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Incline Village and Crystal Bay Housing Update

July 27, 2022 | John Crockett

Lofty prices, low inventory, and a fast rising cost of living are housing market factors that are not unique to Incline Village.  While these conditions exist nationwide, additional impacts from second home owners now occupying properties year-round and the beauty magnet that is Lake Tahoe place additional strain on buyers.  As interest rates continue to climb the number of listings are increasing, some with price cuts, although a seller’s market persists in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.     

Currently in Incline Village and Crystal Bay, there are 102 single family residences and just 49 condominiums on the market, according to Gail Krolick with Alpine Realty.  At a time when the market is seasonally more active, these figures surprise Incline Board of Realtors President Brad Lewis.  “Pre-2020 we would see at least 75% more inventory listed in the single family residence category.”  And for condominiums?  “There ought to be closer to 90 of those property types listed.  The market has gone haywire.”

Also lower compared to pre-pandemic is the average days on the market for these listings.  In past years, a listing in Incline Village and Crystal Bay area could be on the market for 100 days or more, given the smaller base of buyers and higher tolerance on both sides of the transaction.  “The tolerance has shifted,” says Lewis.  “Everything is turned upside down.  The numbers show that things are selling much more quickly.  The pace of which, particularly in the condo category, units are going on the market and flying right off…it’s quite interesting to watch.”  The average number of days on the market is 35 days for single family residences (52 days for condos), a mark well below historical averages for the area.

The Bay Area and San Diego are traditional feeder markets for Incline Village and Crystal Bay but Lewis is also seeing more buyers coming from the pacific northwest and Texas.  “Buyers coming from out of market are saying, ‘It’s the time.’  The world has had this paradigm shift and if I can work remotely, why not the paradise that is Incline Village,” says Lewis.  

Krolick has also noticed more second-home owners occupying their properties.  “People were leasing their homes that they were using once or twice a year.”  But after 2020, “they’re living here now, they like Incline, and are here year-round.  But it’s still a seller’s market.”  

And as with other resort communities in the west such as Bear, Breckenridge, and Jackson, the area has experienced substantial median price increases.  The median sale price for a single family residence went from $1.1 million in 2020 to $2.47 million in 2022 (a 125% increase), while condos rose from $500,000 to $765,000 over that time (a 53% increase).  Combine rapid appreciation with rising interest rates and buying power is reduced for those who may not have the buying power of those driving this voracious market.

“The monthly mortgage payment today compared to that same home a year ago, the effect of cost increase, between appreciation and interest rates, is actually 55% more expensive this year.  That’s a compounding factor, it’s really significant,” says Lewis.  In terms of housing affordability in this community for locals and employees, “there are forces beyond our control.”

Gail Krolick does see the challenge for buyers looking to break into the Incline market.  “I do worry about first-time home buyers but there are options.  If you save properly, you can make it happen.”  This decrease in buying power will be exacerbated by another interest rate increase announced today by the Federal Reserve at their July meeting.  As more buyers give pause, expect to see more listings, some price cuts, and a slight increase in the number of days on the market for the Incline Village and Crystal Bay housing market.       

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Local Resources for Building or Reconstructing a Home in Tahoe

May 17, 2022 | Kayla Anderson

As we get into the summer building season, you may be thinking about how to begin that bathroom or kitchen remodel you’ve been dreaming about, or that deck or chimney you need to get rebuilt after last winter’s wet and heavy snowstorms. Or maybe you just bought a plot of land that you want to build a custom home on or are planning a full renovation. 

Therefore, if you need an excellent architect, engineer, or building company to help you get started (or even accompanying services such as a commercial cleaning/sanitizing crew), one that understands what works and doesn’t in the North Lake Tahoe environment, we have some recommendations of prestigious firms that are right here close to home: 

Greenwood Homes

Licensed to build homes in California, Nevada, and Hawaii, Greenwood Homes is an award-winning general contractor that specializes in creating gorgeous custom homes all around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond. Just look at its 6,000-sq.-ft. “Fairway Modern” home in Incline Village that won the 2019 Tahoe Quarterly Mountain Home Award with its light-filled simple beauty, and you’ll see what sets Greenwood Homes apart from the rest. 

James Costalupes General Contractor, Inc. 

James “Jim” Costalupes and his team have been conceptualizing and building homes in Lake Tahoe for more than three decades, all while keeping its stellar reputation for maintaining honest communication and giving forthright advice to its clients as it meets local and regional regulations down to the final walk-through. Headquartered in Incline Village, Jim prides himself on keeping a company that provides utmost craftsmanship and knowledge while keeping budget in mind. View James Costalupes’ portfolio online.

Smith Design Group

Based in Incline Village right on Country Club Boulevard, the Smith Design Group is an architecture and planning firm that has worked on everything from the Jack Rabbit Moon building to the Incline Skate Park. Along with dedicating themselves to enhancing and enriching the local environment for all of the community to enjoy, Smith Design Group has worked on the architectural projects for residential homes including “Pinecone” featuring knotted polished floor-to-ceiling wood finishings and sleek stone fireplaces to the interior bathroom remodel of a Mays Boulevard location that has a contemporary stand-alone bathtub, double sinks, and glass encased shower like what you would find at a five-star resort. Visit the Smith Design Group online.

Elise Fett Architect 

Integrating aesthetics, site characteristics, sustainable housing methods, and structural integrity in every project that it engages in, Crystal Bay’s Elise Fett & Associates specializes in architecture, engineering, and TRPA consulting for residential homes in the Lake Tahoe area. Along with building new homes, Elise Fett can provide cost-effective blueprints for home remodels that reflect their inhabitants’ personalities and lifestyles. “The construction process can be intimidating and full of unexpected surprises, but if you work with us, the one thing you know for sure is that we will listen to you and design a space that truly reflects your style,” the company proclaims. Learn more about Elise Fett.

Other Accompanying Services

After building or remodeling your custom Tahoe home, you may need some final additions like a keyless entry system or a cleaning company to help keep your Tahoe haven peaceful and secure. Here are some Incline Village/Crystal Bay property services that are great to work with: 

North Lake Tahoe Cleaning 

Whether you own one property or several, North Lake Tahoe Cleaning group is a professional commercial cleaning business that handles carpets, linen service, and sanitizing spaces so that you don’t have to. Working with property management companies, second homeowners, and short-term rentals as well, North Lake Tahoe Cleaning has spiffed up more than 2400 homes in its 38 years of business. As it says on its website, “You live and work in North Tahoe to ski the slopes of Northstar and paddle the beaches of Incline Village- not to hang out after work cleaning your office. Leave that to us.” 

Lake Tahoe Lockshop

Based right there in the Christmas Tree Village sandwiched between Crosby’s and the new Happy Tiers Bakery, Lake Tahoe Lockshop is your one-stop-shop for everything security-related. Padlocks, latches, key blanks, store-a-key lockboxes, and miscellaneous key accessories can be found in the store, along with high-security ASSA locks, keyless entry systems, and Schlage/Kwikset/Baldwin combination code keypads. If they don’t have it, they’ll order it, and you can install it yourself or Lake Tahoe Lockshop can do it for you. It’s open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Visit Lake Tahoe Lockshop online

Sierra Mobile Storage

Many homeowners find they need extra storage as they approach a building or renovation. Luke and Staci Stevenson’s Sierra Mobile Storage offer portable, attractive weatherproof storage and moving containers in two sizes and two styles, including a Tahoe-forest themed wrap. Storage containers can be delivered to remain onsite so you can access all your belongings and materials during the project or moved to their secure storage yard until you are ready to have them delivered back to your project. Think Inside the Box! Call Sierra Mobile Storage at 775-549-3333. Visit online to see the Tahoe wrapped version.

Additional Information About North Lake Tahoe Construction Season

To help preserve Tahoe’s natural environment, there are regulations and restrictions about new construction projects and upgrading existing homes. Along with going through the usual procedure of getting permits through the building department, the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Association) decides if you can even build a home and if so, how big it can be. Permits to build a new house from the ground up can cost $25,000-$35,000 alone for a 1500-3000 square foot space, so that’s something to consider when launching your project. The window to complete new construction (because of weather) is between May 1-October 15. For more information about this process, click here.

Happy Building!

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