Truckee named No. 1 coolest ski town in North America

There’s no place quite like Truckee when it comes to North America’s ski towns, and Matador Network, a social networking site for travelers, recently ranked Truckee as the No. 1 coolest ski town in North America for 2018.

With numerous mountain resorts only a short drive away, and the town’s place in the history of skiing and snowboarding, Matador Network described Truckee as, “rad because it sits in the middle of more ski areas than anywhere else in the West, and yet has none of the glitz of places like Aspen or Jackson.”

The Tahoe-Truckee area features 14 downhill ski resorts within close proximity, and it’s that abundance of winter playgrounds that Matador Networks cited as a reason for Truckee’s inclusion on the list of the 21 coolest ski towns in North America.

“It’s kind of for everybody,” said Scott Brannon, who is Director of Strategic Relationships for Matador Network. “Whether you’re going on the high luxury end there’s something for you, or if you’re a family or a snowboarder, Truckee’s for everybody … it’s not trying to prove anything.”

One factor in Truckee’s inclusion is its ties to the history of winter sports, and few places exemplify that like Squaw Valley Ski Resort.

“It’s such a unique area with so many resorts in close proximity,” said Sam Kieckhefer Public Relations Coordinator for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “Squaw is especially unique in its history. Hosting the Olympics in 1960 put Squaw, Lake Tahoe and Truckee on the map as a ski destination and it’s supported that reputation ever since.”

Other nearby resorts, such as Northstar California Resort and Boreal Mountain Resort with its partner Woodward Tahoe, have added to the area’s legacy of pushing the possibilities of what can be done on skis or on a snowboard; while local high school and mountain ski teams have continued the tradition of churning out some of the nation’s top skiers and snowboarders.

“The area as a whole is so unique,’ said Kieckhefer, who’s held a season pass at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for 18 years. “It’s one of the coolest ski towns and one of the coolest adventure towns. The North Tahoe area has such a special history … and I’ve seen it grow, there’s been a revival over the past few years — the future is bright for this area.”

Truckee’s growth over the past few years, with its ski resorts and new downtown businesses, is part of the reason it was chosen, but through all that change, the town’s ability to retain its blue collar image is why Brannon said he called out Truckee when asked about North America’s coolest mountain towns by the staff at Matador Network.

Also making the cut from Matador Network were small ski towns like Valdez, Alaska at No. 3 and Burke, Vt. at No. 11, up to more popular resort destinations like Whistler, British Columbia at No. 16.

Towns from British Columbia and Colorado garnered the most attention with four locations apiece on the list; while resort town’s on the East Coast picked up four nods as well. Truckee and Mammoth Lakes were California’s only two towns chosen.

Matador Network was founded in 2006, according to its website, and is the world’s largest independent travel publisher, with more than 8 million unique monthly visitors. The company specializes in travel media and utilizes a global network of editors, writers, filmmakers, and photographers to produce content.

The company also runs the mobile app travelstoke, which allows travelers to create a profile, and then get advice and offers on places to stay or information on places of interest.

“If you’re looking for a cool hike or a burger, you can ask questions about a place and the question will get routed to a person that’s there,” said Brannon. “We’re trying to build a community of travelers and adventurers.”

Staff writer Justin Scacco can be reached at 530-550-2643 or via email at jscacco@sierrasun.com

What to Look Forward to in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2017

Two happy young girl friends celebrating with raised arms in a convertible parked in front of the beach at sunsetThe new year is officially here. And that brings with it a fresh slate of activity around the Golden State. With restaurant openings, can’t-miss events and other “only in California” happenings to get you excited about calling California home, 2017 has a lot to offer.

Here’s what we’re most excited about in Los Angeles and San Francisco this year.

 

Best Food Transplants

Los Angeles 

San Francisco’s famed Tartine Manufactory (that of freshly baked bread and long lines) is set to open in Los Angeles this year, a project that is over two years in the making. The Downtown LA location will be three times the size of the SF original, offering a casual breakfast and lunch operation with a full dinner service. And Tartine isn’t alone in its southern California venture. Other San Francisco originals moving to LA: The Slanted Door, a James Beard Outstanding Restaurant offering modern Vietnamese fare, and Craftsman & Wolves, a famed San Francisco patisserie from James Beard–nominated chef William Werner.

San Francisco

For a city that doesn’t have a traditional “summer,” San Francisco sure boasts an impressive ice cream game. No matter the temperature, folks line up in droves for a sweet scoop of Bi-Rite, Humphry Slocombe, Three Twins or Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous. Now, add Portland-based Salt and Straw to the mix. Coming to both Fillmore Street and Hayes Valley, the SF outposts will feature a menu of flavors created just for San Francisco. And the cherry on top? All Salt & Straw locations in San Francisco will benefit local schools.

 

Hottest Ticket in Town

Los Angeles and San Francisco

It must take something exceptional to become the hottest ticket in town in two major metropolitan cities. Enter, “Hamilton.”

The blockbuster Broadway musical kicks off its national tour at the SHN Orpheum Theater in San Francisco on March 10 through August 5. Following the San Francisco run, “Hamilton” swings into the Pantages Theatre for a five-month engagement in Los Angeles.

The Tony and Pulitzer-winning pop culture juggernaut sold out both cities almost as quickly as tickets went on sale despite steep prices. For those who didn’t score a ticket during the initial sale, the theatres will release limited $10 day-of tickets via an online lottery.

 

Most Anticipated Opening (or Reopening)

Los Angeles

The Marciano Art Foundation, an alternative contemporary art museum from Guess co-founders Paul and Maurice Marciano, will open this spring inside a renovated former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard near Koreatown. The museum is reported to be free and open to the public.

San Francisco 

Built in 1922, the Curran is set to reopen after a major restoration and renovation under the curation of eight-time Tony Award winner Carole Shorenstein Hays. In addition to a new look, the Curran aims to be a venue for producing edgier, less populist work and will reopen on January 25 with “Fun Home,” the groundbreaking 2015 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical.

 

Best Way to Burn Calories

Los Angeles

Among the largest marathons in the country with more than 25,000 participants, the LA Marathon is also one of the most scenic. Following an exciting “Stadium to the Sea” course, starting at Dodger Stadium and finishing near the Santa Monica Pier, runners embark on a tour of Los Angeles passing major landmarks such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Capitol Records Building, TCL Chinese Theatre, the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive. Registration is now open for the March 19 event.

San Francisco

Known for drawing creative costumes and tens of thousands of participants and spectators, the 100 year+ annual tradition of Bay to Breakers is a true “only in San Francisco” event. The 2017 edition will take place on May 21 and once again draw a mix of serious runners and rambunctious revelers.

 

Most Colorful Cultural Celebration

Los Angeles

The highly-anticipated second edition of Pacific Standard Time, a regionwide exhibition led by the Getty, will begin on September 15 and continue through January 31, 2018. Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA (or Los Angeles/Latin America) is an extraordinary collaboration across more than 70 cultural institutions in Southern California offering exhibitions, programs and events on the subject of Latin American and Latino art.

San Francisco

2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967, when nearly 100,000 young people descended upon the streets of San Francisco to join a cultural revolution. In tribute, San Francisco is planning a yearlong celebration of its counter-culture including exhibitions, performances, literary events and tribute concerts at venues throughout the city.

 

Greatest Way to Get Your Grub On

Los Angeles

Dine L.A. Winter Restaurant Week kicks of January 13-27 when L.A.’s best restaurants of all prices and cuisines offer fix-priced lunch and dinner menus at a discount for two weeks of adventuresome dining across Los Angeles. And, because two weeks of decadent dining aren’t enough, Dine L.A. returns in July for a two-week summer installment, followed shortly after by LA Food and Wine on August 24-27, a four-day epicurean event showcasing the finest in food and drink culture throughout Los Angeles.

San Francisco

Kick off the culinary year on January 18-29 with SF Restaurant Week, a celebration of San Francisco’s world-class dining community featuring nearly 130 restaurants throughout the city offering special prix-fixe menus. Then, come August, pull out the elastic pants for Eat Drink SF, the Bay Area’s premier annual food, wine, beer and spirits festival with four days of delicious events that feature 160+ restaurants and 70+ different beer, wine, spirits and cocktails.

 

Best “New” Sports Scene

Los Angeles

Let’s just pretend the dismal LA Rams inaugural season didn’t happen, okay? The new Rams season kicks off on September 10. And you never know, maybe 2017 will be the year of the Ram.

San Francisco

Professional soccer is coming to San Francisco. Founded by a diverse group of entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Brazil, the San Francisco Deltas will begin play in March at Golden Gate Park’s legendary Kezar Stadium, the original home of the San Francisco 49ers.

 

California Home’s Top Ten Posts of 2016

There’s no doubt that 2016 has been an eventful and busy year for many.

Here on California Home, we published over 325 posts this year. From providing insight on local real estate markets to taking you inside some of the state’s most luxurious homes and offering fun event, recipe and décor ideas, our group of talented writers have brought you an array of real estate and lifestyle content to make it through this memorable year.

With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, we’re reviewing the posts that garnered the most attention this year.

In case you missed any, or just want to take a second look, here are the most read California Home blog posts from 2016:

 

Bay Area has Three of Five Most “Profitable” Housing Markets in America
A look at the three Bay Area housing markets that made it on RealtyTrac’s top five list of the most “profitable” housing markets in America.

Top Lessons Learned at Gen Blue 2016 That Can Help Your Business Today
A highlight of some of the hottest topics, such as smart home technology, video and global networking, to come out of Coldwell Banker’s annual Gen Blue conference.

A “Little” Good News for Frustrated Bay Area Homebuyers
Why Bay Area homebuyers can feel some relief compared to the market last year.

New Report Shows Continued Strength in Bay Area Housing as 2016 Begins
A look back at the 2015 Bay Area and national housing markets and forecasts for 2016.

Tips for Homebuyers in a Hot Seller’s Market
Tips on how to “survive” the house-hunting wars and help increase your chances of getting a home of your own.

Robin Williams’ Napa Valley Estate Sells for $18 Million
A glimpse inside Villa Sorriso, the Napa Valley estate of the beloved late comedian Robin Williams, which sold for $18.1 million.

Another Record for Bay Area Home Prices, New Report Shows
Bay Area home prices continued to move higher in June, according to a report by CoreLogic.

Extraordinary Home of the Week: The Elrod House in Palm Springs
A tour of the Elrod House, a hallmark property in Palm Springs. Praised for its relationship to nature and sense of drama, this futuristic looking home has more than stood the test of time – it has surpassed it.

What If California Became an Independent Nation?
What the “Republic of California” might look like if the state became its very own nation.

Noted Housing Analyst Robert Shiller Says Market Not in a Bubble
Novel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller’s account that the U.S. housing market is approaching “bubble” territory.

 

Bonus: Some of Our Favorite Posts from the Past Year

White after Labor Day: Ode to the White Kitchen
Forget the old rule of white-wearing etiquette. Tips to create a dazzling white kitchen space.

A Tale of Two Surf Cities
Where is the real Surf City, USA? Examine the case for both contenders: Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz.

A Patient Hero: Learning About One of Lucile Packard’s Big Dreamers
A conversation with Lili, a Patient Hero for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Learn the story of an exceptional child that was supported during Coldwell Banker’s “Give Where You Live” campaign.

Visit California’s Nine National Parks in One Epic Road Trip
The ultimate road trip through all the national parks in California to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.

The Death of the Great Room?
Coldwell Banker Independent Sales Associates share their views on the popular great room concept.

Petaluma: About Town with Martha O’Hayer and Nicole Marzo
Coldwell Banker Sales Associates Martha O’Hayer and Nicole Marzo offer an insiders’ tour of Petaluma, revealing all of the hidden gems of the charming Sonoma County town.

 

 

Winter Solstice: Roll Out the Welcome Mat for the Lake Tahoe 2016-2017 Ski Season

Winter Solstice: Roll Out the Welcome Mat for the Lake Tahoe 2016-2017 Ski Season

Ski bums rejoice! It’s the first day of winter — which means it’s officially time to start dreaming of fresh, deep powder frosting the Sierra Nevadas. As the winter storms continue to roll in, California’s top ski resorts are open and basking in all of their dump alert glory. Of course, all eyes are on Lake Tahoe as the Sierra Nevada snow sports mecca is expected to receive 350–400 inches of snow this season. Some areas could potentially reach snow depths between five and eight percent higher than their average.

If you’re headed up to the Lake Tahoe area over the next few weeks during the holidays, you’ll find skiable conditions and a host of attractions to satisfy the snow bunnies in the family.  Here’s a list of fun things to see and do while you’re frolicking in this gorgeous winter wonderland.

1. Hit the Slopes at the New Northstar 

village-at-northstar

If you were one of those people who nicknamed Northstar “Flatstar,” you’re going to be in for a surprise this year.  Vail Resorts, which took a long-term lease on the resort in 2010, has remade Northstar to attract upscale skiers. There’s plenty of blue intermediate runs — ideal for families with younger kids — and a newly expanded backside with a more off-piste feel and tree skiing. The Village at Northstar also got a total facelift, with new open fire pits, a skating rink, live music, a bungee trampoline, a movie theater, wine bars, a yoga studio and high-end shops and restaurants — more than enough activity to keep non-skiers entertained.  L.A. Times recently called Northstar “one of the poshest ski hills in California,” making it worth a visit this season.

On December 22, the resort will host its annual Noel Night on Dec. 22, complete with horse-drawn sleigh rides, complimentary ice skating, s’mores and hot cocoa by the fire pits, special shopping and dining offers and more. There’s also an ice skating performance by the Sacramento Skating Group.

2.  Warm up at Tahoe Mountain Brewery

tahoe_mountain_draft

Head to Truckee, considered the central gateway for the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, for some good old fashioned brew pub drinking at Tahoe Mountain Brewery.  To start, pair the Hop Dragon Double Imperial ($8), Paddleboard Pale Ale or half a dozen other choices with deep-fried pretzel bites ($7) and cheddar-bacon burgers ($13). Then refill your growler in the Truckee taproom, which has 15 brews on tap, including Hot Pants, a Berlinerweisse, and a new brettanomyces Party Boy IPA. The brewpub is open for lunch and dinner Thursday-Monday at 4 N. Lake Blvd. The Truckee taproom is open Thursday-Sunday at 10990 Industrial Way.

3. Go the Distance with Tahoe Cross Country 

Downhill skiing isn’t your cup of tea? Get some exercise on the 65 kilometer trail system that is known as Tahoe Cross Country. Machine-groomed daily with state of the art Prinoth snow groomers, the system includes 21 separate trails leading skiers and snowshoers through beautiful Ponderosa Pine and White Fir forest, into open meadows, and up to stunning views of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding peaks. If you get a chill, don’t worry: there are three trailside warming huts that provide free hot chocolate or tea. Another plus: there are eight kilometers of dog-friendly trails.

4. Celebrate North Tahoe’s Olympic History at Granlibakken Tahoe

If you want a taste of history, go to Granlibakken Resort, located on 74 wooded acres about a half a mile from Tahoe City on Tahoe’s west shore. As the site of a ski area with a history that goes back to the heyday of Tahoe Tavern, the resort is known for a small ski jumping area, once called Olympic Hill. On Christmas Eve from 4-8 p.m., Granlibakken (a Norwegian name meaning “a hill sheltered by trees”) will host a Christmas Torchlight Parade, followed by hot chocolate, s’mores and pictures with Santa.

5. Live on the Edge at Hansen’s Snow Tube and Saucer Hill

What better way to spend the holidays with the family as watch everyone laugh as they sled down the hill? Of course, the Lake Tahoe area is teeming with great choices for snowparks — but Hansen’s Resort Snow Tubing and Saucer Hill is one of the most famous. Spanning approximately 400 feet long, the park is open to all ages and offers a convenient walkway up the side of the run that makes for an easier way back to the top even for the little ones. There’s also an easy-to-view area for parents.  The cost is $20 per person for the first hour, and $15 per person for additional hours. Kids aged four and under tube for free when accompanied by a paying adult.

6. Glam it Up at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe 

ritz-featured

Maybe you prefer hot toddies and Uggs to teeth chattering on the chair lift. Look no further than The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. You’ll find a luxe après ski experience at Marshmology and a champagne bar at the fire pit. There’s also a mountainside spa and a vibrant children’s program provides opportunities to connect with our mountain setting in meaningful ways. Bonus: the resort is near shopping, dining and a variety of activities available in the Village at Northstar and historic downtown Truckee. Luxurious accommodations range from two, three and four bedroom Residential Suites for vacation home rentals. For a little family fun from Dec. 18-20 from 4-5:30 p.m., you can also create personalized gingerbread houses with the kids with the help of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe pastry chef. (Reserve your space 48 hours in advance by calling 530-562-3000 ext. 3051.)

7. Tour Two Must-See Luxury Mountain Homes 

14195-glades-exterior_high_2550062

 

 

Lake Tahoe’s Best Off-Season Activities

With Labor Day approaching, the alpine paradise of Lake Tahoe is getting ready for its summer swan song. Now that the kids are going back to school and people are concluding their sunny vacations, a quieter, less hectic period is on the lake’s horizon.

This period, known as the off-season or swing season, takes place from September to November and is one of two times a year when foot-traffic is at a low, bringing fewer crowds, less traffic, better rates for hotels and houseshares and an overall calmer, more relaxed atmosphere. The other stretch takes place during the spring season from March through May.

Although Tahoe is mostly known for its snow and beach activities, the area also offers plenty of fun things to do for the in-between times. From jet skiing, parasailing, boating and hiking to biking, bungee jumping and hang-gliding, Tahoe is the place to be during the spring and fall seasons.

Whether a local living in Tahoe year round or a visitor looking for a relaxing getaway, here are ten of our favorite things to do in Tahoe that don’t involve snow skis or beach umbrellas.

Horseback Riding

Beautiful girl riding her bay stallion as one in field.

Enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe as you ride through mountaintops and ridges, upland meadows and hiking trails.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Camping

Little girl and brothers are camping in a tent in a sunny forest. Kids aged 5 and 9 are smiling happiliy sitting inside of blue tent. Sunny summer day. Slightly soft.

With an abundance of camping sites that each offer a different natural environment, you can be sure Lake Tahoe has a spot that perfectly fits your unique camping style.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Fishing

Unrecognizable child and man fishing together on the river.

A number of fish call Lake Tahoe home, including Lake (Mackinaw), Brown and Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon. You can catch one (or a few) at one of Lake Tahoe’s streams, rivers or other smaller bodies of water.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Hiking

Three kids hiking in forest on a sunny spring day. Kids are walking on a path. There are wearing backpacks and holding sticks. Beautiful fresh green nature is surrounding them.

There’s no better way to explore the Sierra Nevada wilderness than to hike up some of Lake Tahoe’s many trails. You’ll discover what the phrase “close to nature” is all about.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Golfing

Golf ball on the lawn

North Lake Tahoe provides six championship and four executive courses to fulfill your golfing fix. South Lake Tahoe, on the other hand, has six distinctive courses, including Edgewood Tahoe, one of the top-ranked (and most scenic) public golf courses in the country. Score some serious points in these expansive and gorgeous spaces.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Jet Skiing

Family having fun riding a water scooter on the sea.

Ride through beautiful Lake Tahoe in style. With gorgeous views, crystal blue water and a killer vehicle, jet skiing offers a face-paced and fun-fueled way to tour the region.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Ziplining

Young healthy woman enjoying zip-lining on a canopy tour adventure in the rain forest in northern Laos, sunny summer day.

Enjoy the incredible views of Lake Tahoe from the 20+ zip lines of Tahoe Vista Treetop Adventure Park or as you glide through the sky on Heavenly Resort’s 3,300 foot long zip line. Your adrenaline will be going through the roof!

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Hot Air Ballooning

Hot air balloon against the blue sky.

An experience like no other. If you’ve never tried floating above the clouds in a hot air balloon, then Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to lift off. Enjoy views of Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake and the Desolation Wilderness.

South Lake Tahoe

 

Boat Riding

Three happy teenage friends enjoying in a speedboat ride.

Explore Tahoe by boat. Charter your own yacht, embark on a sailing adventure or enlist a knowledgeable captain to be your personal tour guide.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

Wine Tasting  

Group of unrecognizable caucasian adults tasting and evaluating different wines. Writing down the characteristics. Appearance, aroma and bouquet, taste and texture, aftertaste, and overall impression.

Get a taste of Northern California’s great wines by taking a wine tasting adventure! Uncorked Tahoe City lets you sip on a large selection of wines from around the world as you look upon North Lake Boulevard near the beaches and experience epic views of Lake Tahoe. And Tahoe Tastings’ small group, semi-private tours will take you around the area from Tahoe Keys to Emerald Bay in a water taxi as you sip on some delicious wine.

North Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

 

 

 

North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Real Estate: No Signs of Slowing Down

Coldwell Banker 2016 Real Estate Market Report | North Lake Tahoe-Truckee | July 16-July 31

 

RESIDENTIAL SALES SUMMARY                                                                                    

Total Residential Sales:  Through the first seven months of 2016, residential sales continue to significantly outpace sales for the same period in 2015.  Sales through July 31 are up 15% from the previous year with a total of 744 residential properties sold in the market as compared to 644 sales in 2015 for the same period.  Of the total sales in the market this year, 583 have been single-family homes, while 161 have been condominium sales.  Condominiums represent 22% of total sales.  In 2015 for the same period, there were 511 single-family homes sold and 133 condominium sales.  Condominiums represented 21% of the sales in 2015.

July 16th through July 31st Sales:  The last two weeks of July saw 72 properties sold in the market, which is the single highest two-week period of sales this year.  Of the 72 properties sold this period, sixteen (16) were sold at a price above $1,000,000.

Coldwell Banker Ranks #1:  Among all brokerages in the north Lake Tahoe and Truckee markets, Coldwell Banker ranks #1 in units sold at 404 with a total sales volume of $228 million.  Coldwell Banker is #2 in luxury sales with 46 units sold and $72 million in sales volume.

REO & Short Sales:  For 2016, short sales and REO property sales are almost non-existent with seven closed short sales and nine closed REO properties for the year.  Overall, distressed property sales, REO and short sales, represent roughly 2% of the sales in 2016, which is down slightly from 4% in 2015 where 13 REO properties and 13 short sales were sold.

Median and Average Sales Prices:  The median sales price for residential properties through July 31 was $557,000, which is up 6% as compared to the same period in 2015 where the median sales price was $525,000.  Similarly, the average sales price is up over 14% to $886,295 in 2016, as compared to last year’s average price of $777,064 for the same period.

Sales by Price Range or Market Segment:  Year-to-date, there have been 317 residential properties sold at a price below $500,000, 267 properties sold between $500,000 and $1,000,000 and 160 properties sold over $1,000,000.

Sales Under $500,000 Sales:  The lower end of the market, homes priced under $500,000, continuously has the highest level of sales activity as 43% of the sales, or 317 properties have sold in this price range.  In 2015 for the same period, there were 297 properties sold in this price range, which represented over 46% of the sales.

Mid-Range Market Sales $500,000 to $999,999:  Mid-Range sales for 2016 are up slightly from 2015 in this price range.  There have been 267 properties sold at a price between $500,000 and $1,000,000 representing 36% of total sales.  For the same period in 2015, there were 261 properties sold in this price range which represented over 40% of total sales.

Luxury Home Sales Over $1 Million:  Luxury sales for properties priced above $1,000,000 are up a whopping 86% from 2015 luxury sales.  For 2016, there have been 160 luxury properties sold as compared to 86 sold last year for the same period.  The median sales price for luxury properties in 2016 thus far is $1,500,000, which is down (15%) from the median sales price of $1,775,000 in 2015.  Similarly, the average sale price of luxury homes in 2016 stands at $2,253,384 as compared to $2,499,761 in 2015 and is down (10%).

Pending Sales:  The pending sales through the end of July were 237 residential sales in the market which is up slightly from the previous two-week period.

 

ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL INVENTORY SUMMARY

Active Listings:  The current inventory of residential properties has gone down (2%) from the previous two weeks as sales have increased.  There are currently 809 residential properties for sale; 540 single-family homes and 269 condominiums for sale.  Overall, active inventory is down 9% from last year at this time, which had 882 residential properties actively listed for sale.  There is almost six months of available inventory on the market relative to the past 30-day sales volume.  Coldwell Banker has over 11% of the active listings in the market and continues to be the market leader for listings.  Of the active listings, there are only two properties listed as an REO, and seven properties listed as a short sale.

 

WITH SUMMER UNDERWAY NOW MAY BE A GREAT TIME TO SELL OR BUY

The 2016 real estate market in north Lake Tahoe and Truckee, in terms of sales, is off to a great start and is way ahead of 2015.  There is considerable activity in the market as many buyers and savvy investors are actively looking for homes.

For sellers, there is demand for properties in the market with inventory down.  For buyers, even though inventory is down from last year, there are quality properties to choose from throughout the north Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas.  With current home prices and favorable mortgage interest rates, real estate investors are taking advantage of this market and acquiring homes in many of the Lake Tahoe and Truckee resort communities.

 

 

The Downside to Selling Your Home by Yourself

California’s real estate market has rebounded sharply in the past several years in the aftermath of the recession, with home prices near or even above their highs of 2007 and 2008. A shortage of listings in many communities is resulting in some homes receiving multiple offers, even over the asking price. 

In this kind of a “seller’s market” it’s understandable that some homeowners may believe that they should try selling their home on their own to “save” money. However, do-it-yourself sellers (also known as “For Sale By Owner” or “FSBO”) could end up losing money in the long run – and create lots of headaches in the process.

Here are just a few of the reasons why selling your own home rather than letting a professional do it could cost you time and money in the long run:

  • You may not save as much as you think – if at all. Homes without professional representation often remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those marketed by a real estate agent. The National Association of REALTORS® found that the typical FSBO home nationwide sold for an average price of $210,000 as compared to the average price of $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales in 2014 (the most recent figures available).
  • Other costs can eat away at any “savings.” While you might save some of the commission cost of a seller’s agent, you may still end up paying 2-3 percent to the buyer’s agent in order to attract a larger pool of buyers. Additionally, the true “savings” may be far less after you add all the other costs associated with selling – advertising, brochures and fliers, for-sale signs, etc.
  • Much time and effort go into selling a home. There’s a reason that just 8 percent of sellers sold their own home last year, according to NAR. It’s hard work! Professional real estate agents develop comprehensive marketing plans, take professional photos, arrange inspections and appraisals, oversee staging, hold open houses, place print and online ads, seek out potential buyers and negotiate with buyers’ agents on price and terms. Homeowners need to ask themselves if they really have the time or expertise to do all of that on their own.
  • Determining the right listing price is critical. Real estate professionals review comparable sales, local market conditions, as well as the pluses and minuses of your home in helping you set the list price. As an owner, you may not have a clear or objective sense of what that price should be. The right list price may get your home multiple offers or a faster sale depending upon what you want. Setting the list price too high may cause potential buyers to not even look at your home.
  • Negotiating against pros. If you try to sell your home on your own, you may end up negotiating with a professional real estate agent working for the buyer whose expertise may cause you to end up selling your home for less money and/or with other contractual terms that may not be in your best interests and could also cost you more in the long run.
  • Limiting your pool of buyers. FSBO properties are often not able to utilize as many of the real estate search engines and websites as properties sold by REALTORS®. This is potentially a significant obstacle in an era when more than 90 percent of buyers start their home search on the Internet, according to NAR. Those selling their own home typically cannot leverage the advertising, marketing and networking resources that are needed to reach the potential buyers that agents are reaching every day.

Even in a good market, properly marketing and selling a home is far more complicated than most people suspect.  It’s very easy for non-professionals to make costly mistakes. Since the sale of one’s home is often the single biggest financial transaction that most of us will ever make in our lives it is critical that it is handled as expertly as possible. When it comes to selling your home, it truly pays to rely on an experienced real estate professional to help guide you through the process.

 

Bay Area Home Prices Hit Record High as Inventory Shortage Continues

 

Bay Area single-family home prices hit a record high last month, reaching $750,000 for the nine-county region, according to CoreLogic, the Irvine-based real estate information services firm. That marked a 7.1 percent increase from a year ago and surpassed the Bay Area’s previous record of $738,500, set nearly nine years ago.

“Job growth and low mortgage rates are continuing to fuel a healthy demand” for homes, said Andrew LePage, a research analyst for CoreLogic, in a report in the San Jose Mercury. “But with the tight supply, you get this pressure cooker effect that drives up prices.”

According to the Mercury, the region’s largest percentage gains in prices were in the more affordable inland counties, including Contra Costa, where the median price in May jumped 11.3 percent year-over-year to $545,000 — though that figure was still considerably below the $654,000 peak reached in May 2007, before the recession.

In Alameda County, the May median price rose to a record $778,750, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier. The median price in Santa Clara County matched April’s peak of $1 million. And in San Mateo County, the median was $1.2 million, slightly below April’s record high of $1,211,500.

For the overall market, both new and existing single-family homes and condos included, the median price paid in the Bay Area reached a record for the second straight month in May, hitting $700,000, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. That was up 1.4 percent from April and 6.3 percent from May of last year, according to CoreLogic.

Although inventory of homes for sale remains extremely low by historical standards, there are reports from some of our offices that things may be changing – ever so gradually. Inventory seems to be inching up in several local markets. Buyers are still out there, and hopefully they’ll have a little more to look at in the weeks ahead.

Below is a market-by-market report from our local San Francisco Bay Area offices:

North Bay – The talk is the market is in transition, says our Greenbrae manager.  There are more homes on the market, and open houses are drawing fewer agents.  There aren’t as many multiple offers as we saw earlier in the year, but the A+ properties are still seeing multiple offers.   In the absence of multiple offers on a property, buyers are not even coming in at full price.  Definitely experiencing a slowdown, but along with that a lack of understanding on sellers’ part that the market is changing.  We’ve seen some high end properties receive excellent offers, while unrealistic sellers are being firm on price.  Ultimately buyers are moving on.  There are also many high end properties receiving no offers. Our Santa Rosa Bicentennial office manager says the degree to which we have a seller’s market has ebbed. Many properties are getting just one offer even if they have delayed looking at offers for 5-7 days. Overall activity has picked up and buyers seem to be responding well to having a bit more room to negotiate. Some homes that have received positive agent and client feedback on condition and price are not getting offers. In the luxury segment, buyers are active but cautious and value conscious. Most buyers are 2nd home buyers so the urgency to buy is not paramount. Our Santa Rosa Mission office manager reports that in the higher end of Previews market the growth in inventory has stayed fairly even with the rate of sales. For example, in January there were 4 closings, 8 pending sales vs. 75 available listings (11% pending). In May there were 10 closings, 15 pending sales vs. 167 available listings (9% pending). In the lower end of the Previews market, the pending sales vs. inventory were 45% in January and 35% in May. School is out and buyers in the Sebastopol area have disappeared for the short term. Open houses are quiet with 10 parties or less attending. River properties have quieted down and are sitting with offer dates coming and going. Aggressively priced homes are still selling quickly and receive multiple offers. Our Southern Marin manager notes that the general market is still hot, particularly under $1 million. However, we are seeing less properties listed under a million. $1 to $3 million depends on desirability and pricing. Again, top agents know how to price and market for success. The recurring theme here is to list your home with a savvy agent. 33% of the homes listed above $3 million are under contract. The norm is this price point is 10-12%. So the luxury market is good. However, only the best priced, well located and turnkey properties are getting offers. Top luxury agents know how to price and prepare these properties for success (offers)! We expect to see more luxury properties hit the market throughout the summer. This will give buyers more options.

San Francisco – There are fewer homes in multiple offer situations, our Lakeside office manager says, and some properties are left unsold after the short initial exposure time we’ve come to expect to see offers in.  Properties that go exceedingly higher than the asking price are fewer.  However, it appears to be a healthy and still Seller centric market. Our Lombard manager reports that the cooling trend has not been consistent. While it is very evident on homes over $2m, we still have a relative shortage of SFH’s, and multiple offers and over-asking remain the norm. Just fewer offers and most closed prices closer to asking. The cooling in the condo and new development market is more apparent with price reductions and closings closer to asking and often below. Most listing agents are not posting offer dates, but waiting for definite indications of offer(s) forthcoming. The Previews luxury market is slower with numerous price reductions. As the July 4th holiday approaches, so do the usual SF summer doldrums, according to our Market Street office manager.   Open Houses and Broker Tours are being held, and some are very well attended while others see scant traffic.   With both clients’ and agents’ attention focused elsewhere, most (but not all) deals during this period were ratified with a single offer.   We anticipate more of the same (fewer listings, fewer ratified deals) through Labor Day.   Sellers need to be very thoughtful when deciding on listing prices to avoid being passed over.   And fatigued buyers should take advantage of the opportunity to purchase without the frenzy of multiple offers.

SF Peninsula The Burlingame area market has stabilized and some of the properties that are currently for sale are on the market for a longer period of time and not receiving as many offers if any, according to our local manager. Our Menlo Park manager says the local market is still full of buyers but the pace is slower and buyers are more conscientious.  Days on market are beginning to build and buyers are very aware of this. We still have pockets of multiple offers however, but these are becoming far less common. Not much change in the Redwood City-San Carlos market. Gradually there seems to be more inventory but still many more buyers who are not able to purchase, causing a lot of frustration. List prices seem to be leveling off and there still are quite a few multiple offers but numbers are smaller. Our San Mateo manager says there has been a slowdown in the local market. Homes are taking a bit longer. They were taking 1 week and now they are taking 2 to 3 weeks. Our Woodside-Portola Valley manager says it has been a slow week in the country. People are out of town and graduation trips drift into the Fourth of July.

East Bay – After a brief lull, sales activity in the Danville area has picked up again.  Inventory had been increasing, but seems to have hit another plateau.  It’s hard to predict what the rest of summer will be like. The Lamorinda market overall has been steady, our local manager says.

Silicon Valley – Good properties are sitting on the market and getting very little attention, our Cupertino manager reports. Are all the buyers on vacation? Our Los Altos manager sees signs of seasonal adjustments in the inventory. Although there has been a slight slowing of market activity, our manager would still categorize the market as robust.  There’s strong activity on properties in move in condition and priced to sell, resulting in multiple offers that typically achieve a sale price over asking sale.  That being said, some sellers are testing the market by bringing their homes to the market at higher prices than previous sales and pendings.  As a result, there are more price adjustments of late. But these still only make up a smaller percentage of the market. The luxury market (homes priced over $3.5M) is steady but flat with days on market increasing and frenzy bidding or multiple offers being the exception as opposed to the rule. The Los Gatos area market under $2,000,000 is still very competitive while the market over $2,000,000 seems to be softening a bit, our local manager notes. Sales were stronger the last couple of weeks for San Jose Almaden area.  Average sale price for Almaden is $1,414,000, up 9% over last month and 5.5% over June 2015.  Blossom Valley is the only area that is currently down in average sales price over last month and last year.  The average price is $630,000, down 12.5% from last month and 2.5% from June 2015.  Cambrian has an average sales price of $1,044,000, up 2.5% over last month and up 12% over June of last year.  Santa Teresa has an average sales price of $783,000, up 4.5% from last month and up 12% from June 2015.  We’re still seeing some multiple offers although homes aren’t going into contract as quickly and don’t have a crazy amount of multiple offers. Willow Glen’s active listing inventory has been steady at and around the 90-unit mark for the past few weeks. The weekly sales have been at a 3-year average at 16 sales with several high end $ 2 million plus properties going into contract at or over the asking list price. With the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend upon us this might be a little push before the long holiday weekend. The average sales price in Saratoga is up 13% from the same time last year. The average sales price in Saratoga for June 2016 is $2,432,000 compared to June of 2015, which was $2,153,000.  Active inventory in Saratoga is up 16% from the same time last year.  There are 85 homes for sale in Saratoga compared to the 73 homes for sale in June of 2015.

South County – Our local manager says it seems that all of the components are in place for a great real estate market:  low interest rates, better than average listing inventory and an abundance of qualified buyers.  The realty in the South County, however, is that the market is somewhat sluggish.  Listings are staying on the market longer and more and more homes are settling for less than asking price when an offer is actually accepted.  Buyer interest remains high, but many buyers are reluctant to sell their homes because of the high price of securing a replacement property.   It is apparent, however, that Morgan Hill and Gilroy remain viable alternatives for buyers who are priced out of the market in Silicon Valley.

Santa Cruz County – In recent months the number of homes going into contract has exceeded the number of new listings coming onto the market. However, there has been an increasing number of transactions that have canceled. As a result of this, the inventory of homes active on the market has been slowly increasing and is currently at 365. The number of homes active on the market with a list price of $1 million or higher has increased quickly through the months of April and May. March finished with approximately 119 and currently there are 196. In May the number of active days on market increased to 65 from the high 30’s with prior months.

Monterey Peninsula – The last two weeks the local market has experienced a 15% increase in new listings over the period last year. Sellers are realizing that the market has rebounded and if they are considering selling, now is the time. Prices in the upper end have softened somewhat in the Pebble Beach and Carmel markets with supply exceeding demand. There are still enough buyers in the market but they are being selective and recognize a good value when it hits the market. The Pacific Grove market continues to be the hottest market followed by the City of Salinas. The months of available inventory is at a four-month level, the lowest in the last three years, beating pre-recession levels. Summer and the out of area visitors have arrived on the Monterey Peninsula and agents look forward to a busy summer season.

 

Summer Music Festival Watch: Where to Go, Who to See, What to Expect

Coachella may have passed, but don’t put away your boho-chic best just yet. That was just the unofficial start to festival season, and this year you’ll have numerous options up and down the California coast to enjoy your favorite music, whether you lean toward rock, rap, or real authentic country. Plus, a number of these summer festivals offer more than just music, with an emphasis on art, food, culture, and something called “Indulgences,” which means you can now get a massage or a blowout between sets of your favorite bands. Festival planners think of everything!

Ready for your tour of California’s summer music festivals? Let’s go!

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Bottle Rock
May 27–29
Napa Valley

Come for the wine, stay for the music—or, in this case, the other way around. This three-day festival features a truly great lineup of 70-plus acts, including Stevie Wonder, Florence + The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Lumineers, Death Cab for Cuties, and Lennie Kravitz, plus dozens of other hot bands and artists. And, the location doesn’t get much better, in the heart of the Napa Valley at Napa Expo.

But it wouldn’t be Napa without the ability to completely submerge yourself in the culture, so, with your ticket, you’ll also enjoy gourmet food from the area’s top chefs, craft beer and specialty cocktails, wine cabanas, and art featuring sculptures by Laura Kimpton and David Tanych and murals by JM Rizzi, Ian Ross, David Young and Zio Zeigler.

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Country Summer
June 3–5
Sonoma County

Northern California’s largest country music festival, Country Summer is headlined by some of the genre’s biggest stars: Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, and Billy Currington. Seventeen thousand fans packed the festival in its first year in 2014, and last year was a sellout. Expect the same with this year’s lineup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. When not jockeying for position to get the best view, you can also enjoy western-themed attractions, a variety of “country-inspired culinary delights,” they said, plus wine, beer, and cocktails.

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Live 105’s BFD
June 4
Mountain View

Being held for the 22nd year in a row, this all-day fest is packed with music from many of the station’s premier bands on four stages, plus food trucks and concessions, at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre. Playing this year are favorite alternative artists including Silversun Pickups, The Offspring, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Bad Religion.

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Kate Wolf Music Festival
June 23–26
Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville

Mind, body, and spirit will come together at the 21st annual Kate wolf Music Festival, with four stages of music featuring artists including Eric Bibb, Harry Belafonte, Neko Case, k.d. lang, and The Head & The Heart. The event also features on-site camping, workshops, Hatha yoga and Tai Chi, and a kids’ area, making this an outing the whole family may enjoy.

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Outside Lands
August 5–7
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

If you could plan and design the ideal San Francisco festival, this would be it. Take top acts like Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie, Lana Del Rey, J. Cole, Duran Duran, and Zedd, and then add in unique features like a bike valet (perfect if you choose to arrive at the fest via the Outside Lands Bike Party), a wine tasting tent, and food ranging from organic eats to restaurant partner fare, to food trucks, to Choco Lands + Cheese Lands, described by the festival as “mouthwatering areas dedicated to the finer things in life.”

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Ohana Festival
August 27–28
Dana Point

Help kick off the inaugural Ohana Festival, a two-day celebration of music headlined by Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, Lan del Rey, and Elvis Costello at Doheny State Beach. You won’t go hungry (or thirsty) with artisan fare courtesy of local restaurants and food trucks, along with craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails. The fest will also raise funds for the non-profit San Onofre Parks Foundation, to help preserve California’s coastal parks.

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FYF Fest
August 27–28
Los Angeles

Founded in 2004, FYF Fest is an annual two-day music festival held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena & Exposition Park and featuring artists from a variety of musical genres ranging from rock music to hip hop to electronic. Featured this year is a diverse list including Kendrick Lamar, Moby, Air, Hot Chip, and Grace Jones.

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KAABOO
September 16–18
Del Mar

With some of the top musical artists in the world on the ticket, including Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Jack Johnson, Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Avett Brothers, One Republic, and Flo Rida, it would be hard to top this festival. But KABOO also features top comedians including Dana Carvey, Darrell Hammond, Jeff Ross, Janeane Garofalo, and the cast of Silicon Valley. Add in a host of famous chefs with artisanal fare in an “upscale culinary environment,” they said, plus celebrity chef demos and book signings, a Rock’n Chef competition, exclusive wineries, craft libations, contemporary public art, and it’s not hard to see why this festival is so highly anticipated. And don’t forget about those Indulgences—an entire spa and relaxation zone with massages, salon services, and fashion consultations, Yes, it’s outside of the “summer festival” boundary. And?

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Desert Trip
October 7–9, 14–16
Indio

Desert Trip is also beyond the seasonal cutoff for summer festivals, but we had to include it based on artists alone, with six of the world’s top acts on one bill: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and The Who.

Tickets for the three-day show sold out in three hours, so if you didn’t get yours, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the fun world of resellers.

Which festival is on your summer music radar?