The Year Ahead for Tahoe Real Estate
As we move into the home stretch for 2018, Incline Village real estate sales took a breather last week with only 3 properties going into escrow. Whether this was the usual seasonal slowdown or a result of extreme stock market volatility along with some uncertainties in Washington DC is something that only time will tell. However, after an extraordinarily long economic expansion it would not surprise us to see real estate sales and prices plateau or even consolidate during the next 1 to 2 years.
Nothing has changed fundamentally about the Incline Village real estate market. Inventory remains low by historical standards and prices for the most part have reached or exceeded the prerecession peak. There is also a finite supply of land on which to construct residential property on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Coupled with a strong California economy and a population that continues to grow, over the long term, the rules of supply and demand will eventually dictate higher prices.
But after 6 years of a solid uptrend it is only natural that we expect a pause or even some retrenching. Even with the recent decline in the stock market during the 4th quarter of 2018, the overall net worth of Americans has increased dramatically during the last 10 years. There are a significant number of affluent people in California and other states paying high income taxes still moving to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe on a regular basis. Both financial and quality of life benefits continue to motivate individuals and families to relocate to Incline Village and other communities in Nevada.
In 2019 there is a good possibility that there will be a slowdown for discretionary purchases of vacation properties not just at Lake Tahoe but all over the United States. The pace of sales for both 2017 and 2018 in Incline Village and Crystal Bay was well above historical norms and markets tend to trend toward the median over a long period time. However, buyers looking to relocate to Incline Village and other communities at Lake Tahoe as full-time residents will not be deterred. Even with the relatively high cost of housing in our area it pales in comparison to many communities in both Northern and Southern California. Sticker shock is not an issue for the vast majority of prospective buyers of Lake Tahoe real estate.
So, what does the winter of 2018 – 2019 portend? In our opinion, a certain percentage of buyers will choose to sit tight and see what happens with the financial markets and the shift in power in Washington DC over the next 3 to 6 months before making a decision. Some sellers will decide that now is the time to reduce their asking price and make a deal before the depths of winter set in and there is potentially more uncertainty in the atmosphere. It’s possible that property owners who have reaped substantial gains since 2012 may view early 2019 as a good time to sell due to the low inventory. With many other scenarios possible, it will make for an interesting start to the New Year for everyone connected to the Lake Tahoe real estate market.