As 2020 has gone, every “shock” event whether shelter-in-place orders, civil unrest, wildfires or otherwise has created a surge in demand for mountain real estate.

The reality of a third wave of COVID and the accompanying reality of prolonged distance learning and remote work have driven an unseasonably busy late fall surge for Tahoe – Truckee real estate as consumers strive for a healthy and authentic lifestyle.

During what is historically a long taper from peak closings in early Q4 through the winter, November 2020 saw remarkably little erosion from record-setting activity dating back to June. Over 250 residential closings surpassing $250,000,000 in sales volume, this month would have exceeded any prior month before the current bull run. Average pricing of $1,163,000, 36% higher than the same period in 2019, is indicative of the demand for premium properties. The median value of $750,000 has been a steady 17% year-over-year increase.

Other recently crossed benchmarks include:

  • Over 2,000 residential sales year-to-date; previous record was 1763
  • Well over $2 billion in total sales volume; previous benchmark just below $1.7 million
  • More than 600 residential sales greater than $1 million; previous mark was 348
  • Over 200 residential sales greater than $2 million; just 94 in 2019
  • 520 vacant land sales totaling over $200 million; 250 sales at $82 million in 2019

The raw data highlights the pure volume occurring in the Tahoe Truckee real estate market however a more nuanced look reveals specific trends. A migration away from property in the Tahoe Basin has been underway for years as mitigation efforts required for renovation has rendered all but the most premium properties economically infeasible. As a result, many lakeside properties have aged to a point of obsolescence while new, highly amenitized communities featuring modern architecture have filled the void.

Particularly in prices above $1 million where most resort subdivision properties begin, the ratio of sales in Truckee versus the Tahoe Basin has generally increased in recent years.

Martis Camp has become the assumed market leader for luxury leaders but for a very few legacy Tahoe lakefront properties. Even when compared to rank and file lakefront homes, Martis Camp has continued to ever greater prominence for its remarkable suite of amenities, proximity to resorts, trails and the Truckee airport as well as for being the standard bearer for mountain modern architecture.  

In a year where benchmarks were set through nearly all product types, resort communities throughout Truckee saw extraordinary transaction volume.

Others established new high-water marks for pricing:

  • Gray’s Crossing is nearing 50 residential sales besting a previous high of 30 established just last year.
  • Lahontan has established record totals for number of sales (34 in 2020 versus 21 in 2019), median pricing of $2,857,000 (versus $2,610,000) and a new high-water market for premium pricing at $4,700,000.
  • Schaffer’s Mill executed over 30 new residential sales tripling the production of 2019.

December will show a taper from the current velocity based solely on constrained inventory. 305 residential listings represent the same 5 weeks’ supply that has been a constant for the last several months. For those with boots on the ground, it feels that any reasonably priced offering would have a bevy of suitors for the foreseeable future.