Lake Tahoe experienced robust luxury home sales in 2018, with closings on single-family homes over $1 million increasing by 19%. Average median prices rose 12% around the lake, except on the East Shore where prices softened by 9%.
Reno witnessed a 51% increase in home sales over $1 million this year, as the rest of the market paused a bit moving into 2019.
“Luxury really made a comeback this year,” said Susan Lowe, Senior Vice President and Corporate Broker at Chase International. “We saw some very strong numbers in the luxury segment, which we define at over a million dollars, roughly. Across the region, the million dollar luxury market is up 25% from 2017.”
Lake Tahoe and Truckee 2018 Year-End Market Reports
Lake Tahoe Real Estate Market Report
Incline Village, NV Market Report
East Shore, NV Market Report
Truckee, CA Market Report
Tahoe Donner, CA Market Report
Tahoe City, West & North Shore CA Market Report
South Lake Tahoe & South Shore CA Market Report
Market Reports & Commentary
Incline Village led the way with a median single-family home price of $1,269,000 in 2018, up 19% from the prior year. This is almost as much as San Francisco’s median price of $1,381,700 (but without all the taxes).
During the same period, single-family unit sales priced under $1 million decreased by 16%, while those over $1 million increased 27%. This illustrates the upward price movements.
Unit sales of condominiums in Incline Village reached a median of $545,000 in 2018, up 20% from the year before. Similar to the single-family dynamic, unit sales under $500,000 declined by 35%, as unit sales over $500,000 increased by 24%.
Concurrently, we saw 10% fewer condo unit sales across the board, primarily due to a lack of inventory.
Key takeaway: If you’re a seller with a home in Incline Village worth under $1 million or a condo under $500,000, properly priced, you’ll find strong buyer demand. If you’re a buyer above those ranges, there may be more room to negotiate.
In 2018, the median price for a single-family home on the East Shore was $815,000, a decrease of 9%.
Despite weaker pricing, overall sales volume increased by 35% for a total of $201,889,750 due to a very strong lakefront market. Fourteen lakefronts sold in 2018, nine of them for more than $5 million. Of these, Chase brokered 15 transaction sides, representing both buyer and seller on five of them.
The median price for condominiums on the East Shore rose to $437,000, 17% higher than 2017.
Similar to the dynamic seen in Incline Village, unit sales under $500,000 decreased by 24%, while those over $500,000 increased by 62%, as more properties crossed the half million dollar pricing threshold.
Overall condo unit sales decreased by 7% due to a lack of inventory.
Key takeaway: There’s incredible buyer demand for condos priced under $500,000, but over that point, you’ll need to price carefully as the market changes.
Truckee saw a general softening of the market in both single-family and condo sales this past year. While the median price of a single-family home increased by 9% to $733,000, unit sales decreased by 8% in 2018.
During the same period, unit sales under $1 million decreased by 13%, while sales over a $1 million increased by 8% as pricing crossed the million dollar threshold.
The median price for a Truckee condominium rose 7% in 2018 to $458,200. Meanwhile, overall condo units sold decreased by 18% as dollar volume decreased by 5%, signaling a slowing market.
“Truckee has seen big price increases, but volume and units sold are down due to a lack of inventory and affordability on the lower end,” said Susan. “Their average price is $1.16 million, which is staggering. Martis Camp has been a big factor, with homes priced mostly over $5 million. So after years of appreciation, you’re starting to see a little bit of a softening again.”
Key takeaway: Sellers above $500,000 for condos or $1 million for homes must price competitively to stay ahead of the slowing market, otherwise their properties will languish. Buyers in these ranges will find more inventory with less competition and room to negotiate.
The Tahoe Donner subdivision in Truckee remained stable throughout 2018, with essentially 0% change in single-family units sold and a 6% increase in median price to $719,000. Notably, unit sales of homes over $1 million increased by 32%.
Unit sales of Tahoe Donner condos decreased by 30%, as total dollar volume declined by 31%. The median price increased 5% to $362,450.
Key takeaway: Demand for high-quality, well-priced homes over a $1 million is high. Buyers must be prepared to move quickly when they find a home they like. Tahoe Donner condo inventory is very low with conditions favorable to sellers.
In Tahoe City and the North and West Shores of Lake Tahoe, the median price of a single-family home increased 5% in 2018 to $685,000 as overall unit sales decreased by 4%.
A depiction of rising prices, 22% more homes sold priced over $1 million, while 11% fewer sold priced below.
The median price of a Tahoe City/North Shore/West Shore condo reached $409,500 in 2018, 3% higher than in 2017.
Condo sales volume was down 20% overall, and unit sales were off 22% compared to last year. In contrast to other areas around the lake, however, unit sales under $500,000 increased by 34%, while unit sales over $500,000 decreased by 56%.
Key Takeaway: For condo buyers in the over $500,000 price range, there may be some real opportunity to get a better price if inventory accumulates relative to sales. Sellers in that range may need to price aggressively to close a deal.
The median price for single-family homes on the South Shore rose 6% to $466,500. Concurrently, overall dollar volume of single-family South Shore homes sold softened by 5% in 2018, as units sold declined by 9%.
Slowdowns at this time of year are not uncommon from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Another contributing factor may be the uncertainty around Measure T, which sought to prohibit short-term rentals in the city of South Lake Tahoe.
“I think consumers are waiting to see what happens,” said Susan. “Many of the homes purchased in South Lake Tahoe are second homes. Buyers often purchase to use the property themselves, but offset costs by putting it on the vacation rental market. They’re very skeptical right now due to this ordinance going into effect. However, on Christmas Eve, a judge put a stay on a portion of the new measure, which passed by a very small percentage.”
“The stay is on the occupancy limit of 12,” adds Larry Finkel, South Lake Tahoe Manager, “and it expires on January 24. It’s unknown what will happen after that date and all depends on what, if any, other actions are taken for the court to consider. The Measure T passed by only 58 votes.”
The median price of a condo on the South Shore jumped 30% this past year to $390,000, with unit sales increasing by 11%.
Units sold under $1 million decreased by 10%, while units sold over that amount remained the same.
Condo units sold under $500,000 decreased by 3%, as units over $500,000 increased by 63%, driven by new development luxury properties like Zalanta.
Key takeaway: The market is currently stable with very few distressed sales.
The median price of a single-family home in Reno rose 12% in 2018 to $393,000, while the average price hit $478,572, a record high. Meanwhile, unit sales softened by 13% as prices began to outpace income.
Notably, unit sales over $1 million increased by 51%, while unit sales below that number decreased by 15%. A strong economy with large companies relocating to the region for Nevada tax benefits is the most likely factor driving the luxury market as executives and their families relocate to the area.
The median price of a Reno condo rose 15% to $212,000 as unit sales declined by 8% due to a lack of inventory.
“Lack of inventory continues to be an issue in the Reno-Sparks area,” said Susan. “They can’t build houses fast enough. And resales are still strong, though we’re seeing a little softening. People who have overpriced their houses are definitely seeing a lag time selling. We’re seeing more price reductions, which is good for the buyer.”
Key takeaway: The market for homes under $400,000 continues to be hot. Sellers of well-priced, quality homes in this range can expect multiple offers, and buyers must be prepared to compete. For sellers with homes over a million, the market is waking up. It’s a good time to sell, though homes still must be competitively priced.
Unit sales of single-family homes in Sparks were down by 13% in 2018, as the median price rose 12% to $353,250. Two homes sold for over $1 million.
Total sales volume of condos sold rose 43%, while number of units sold increased 15%. The median price of a Sparks condo rose 23% to $190,750.
Key takeaway: Condo market numbers are up on all fronts, so if you’re thinking about selling, now is a fantastic time to do it.
The median price of a single-family home in Carson Valley in 2018, including Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa, was $418,000, up 13% over 2017.
Units sold under $1 million decreased 12%, as units sold over that mark increased by 16%. Overall sales volume decreased by 1%.
Key takeaway: Given increased prices against declining unit sales, the market appears to be heading into a more balanced state for 2019. We expect to see modest price increases in the coming year, versus the rapid appreciation seen in 2018.
Carson City, NV
The median price of a single-family home in Carson City rose 14% in 2018 to $328,487. At the same time, units sold decreased by 22%. Three homes sold for over $1 million.
The median price of a Carson City condo was up 30% for the year at $188,000. Units sold went up 31%, and overall sales volume was up 63%.
“Carson City is experiencing the same thing that the Reno-Sparks area is,” said Susan, “a lack of inventory. In Carson City the median price went up 14%, and the average price went up 12%. Those are huge jumps, but we saw a big decline in units sold because there’s such a lack of affordable inventory right now. The entry-level homes are still the hottest thing on the market. They come on and get multiple offers and sell overnight. It’s the mid-range to upper-tier properties that are sitting a little bit longer. ”
Key takeaway: The Carson City condo market is up all across the board, so if you have one to sell, now is the ideal time. Buyers must be prepared to bid aggressively.
Chase International sold almost $1.4 billion of property in 2018, representing buyers and sellers in over 2300 transactions. Special thanks to Susan Lowe and Mike Flanagan for compiling and scrubbing the data, Tyler St Pierre for charts and graphics, and Kristina Mattson, Larry Finkel and Kari Begovich for editorial input. We welcome your comments below.
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