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September 15, 2014
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October 3, 2014

A “State of the Union”, so to speak, for the Greater Truckee Region and Tahoe Donner – The Median and Bellwether Community for the Greater Truckee Market  

Header Photo-Courtesy Truckee-based realtor David Hipkins

Home Sales Data – Although we are seeing decent year-on-year gains in our attained average (10%) and median single family homes prices (15%), it should be noted that deeper analysis reveals that we are seeing a significant drop in the number of properties sold so far this year (29%), with a concomitant 21% drop in total dollar volume realized year to date. Given the relatively large number of unit sales in this community of approximately 5,000 homes, the data can be deemed statistically significant (see latest Y-on-Y stats for Tahoe Donner, below, for hard data). It must be emphasized that this is not an urban market, and that it is still driven principally by those with discretionary income. It is therefore unrealistic for us to expect to match the more frenetic, ebullient appreciation rates currently being experienced in markets such as the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

Lot Sales Data – A leading edge indicator for the home market also reveals that the “spec” builders remain quite cautious in 2014. The data shows an 18% drop in total dollar volume realized year to date, with an 18% drop in the number of lots sold, and attained sold prices remaining basically flat.

Condominium Sales Data – A relatively more robust set of data for these owners, unsurprisingly, as the more modestly priced single family homes start to move away from both the first time home buyers and second home buyers on more of a budget, they are compelled to switch to condominiums and town homes. We have seen a 39% increase in total dollar volume attained year to date, allied with a 41% increase in units sold. The trend in increasing unit sales will gently continue, as we expect the lower and middle priced single family home market segments to still remain robust. At this time though, we are still not seeing much in the way of price gains.

David's Blog Post Stats

– Note that our available inventory continues to run a bit higher than last year, and this is true for all property categories.

Rentals – Interestingly, the market trends continue to support higher long-term rental income. Basically the majority of renters are having to pay a higher percentage of their income as rent these days, as incomes continue to remain relatively flat. However, the way ahead for short-term rental and ski-lease trends is difficult to call at this time.

Meanwhile, our high-end luxury markets, such as Martis Camp, the Lakefronts etc., continue to flourish, primarily due to the financial gains made by their exclusive socio-economic demographic buyer profile who remain unaffected by the sub-prime debacle. Overall, this remains a fragile recovery for a significant majority of our potential buyers.

Conclusion – Sellers need to be realistic at the higher price points, and for buyers there is still opportunity to obtain many homes for less than their current replacement cost, as new building codes and input costs continue to inexorably increase the cost of construction, especially given our snow loads and related engineering requirements. This is especially true for those who are willing to undertake some (cosmetic only) remodeling. The further up the price-point chain, the better the value.
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