Wanted: Home sellers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wanted: Home sellers

by Sally J. Taylor

South Shore real estate agents hope warmer temperatures bring sellers into the market place. The buyers have already arrived.

“The biggest problem we face collectively is a shortage of inventory,” said real estate agent and broker Doug Rosner. “Listings are about 50 percent of normal.”

On Friday, Rosner, owner of Century 21 South Tahoe Realty, led a discussion on first quarter 1999 real estate trends with an eight-member panel representing the South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors Communications Committee.

The recently released report showed listings for the first quarter at 298.

It’s the lowest number Rosner remembers in his 20 years in the business. The previous record was 307 listings in 1989, he said.

Pat Colon, a broker for the Nevada-side Century 21 Tahoe Pines Realty, agreed.

“It’s a hot market,” she said. “I’m working day and night. I can’t do enough.

“Condo sales are going ballistic. Every oddball condo that had been on the market upwards of a year, is gone.”

A variety of factors have come together to drive the market: interest rates hovering near 7 percent, a healthy California economy, plenty of buyer programs that allow low-down payments, a burgeoning computer industry in the Bay Area, and bargain prices in Tahoe compared to other areas in the state.

With business hopping, properties don’t stick around long.

The average days in the market has decreased in Nevada from 220 in the first quarter of 1998 to 165 in 1999. On the California-side, it’s dropped from 160 to 120.

“The days on the market is pretty dramatic,” said Marc Royer, broker and agent for Coldwell Banker, McKinney & Associates. “It pretty much reflects the market.”

Expensive property with views and other properties with extra benefits often get multiple offers. Some properties sell within hours of being listed.

“If a buyer (from the Bay Area) can’t get up in time, it’s too late,” said Frank Ruacho, president of the board and a broker with Aspen Selective Realty.

Anxious buyers no longer consider it a necessity to take a close look at a prospective purchase. Due to the fast turn-around of desirable property, Ruacho said buyers who have missed a few chances have commissioned their agents to make an offer for them.

Other buyers make offers based on information and photos seen on the Internet, a growing trend in real estate worldwide.

The low inventory and rapid sales is more amazing given the time of year – winter.

“Normally, May is active,” said Adele Lucas broker and co-owner of The Prudential California Realty. “This year March was as active as May normally is.”

While buyers aren’t waiting for the dirty snow to melt to shop for property, the agents hope sellers will start coming out along with the flowers.

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