Local market stays strong despite economic trends | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local market stays strong despite economic trends

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A sign in the window of this house shows homes are staying on the market longer, forcing some sellers to reconsider their pricing.

Home prices remain strong in the South Lake Tahoe area, despite an uncertain economy, stagnant job growth and a June inventory nearly doubling the 300 listings from a year ago.

The median sales price for a single family home in the South Lake Tahoe area in June was $485,000, up $75,000 from 2005. And some neighborhood homes listed have gone up in the double digits such as Tahoe Island Park’s 25 percent leap to $489,000.

“What are down are the transactions,” said Theresa Souers with Century 21, Tahoe Paradise, after a meeting among local real estate agents that hosted a California Association of Realtors economist.

While 216 homes have sold this year, 575 remain active with the bulk of the sales taking more than four months to complete, according to the multiple listing service from the South Tahoe Association of Realtors.

The number of listings in El Dorado County have also gone up to 1,700. That’s 1,000 more than the number recorded in January 2003.

With the explosive growth from the West Slope to Sacramento, Souers is more optimistic about the future trends in South Lake Tahoe.

“Where do you think these people will buy a second home?” she asked.

Some agents are also seeing a wave of movement from the other side of the hill, as residents who left Lake Tahoe for more affordable housing are able to move back as their property values rise.

Kelly Peterson, who works at Coldwell Banker, McKinney and Associates, moved to Gardnerville in 2002 to buy a home for $146,000. She sold it for $292,000 for a bigger home priced at $330,000. She plans to soon list that house for $430,000, putting her within range to return to Tahoe.

“I spend $700 in gas,” she mentioned as one reason for wanting to return.

There are others like the value of time. She wants to save in driving time to and from work. Plus, there’s the quality of life with two young girls, ages 10 months and 7 years old.

“I think this is a trend,” Coldwell Banker agent Peggy Eichhorn said.

Agreeing was agent and broker Davey Paiva, who’s worked in property management for 28 years and runs her own firm.

“People want to live here, and real estate is a long term sale,” she said.

A survey conducted by the California Association of Realtors had found that 80 percent of those buying a home do so to live in it, association economist Leslie Appleton-Young pointed out Tuesday. The other 20 percent purchase a house as an investment.

“That’s why the job market is so important,” she said.

South Lake Tahoe’s June unemployment is 6.2 percent – not the worst or the best for the county. In comparison, Placerville is 6.9 percent on the high end. On the low side, Cameron Park came in at 3.1 percent. El Dorado County’s jobless claims totaled 4.5 percent.

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