Sales up 26% over last year as median price falls 16% from first quarter 2009

North Lake Tahoe and Truckee luxury home sales rose 26 percent in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period a year ago as a decline in prices attracted more buyers to the market, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Northern California.

A total of 24 million-dollar home sales were recorded in the Tahoe-Truckee region during the first quarter from January through March, up from 19 during the same period a year ago. The median sale price during the period was $1,297,500, down 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

While sales were up year over year, they did decline from the fourth quarter of last year when 35 luxury properties changed hands. However, sales historically have been higher in the fourth quarter as buyers and sellers rush to close transactions before year-end.

One encouraging sign was that sellers received an average of 92 percent of their asking price during the first quarter of 2010, up from 83 percent in the fourth quarter and just 77 percent a year ago.

The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in the region for more than $1 million.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s latest report indicates a high-end housing market that is starting to attract more buyers with prices that have declined in the aftermath of the nation’s severe recession.

“The drop in prices clearly is helping fuel a jump in luxury sales in the Tahoe area,” said Michael Lombardi, manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee region. “A lot of people who had been priced out of the market a few years ago are now finding that high-end homes are now within their reach.”

Lombardi added that, in general, consumer confidence appears to be on the rise in all segments of the local housing market, especially in comparison to a year ago when the nation’s economy was approaching the depths of the recession and the credit markets were seizing up.

“Buyers are becoming more confident about purchasing a home now as the economy continues to show positive signs of a recovery and the stock market moves higher,” he said.

“Buyers also understand that there are good values out there – especially in the high-end market, where prices have been discounted more than other segments.”

While Lombardi said the local housing market has been moving in the right direction over the past year, the rebound isn’t going to happen overnight.

“It’s important to remember that any road to recovery has its share of potholes and obstacles,” he said. “There are still challenges ahead for the housing market, including high unemployment and foreclosures.  Still, I’m encouraged by the general improvement over the past year.”

Some findings from the first quarter North Lake Tahoe-Truckee luxury report:

  • The most expensive sale last quarter was a four-bedroom, five-bath 3,427-square-foot home in Truckee that sold for $3.65 million;
  • Truckee boasted the most multi-million-dollar sales during the past quarter with 11, followed by Tahoe City with four;
  • Homes sold for 92 percent of their average list price, compared to 83 percent the previous quarter and 77 percent a year ago;
  • Homes were on the market an average of 322 days before selling compared to 235 a year ago and 161 in the fourth quarter.

The North Tahoe Luxury–Truckee Housing Report is a quarterly report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a specialist in high-end real estate sales. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company is recognized around the world for its expertise in the luxury housing market.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage serves the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee area with six offices: 531 North Lake Tahoe Blvd. in Tahoe City, 475 North Lake Tahoe Blvd. in Tahoe City, 12068 Donner Pass Road in Truckee, 10095 Dorchester Drive in Glenshire, 6921 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe Vista, and 2095 West Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City. For more information, please call 530.581.7779.