Tahoe Lakefront Market Summary

Tahoe lakefront values don’t always rise and fall with the lake level but there was an interesting phenomenon last year: the lake was down considerably and lakefronts sold very well. However, properties without piers had an exceptionally tough time. For those with piers, it didn’t matter if they were wet or dry – even if you could run a lawnmower underneath the pier, the home could sell. Overall this makes sense – buyers were sensitive to a low lake level and it manifested in protecting one’s investment by buying a home with a pier. However, you’d think that the ones which were dry beyond the pierhead would have had to compete with nicer homes which only had buoys. That was not the case. Of the 26 sales in 2015, only was without a pier; 2 had HOA piers next door. To see the piers that go with all the current lakefront listings, click here.

As compared to other years, 2015 was great. It was the second largest year on MLS history for lakefront sales. There was the huge sale by Chase International of an Old Brockway estate for $28.5m. I gave a number of tours of this estate and the grounds – it was absolutely impressive. Another highlight was one of my sellers and I breaking a record in Dollar Point with a sale for $8.2m.

I find it interesting to compare the coveted Tahoe lakefront niche with nearby areas simply to put it into perspective. If you’re following Martis Camp, you know it is one of the hottest luxury developments in the US. Last year Martis sold 22 homes for $101m. The Tahoe lakefront marketplace goes practically unnoticed and sells 35% more volume – amazing.

Year Total Volume # Homes Sold Days on Market Ave. Price Median Price
2015* $135m 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

*2013 and 2015 each include one off-MLS sale. 2015 = Chase International’s listing which sold for the highest number in years: $28.5m. 2013 = $8.9m. 

See all lakefront listings here


My Notes on previous years:

2015 was an interesting year for Tahoe lakefronts. It opened with a North Shore compound selling quickly for $7.8m with multiple offers. One of the last sales of the year also saw multiple offers – it was a bankruptcy for $9.95m. Overall volume was roughly 10% greater than the year before. The average and median prices jumped considerably.

2014 was a very good year for Tahoe lakefront sales. It was on pace with 2012 until the fall. Total volume was $121 million. 2013 was a bit of a hangover from the frantic year that preceded it.

See my Lakefront Sales Maps 2011 – 2013.

2013 saw half the lakefront sales volume that occurred in 2012. This had to do with impending tax changes in 2013 which created an incentive for high-level estate planning to be completed by the end of 2012. December 2012 is the biggest single month on record with $51m in closed lakefront business. To put that in perspective, 2013’s entire lakefront volume was $86m.

2012 was a banner year for Tahoe lakefront property sales: volume doubled from the year before to $173 million, 37 properties traded, 5 sales were over $10m. This is still the biggest year on record in Tahoe Sierra MLS history. During the last few summers there have been high points where 8-9 lakefronts are in escrow simultaneously. What was so significant about 2012 was that this happened not only in midsummer but in December, as well.

What is also interesting are the sales over $10m. From 2007-2011 there were 5 transactions over this benchmark – in 2012 alone there were 5. There was also activity well above this. Click here to see Alex quoted in an article on the sale of an Incline Village property for $25.5m. A property in Glenbrook sold in February 2013 for $20m. Although it was at a different level ($5m-$10m) the last time the lakefront marketplace acted thus was during the 90’s Gold Rush. Tahoe lakefronts all ratcheted up immediately afterward. I believe the same thing is happening now and it can be evidenced by the 2015 Chase International sales of $28.5m and $30m. We just listed an estate for $35m.

If you’ve been considering upgrading, buying or selling a lakefront property, feel free to reach out.

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