Market for sellers

What will the Tahoe Real Estate Market look like for Sellers after COVID-19?

Market for sellers


Our previous post discussed how COVID-19 is affecting Tahoe for visitors as well as buyers and sellers. Click HERE to go to that post and read up on the current situation and how it may affect you. But what will the Tahoe real estate market look like for sellers once this is all over?

Many of our contacts and clients have asked us what we think will happen once this pandemic is all over and things get back to normal. For many sellers things are especially difficult with the unknowns in the economy and jobs. But the most common question from sellers right now is “will my property sell once this is all over?”.

Below we will try our best to give insights on what the market will look like for sellers specifically, using our years of experience. While being honest and factual, we cannot guarantee what will happen. All we can do is use past data and forecasts to generate a picture of what the future may hold.

As always, every sellers situation is different. We recommend you contact us so we can discuss your needs and create a custom plan for you.


Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent stay-at-home declarations in both California and Nevada, the market was in it’s normal seasonal cycle of a lull in the winter after having the usual peak last summer.


Below is a chart that shows the closed sales of single family homes and condos in South Lake Tahoe on a monthly basis for the past 3 years. You can see the numbers of closed sales go up in the summer, and down in the winter every year (condos stay around the same all year). This is our normal market cycle.

Normally, we would have seen an increase in closed sales starting in March or April. When March is over we will see what the numbers show. But we anticipate the number of closed sale will be flat and maybe drop. This is due to some escrows being canceled due to the buyers losing their jobs or having to close up their businesses. But we have also heard accounts of escrows still closing on time over the past few weeks.

For the future we do anticipate the number of closed sales will be much lower in April. We also anticipate the number of pending sales to be lower for March and April once the numbers are out for those months. Normally we see pending sales start to increase in March and April every year.


Finally, when you take a look at the median price for single family homes over the past 3 years you can see we have stayed pretty level around $480,000 since October 2018. Prices went up a bit to $485,000 in September 2019, but for the most part we have hovered around or just under $480,000 for over a year. That’s way up from our low point in August 2012 when we had a median of $235,000 (the bottom of the recession) and just under our highest peak in April 2006 of $490,000 (before the recession).


You might be thinking… “So what? I don’t really care about how the market was before, just tell me what will happen in the future.” But it is important to look back and see where we were when everything was put on hold, and use that to forecast what will happen when things open back up.

First of all, when you look at the graphs and data above you can see our market was acting normal with a lull in the winter and ready to ramp up for a busy summer once more. Prices were holding firm around a median of $480,000 and we had seen closed sales and pending sales follow normal trend lines.

One thing that had a lot of us thinking the market would be busier this coming summer is the continuing trend of lowering mortgage rates. There were models going around for the state of California as well as the entire Nation that showed the real estate market would continue to be strong through the summer. This was mainly due to the lower mortgage rates and low supply vs high demand we have seen over the past couple years.

So the experts were anticipating a busy summer for real estate, and locally we were anticipating the same thing based on the data we were seeing.


Now we look into our crystal ball.

We have to remember, at the time of me writing this post we are only about 3 weeks into the pandemic and 2 weeks into dealing with stay-at-home orders. But the strange thing is our clients continue to contact us asking questions about properties and even wanting to come to Tahoe to look at homes in person (which we cannot do as mentioned in our previous post).


There have been a few buyers who have told us they want to put their property search on hold and will re-evaluate their options when this is over. But others are still actively looking and are ready to buy as soon they can come to Tahoe and we can show them property again. So there are still willing and able buyers who are interested in Tahoe real estate.

Based on what we are already hearing we anticipate there will be a group of buyers, who have been sitting patiently just waiting, who will jump in and re-start the market when things open up. It is kind of like a pent-up demand that will break free as soon as the stay-at-home orders are lifted. These are mostly cash buyers or those who need to reinvest money out of a 1031 exchange sale.

It will take a little longer after things open up before all buyers are in a position to purchase again. This is mainly due to the loss of income many are experiencing right now, both for employees as well as business owners. It will probably take around 3 to 6 months before those buyers are back to a solid position and ready to buy. So for a few months the market will be made up mostly of cash buyers and investors.


Some sellers are using this time to re-evaluate things and may decide they want to keep their homes and don’t want to sell. Others will be more motivated to sell due to financial strain this situation is causing. Already we have seen sellers pull their properties off the market, deciding they will wait it out and possibly re-list later this year. So you will start to see fewer listings on the market over the next few weeks. But a few months after things open back up we should see listings back up to normal.

So sellers will be in a unique situation when things open up (hopefully soon)… there will be fewer listings to compete with and a bunch of cash buyers with pent-up demand ready to buy.


Right now it may seem like there isn’t anything a seller can do. But there is! Sellers should be using this time to do their research, read reviews, and find an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the location their property is located in. Then work with that agent to come up with a plan that is ready to go as soon as the stay-at-home orders drop.

The bottom line is… DON’T WAIT! You should act now to prepare to take advantage of the market as soon as it opens back up. Our team can assist you in getting your property ready to go live and out to thousands of buyers within minutes of things opening up again.

So get yourself ready to sell as soon as things open up… contact us now and we will go over your options and create a customized plan that works for you.


Remember, no one can tell you for certain what will happen with the market once the pandemic is over and we all get back to normal. But we do know a lot of what happens will depend on the following things:

  • How long this pandemic continues, both locally as well as world-wide
  • When stay-at-home orders are lifted for CA & NV as well as the rest of the country
  • When non-essential businesses are allowed to open back up
  • What economic stimulus gets delivered to consumers as well as businesses
  • What affect this has on mortgage companies and lending requirements


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