The Tahoe Daily Tribune recently reported that the average single-family home price in the Lake Tahoe area hit 1.1 million dollars. Ski towns nationwide are known for being expensive places to live and California is no outlier. I often find myself wondering, what do people do to be able to afford to live here?
“Luxury Home” sales in the Tahoe area jumped 38 percent last year, which contributed heavily to the 18 percent rise in average home price. Even after a few bad snow years, it seems people with big money are still gobbling up real estate in the lake area. A 12,000 square foot monster in Tahoe City sold for $45 million earlier in the year. I’m guessing that guy probably doesn’t bump chairs up at Squaw. In fact, over half of Tahoe area residences are vacation homes that sit vacant for most of the year.
Prices out in Truckee, California surged 10 percent to $737,500. Again, this jump is being driven by a 49 percent increase in sales of houses over a million dollars. South Lake Tahoe prices are also up 12% to just over $500,000.
The Mammoth Lakes region is in a similar situation. According to Remax of Mammoth, the average single-family home is listed for 1.2 million bucks, and condos appear to be almost twice that price.
Big Bear Lake also saw an 8.3% increase in home prices and a 24% increase in overall sales. Just like up north, the high-end market is really booming, with sales of houses over $500,000 up 53%. The average home price in the region is a much more affordable $327,000 though.
What’s driving all the high-end sales? I’d guess that with low interest rates and a stock market that’s making some people a lot of money, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
Like many ski towns across the west, rising house prices are putting the strain on locals. The average household income in the Lake Tahoe Basin is only about $25,000 a year, putting home ownership well out of reach.