You may know that South Lake Tahoe has become one of the country most popular resort destinations. But have you thought about it as an investment opportunity? Even in a challenging real estate market, South Lake Tahoe reigns as one of California's top-advised real estate investment areas.
In Lake Tahoe's vibrant real estate market, inventory is approximately twice that of 2005. Median home prices are slightly lower and sellers are negotiating more than ever. It's a buyer's market!
Adding to the lure of the area, word is spreading that South Lake Tahoe's next redevelopment phase is underway and gaining national attention. Most important, though, is the enthusiasm following Vail's purchase of South Tahoe's Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort. It's almost certain that today's lower values will not last long.
The following reasons are why Lake Tahoe real estate is primed for investors.
1) Large Inventory = More Buyer Options. As of August 26, 2007, there were 586 single family residences for sale with 56 currently in escrow. This inventory is considerably higher than the 366/96 reported in August, 2005 (although slightly less than the 594/46 reported August 31, 2006).
2) Affordable Prices. Affordability is South Lake Tahoe's charm. When compared to other international resort areas, South Lake Tahoe's median home price of $ 463,000 is a fraction of those found in Aspen, Colorado ($ 1,199,700), Vail, CO ($ 791,000) Park City, Utah ($ 605,000), and our neighbor Tahoe City ( $ 1,001,500.) Likewise, when compared to California's median home price of $ 586,030, South Lake Tahoe's property values are absolute bargains-with the lake, mountains, blue sky and pristine seasons as bonuses.
3) Buyer's Market = Negotiation Leverage. Supply, demand, and consumer confidence have played an immense role in buyer negotiating strength. As is common in the South Lake Tahoe real estate market, when summer begins to wane, sellers become more anxious to sell. In a nutshell, they want to close escrow prior to the first snowfall. As long as inventory is up (more homes for sale), there's more room for buyers to negotiate the sales price and other accommodations. As an example of this type of leverage, during 2005, the average home sold for approximately 98.5% of the list price. Today, the average home is selling for 95.8% of the original list price.
4) Expansive Redevelopment. Following many years of planning, dreaming and hoping, the next phase of South Lake Tahoe's redevelopment phase is underway. Rundown motels, shops and similar structures have been demolished to make way for future developments. Some examples of future developments include a 71,000 square foot convention center and two hotel-condominiums featuring boutique shops, entertainment and proximity to nearly all that the South Lake Tahoe Stateline area. Developers are anticipating this project to bring in approximately 180,000 visitors a year.
The Time Is Right to Invest In South Lake Tahoe Realty
South Lake Tahoe's real estate values have generally escaped the dramatic declines that have so adversely impacted various regions of the state throughout the years. According to Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors®, "With credit drying up in recent weeks, we expect further weakness in sales over the next few months". She continued by adding that the sales declines will be driven by both tighter underwriting standards due to the sub-prime mortgage crises and the adverse psychological impact of news and information regarding increases in foreclosures and mortgage defaults.
At the same time, a door seems to have been opened in South Lake Tahoe. According to a recent article in Inman News, one in five economists surveyed predicted a "meaningful" recovery in US housing markets before the second half of 2008. About 38 percent expected a recovery in the second half of 2008, while 42 percent said housing markets won't turn around until 2009 or later. Our recommendation is to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented within the coming months.
For us personally as well as professionally, we have found that owning Lake Tahoe real estate is a far more enjoyable way in which to watch your investments grow when compared to other options. When given the choice of sitting on a lake beach and swishing down world-class ski slopes vs. pulling out our hair out watching the stock market, our choice is clear.