How’s the Lakefront Market?


Can you say “wow?!”


Lakefront sales volume is almost double last year’s.

Over $20,000,000 there have been 6 sales reported in our MLS since 2005. A 7th occurred but wasn’t recorded in MLS (Chase International listing). Of these 7 uber-high-end sales, 4 occurred in 2018. 2 of these sold in less than a week on the market.

There is another estate currently in escrow with a list price of $39m. The neighbor on each side sold in 2018 – one was $22m, the other was $40m. This is Sunnyside Lane.


And this is historical stuff…


In the $2m – $4m range we have seen many very quick sales this year. A number of these occurred off-market. There have been a couple sales which closed at surprisingly high numbers compared to market expectations – one West Shore sale was $1.5m higher than many seasoned brokers estimated. This only took one showing and the property went into contract before it saw the open market. Due to this sale a nearby property increased its price by $1m and received multiple offers. Wow.

We have seen historic sales at the uber high end. Estates at $40,000,000 and $24,000,000 sold before getting a chance to hit the open market. The larger sale saw a 7 day escrow. There were multiple offers on a $37,000,000 property in Incline Village. There are other high-end listings which will trade this year.


The highest-price ever for a split lakefront is on the market now – $6.2m. My Incline Village team (Donovan Group) and I represent the only brand new lakefront construction in Incline Village, $22,000,000. Currently, the highest price is Chase International’s listing for which I am a Listing Ambassador: Crystal Pointe, $75,000,000


Quick Stats:

  • 7 active lakefront listings from $1.1m to $17,900,000.
  • 4 lakefronts in escrow: up to $39,500,000.
  • 2018 Sold Volume was almost 2x higher than 2017.


For my early July 2018 Lakefront Market Update which includes 4.5 case studies, click here


One thing that has struck me as quite interesting is that the lake level is only down one foot from where it was January 1, 2018. It is currently less than 2 feet from the legal maximum.


See all lakefronts for sale here

See Current TRPA Shoreline Plan Draft here

PDF to TRPA Shoreline Plan Executive Summary May 2018

See TRPA Shoreline Map here: This shows all Lakefront parcels and piers around the entire Lake

See Current Lake Tahoe Planning Benchmarks here

* Below the following charts you will find my 2017 Lakefront Market Recap *

2017 Recap: The lakefront market had a solid year in 2017. There were 27 sales which accounted for $135m in volume. The lowest sale of the year was $1.54m (off-market) and the high was $29m – see Drum Estate link. Interestingly there were no sales between $7.2m and the Drum sale. As a comparison, in 2016 there were deals at $8m, $11m, $15.8m and $17.5m. 

When comparing overall market performance to 2016 it is critical to include the $22m in sales that occurred off-MLS in 2016. In 2017 there were 2 off-MLS sales including one very notable North Shore property which closed for $7.2m – reach out to me for details.

As you’ll see on the chart below, the number of 2017 sales was well ahead of 2016 (27 vs. 21) and the volume was up about 8%. The incredibly high lake level made lakefront showings especially enticing and there were a good number of buyers who had been waiting a few years before pulling the trigger in 2017. This far in 2018 there has been one sale for $7.5m – it was a listing which had been getting long in the tooth and price was reduced multiple times to eventually realize a sale.

Activity at the highest-end is typically an indicator of good things for the entire lakefront market. The 2017 Drum Estate was the highest sale in our MLS’s records at the time. It was $10m+ more than the highest sale of 2016. It also nudged out a 2015 Chase international sale in Historic Old Brockway for $28.5m. In our MLS there are three listings above $20m currently, the highest of which is a legacy estate with acreage on Sunnyside Lane for $39.5m which had been available as a pocket listing for almost a year.

At the end of summer I wrote about the connection between Tahoe’s lake level and the strong market that existed concurrently. Read that post here.


Tahoe is barely below the maximum legal limit. See the USGS lake level chart here: link

5240 West Lake Blvd. 50% share listed and sold by Alex.

A quick recap of 2016: There were 5 fewer sales and 16% less volume than 2015 (please note that I take into account sales which are not reported in MLS – there were 3 in 2015). Half of the sales in 2016 were at homes which had piers. 2016 saw 3 sales over $10m. In 2015 there was only one – the Chase International sale for $28.5m. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 2016 had 2 sales under $2m; 2015 had none. I sold a 50% shared interest in a 7th-generation family cabin in Homewood. There was one bankruptcy sale in each of the last two years. In addition, there were some very interesting transactional incidents that occurred in 2016. I had direct contact with a number of them – feel free to reach out for more information.

Year Total Volume # Homes Sold Ave. Days on Market Ave. Price Median Price
2017* $132 27 145 $4.9m $3.8m
2016* $121m 21 182 $5.9m $4.8m
2015* $145m 26 170 $5.6m $4.2m
2014 $121m 30 163 $4m $3.1m
2013* $95.5m 23 203 $4m $3.5m
2012 $150m 32 338 $4.6m $3.2m

*Off-MLS sales:

2017: 2

2016: 3

2015 and 2013: 1


“We are very happy with the deal, Alex. You made it happen and you are a hero.”

– Neil and Karen B. Sellers of 3266 Edgewater. Closed price $8,199,000.


Tahoe Lakefronts are a market unto themselves. Selling them has traditionally been done in an old school way – take some nice photos, put them on MLS and tell buyers the same story over and over.

I have a different approach.

Selling Tahoe lakefronts well requires expertise, knowledge, attention and high-level marketing. I meet with top lakefront planners to know the maximum potential of every individual property. I target the most likely buyer pools and effectively reaches them with creative, quality marketing. I know off-market sales and tracks buyer activity across the board. I measure water depths at piers and buoys. During showings I don’t pitch buyers but rather make them feel comfortable. I learn what they are looking for and perform every showing differently.

The results speak for themselves. My sale of a Dollar Point home for $8.199m represents the highest dollar amount ever for a North Shore property under 5000′. My clients got 25% more than the lakefront MLS average price per square foot. See the website I created which was critical to this success:

In 2017 I was able to sell a 50% share of a 100 year-old cabin (represented buyer and seller). I also sold the former Le Petit Pier building which had been sitting idle and another broker unsuccessfully marketed it for over a year. I represented buyer and seller. In addition I entirely sold out a brand lakefront condo complex.

There are a multitude of things I do differently. I work with Chase International because of its track record, reputation and its incredibly powerful network. We annually sell over $1 Billion in real estate. Click here to see how Tahoe brokerages rank in the luxury marketplace.


I send out a monthly update about the lakefront market - off-market activity, multiple offers, miraculous deals and also escrows on life support. I have info on buyer origins and locations, the lake level and more. Sign up to stay informed.

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