. In 2019, homes built prior to 2010 achieved an average price per square foot of $577 while those built since 2016 averaged $739 per square foot; a 28% premium. 

Northstar, offering properties ranging from 1970’s era condominiums to contemporary, mountainside residences offers an even more striking example. Pre-recession properties sold in the last 12 months yielded $448 per square foot while 2016 and more recent construction brought a premium of nearly double at $803 per square foot.

The new year finds conditions near optimal a healthy and sustainable real estate market. Inventory is modest though not constrained at 3 months’ supply. Wage growth and wealth creation in our Northern California feeder market remain among the healthiest in the nation. Ample early season snowfall and clear roads have created few impediments for consumers to visit the region and experience the lifestyle benefits available through Tahoe homeownership.