INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With so much activity in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay real estate market during the past several weeks I had to take a close look at the numbers and see if the anecdotal evidence matched up with the actual statistics. Looking back at the historical data, this has been the biggest July for real estate sales in our local market since 2005. With 37 properties closing escrow between July 1 and July 28, another 50 properties in escrow as of this writing and 21 places under contract with the seller awaiting lender approval, buyers and sellers are coming together in a way we have not seen in seven years.
The chart below shows the number of houses, condos and freestanding condos (PUDs) that closed escrow during the month of July every year from 2005 through 2012. These numbers are based on information gathered from the Incline Village Board of Realtors MLS on July 29, 2012. A few private transactions may not show up but they will not skew the figures to any significant degree.
Part of the increase in sales is due to the wealth effect from the stock market remaining above 12,000 for a sustained period of time. Also, a lot of people in Northern California are feeling the tax bite and finding that establishing residency on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe is a very attractive option. The quality of life, cheap commercial space and proximity to the Reno airport make it viable for individuals and businesses to relocate to Incline Village or Crystal Bay. And with property prices here being comparable or below those found in affluent communities in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, relocation buyers often trade straight across or may even put money in their pocket.
As our real estate market turns around it's interesting to note that all of the condos currently in escrow have asking prices under $550,000. The median price of a condo has become meaningless during the past couple of years as buyers have concentrated their purchases on the lower priced properties in this market sector. One used to be able to look at the price of a two-bedroom condo, subtract between 5 percent and 10 percent and roughly calculate the median price of a condo in Incline Village. This is no longer true. With the concentration of sales of budget priced condos under $250,000, many of which are for investment purposes, the median price has been skewed and does not reflect the stabilization of condo values that has occurred during the past 12 months.
The recent sale of a condo in a popular complex that got multiple offers and went into escrow in less than a week is evidence that buyers are more confident and willing to compete for the best properties with good floor plans that are attractively priced. In this particular situation, the owners of the property wanted a quick sale, priced the property accordingly and drew a tremendous amount of interest in a very short period of time. Had this property been offered at the exact same asking price two years ago it would certainly have attracted a buyer, but it’s unlikely that it would have produced a multiple offer situation due to the lower confidence levels back then.
During the past week the inventory of properties for sale declined once again continuing a very important trend that we have not seen in many summers. With more sellers pricing their properties realistically and buyers gaining confidence that the Incline Village / Crystal Bay real estate market has turned around, sales will most likely continue at a steady pace. Buyers shopping in the summer of 2012 will look back in a few years and appreciate the good timing they had by making a purchase this year. The combination of historically low interest rates, decade low prices and a market that is starting to trend upward will continue to attract buyers and drive sales activity during the second half of 2012.
— Don Kanare is a Realtor at RE/MAX Premier Properties. Read his blog and weekly stats on his website at www.InsideIncline.com.