Archives for November 2011

San Francisco IPO’s to Boost Lakefront Sales?

Check out this article that recently appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:

“Lake Tahoe area real estate agents, hungry for sales in the aftermath of the housing bubble, are counting on the Bay Area’s booming tech industry to help generate the next crop of million-dollar vacation home buyers.

The market for vacation homes costing more than $1 million, though down over the year, turned in a strong third-quarter performance, according to Coldwell Banker. That was partly due to buyers from Silicon Valley, vacation home developers and real estate agents said.

“People are starting to feel a little bit better about things. Silicon Valley is kind of spearheading that revival. We’re seeing those folks make their way into the Tahoe market,” said Jim Telling of East-West Partners, the developer of Home Run at Northstar.

Some buyers from the tech industry have snapped up vacation homes recently that run from $1 million to $4 million or more.

For example, more than 20 parcels at Martis Camp — a 2,100-acre custom lot development between Truckee and Northstar — have been scooped up by employees of tech companies such as Google (GOOG), Facebook, VMware and Apple (AAPL), according to the development’s spokesman.

One Apple employee bought at Home Run, a small mountainside ski-in, ski-out village of townhomes, where luxury real estate sells for $1.75 million to $2.2 million.

Another Apple employee sold some stock and purchased a place at Incline Village recently, reportedly for $3 million.

And a small Scotts Valley company, VirnetX, is moving to Tahoe after its CEO bought a $6 million house on the Nevada side.

Last, but not least, Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison is putting the finishing touches on a lakefront compound at Incline Village. Ellison reportedly spent $58 million to assemble an 8-acre spread. The site has several buildings, a pond, a waterfall, tennis courts and a sandy beach with two piers.

“I think the world’s starting to right itself again,” Telling said. His development’s first eight homes are under construction on the mountain near the 170-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which opened in 2009.

The Bay Area has always supplied a big portion of Tahoe vacation home buyers.

“It’s good for a long weekend,” said Andy Bechtolsheim, who is one of Ellison’s neighbors at Incline Village. Bechtolsheim, an angel investor and co-founder and chairman of Arista Networks, said he’s been going to Tahoe for 20 years.

“It’s good for kids. It’s not as upscale as Aspen, but I would say it hasn’t lost its traditional charm. It’s gotten a little bit more crowded during the busy season, but I love the offseason there. I was there a few weeks ago in October. There was nobody there. The leaves were changing. It felt like fall going into winter.”

But until recently, the economic downturn had discouraged many buyers, while falling prices kept many sellers off the market.

Now, according to Ernst & Young, 25 Bay Area tech companies are preparing initial public offerings, providing new hope to local real estate agents.

“Silicon Valley IPOs = Cash for Tahoe Home Buyers” was the headline on an October blog post by Lexi Cerretti of Intero Real Estate Services at Incline Village.

“With social gaming leader Zynga and social giant Facebook likely to go public in 2012,” she wrote in her blog, “we will see a new breed of millionaires emerging in the Bay Area home buying market. … An influx of cash into the hands of new buyers could give sellers the opportunity they’ve been waiting for this winter into 2012.”

Cerretti said she’s visited Intero’s Silicon Valley offices in anticipation of a future Tahoe boomlet. “Many of the showings on my high-end properties are buyers who have come up from the Bay Area, specifically from Silicon Valley. I have had two great buyer referrals in the past week from our Intero office in Los Altos,” she said in an email.

Adele Lucas of Chase International said she closed a deal last week for just over $3 million. “Right now, I am extremely busy with lakefront sales,” she said. “We’re seeing those affluent buyers coming into the high-end market because they recognize these prices are artificially low and are going to be pumping up in the next few years as the market and economy strengthen.”

Craig Zager with Coldwell Banker Select on the Nevada side of Tahoe said he has had several lakefront sales this year to Bay Area residents, including the CEO of VirnetX, the 12-person Scotts Valley firm. VirnetX has sued Microsoft and others for infringement of patents it acquired from SAIC, a major defense contractor. Microsoft settled for $200 million last year.

“Most of the communities around the bay have not seen distressed markets like the rest of the state or country,” Zager said. Buyers “come in with a different attitude, just looking for the right property, and they write a check.””

Article can be seen on the SanJo Merc website


Rubicon View Prices Dropping

Rubicon is one of the nicest, though more remote, neighborhoods in Tahoe and it is seeing some pretty incredible price drops and many are view properties. Lakefront sales in the neighborhood were very slow this year – only one sale and it was in the mid-$2m range. Many other Rubicon lakefronts didn’t get shown at all this summer. As far as the views, I sold an incredible Rubicon lake view home (needed work) for only $640,000 (in escrow in July).

Some other neighborhoods had surprisingly slow sales in their lake view segments. Dollar Point on the North Shore was one these. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of unattractive inventory – this summer that was definitely combined with economic woes. But there wasn’t the level of price decrease that we’re seeing in Rubicon. Some of these homes are basically negotiating with themselves and becoming quite attractive to prospective buyers. It’s a risky seller strategy but it might pay off for some of them.

Here are some links directly to a few:

$599,000 Short Sale, 2900 square feet, built in 1995

$799,000 Brand New Home, roughly 2900 square feet, Standard Sale

Old Tahoe with a huge view

See all Rubicon Properties for Sale

King’s Beach Home: $100k Down Payment Assistance

This is a nice King’s Beach pad listed for $299k and there’s an awesome bonus: Placer County has up to $100k in down payment assistance available for a qualifying local buyer of this home. This could be a great deal for a local family. Get in touch with me for more info.

Here is the link to 8594 Steelhead Avenue

Here’s more info from the MLS:

Homebuyers need to meet the requirements similar to other federally funded homebuyer programs: pre-approval of the first loan; homebuyer education; documentation of income, etc. Household income cannot exceed Moderate-Income Limits. Homebuyer assistance is in the form of a second deed of trust,deferred payment, shared equity loan. Owner occupancy required. For more info on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program visit:
Note: this is not my listing.


Tahoe Short Sale Update

The Tahoe Basin has 31 active short sale condos and single family houses ranging in price from $60k to $3.9 million. There are an additional 30 properties currently in escrow – prices $159,000 to $2.9 million. Since October 1 only one has closed escrow – an Old County home that went for $340,000.


See all Short Sales in the Tahoe Sierra MLS now

Million Dollar Lakefront

Tahoe’s selling season is such an anomaly that if someone wants to sell before winter they need to almost set something on fire to create attention! The lakefronts are no exception and this one is but the latest major, eye-catching price reduction intended to snag a buyer now. Two weeks ago this house was priced at $1.99m. On 10/20 it dropped to $1.35m. Now, at $1.05m, if it takes more than a week to see an offer this place could post as the year’s lowest-valued lakefront sale (unless the lakefront foreclosure/REO in King’s Beach sells with a lowball offer).

This is a cute Tahoe home that’s only 11 years old. It’s just about 1400 square feet but has a great layout with 4 bedrooms, two of which are second story with lake views. It’s a gentle lot, has a cozy feel, huge 2-car garage and central location in North Tahoe’s Carnelian Bay.

This is definitely worth a look as a sheer buy and hold investment with massive rental potential as a direct neighbor to GarWoods Restaurant. Call or email Alex for more information as this one shouldn’t last long…

Note: this is not my listing.


Sierra Meadows, locals’ favorite: 4 listings under $305,000

Check out the latest listings in Sierra Meadows. Pretty incredible reductions in price plus a foreclosure/REO listed at $205,000.

See all active Sierra Meadows listings on Tahoe Sierra MLS