As the leaves on the Aspen trees change from green to autumn gold it's time to take a look back on the real estate sales in Incline Village and Crystal Bay during the third quarter of 2013. Even with the massive amounts of smoke from the Rim Fire on the West side of Yosemite National Park putting a damper on things for nearly 4 weeks, sales of houses, condos and freestanding condos in our community turned out very strong overall.
There were a total of 129 closed escrows on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe during the months of July, August and September. During the depths of the recession a few years ago we had only 189 sales for the entire year showing just how far our local market has come since the financial markets crashed in late 2008 and early 2009. While many people complain that the banking reforms enacted by Congress have inhibited housing sales around the country, nothing could be further from the truth when you step back and realize that these changes were needed to bring stability and sanity to the mortgage lending process.
Sales activity during the past quarter for single-family homes ware skewed towards properties priced under $800,000 or over $1.2 million with only eight out of the 55 houses that closed escrow selling between those price points. Historically over the past decade that price range would have encompassed a much larger number of sales, but we are continuing to see a fair number of buyers in the moderate price range sitting on the sidelines and hoping to pick up a bargain during the off-season. Unfortunately, most of these shoppers will be disappointed as a significant number of properties falling into this price category are finding their way into the rental pool as discouraged sellers seek to earn some income during the off-season.
Prices of single-family homes that closed escrow during the third quarter ranged from a bargain basement fixer-upper at $345,000 all the way up to a luxurious lakefront home selling for $19,750,000. 12 of the 55 properties changing hands had final sale prices in excess of $2 million which shows that the luxury market continues moving forward at a very solid pace.
Condo sales in Incline Village and Crystal Bay were nothing less than extraordinary with 54 units being snapped up during this three-month time frame. The ever popular McCloud and Third Creek condo complexes led the charge with a total of 15 properties closing escrow and nine more going under contract. Normally, 24 transactions combined in these two developments would be an excellent total for an entire year of real estate sales. So, this is clearly demonstrates that 2013 is a boom year for the Incline Village/Crystal Bay real estate market and should not be construed as the “new normal.”
As of this writing there are only three condos for sale in McCloud which is an exceptionally low number for any time of the year. There is a tremendous amount of pent up demand for three-bedroom condos in this complex especially since the last sale for a three-bedroom unit occurred all the way back in February 2013. That last transaction closed escrow at what now seems a paltry sum of $537,000. It is almost certain that the next time one of these properties is listed the asking price will be at or above $600,000, and quite possibly significantly higher when looking at the dollar per square foot prices of the two bedroom condos that have sold recently.
Even sales of freestanding condos which had been languishing over the past few years got a nice boost during the recently ended quarter. A total of 20 properties closed escrow with prices ranging from $230,000 all the way up to $1,185,000. There would have been a lot more sales in this category except for the lack of inventory especially in the highly desirable Country Club Villas development. There is so much pent up demand for properties in this complex located within walking distance of the beach that the next one to hit the market will likely result in a multiple offer situation.
During the next couple of weeks readers will be bombarded by statistical information from a variety of sources trying to spin the third quarter statistics in a way that favors a particular firm or locale. It is not practical to lump together statistics from the Tahoe/Truckee area since each community has very different market attributes. What is most important is to focus on the general trends and ignore the statistics being spouted that emphasize average prices or other meaningless numbers that are used to promote someone's agenda. Like politics, all real estate is local and you cannot aggregate unit sales or prices from disparate communities and have an analysis that makes any sense.
With the inventory of properties for sale in Incline Village and Crystal Bay at its lowest level for this time of year since 2005, buyers would be well advised to continue shopping during the fall of 2013. It is almost certain that prices will continue to rise during the next two years as the year-to-year inventory continues to decline and demand increases due to a host of economic factors and the effects of Proposition 30 driving high income individuals to seek residency in the tax friendly environs of Nevada.
Don Kanare is a Realtor at RE/MAX Premier Properties
Read his blog and weekly stats on his <a href="http://www.insideincline.com/" target="_blank">Incline Village Real Estate</a> web site at www.InsideIncline.com