Key Highlights

  • Inventory now shrunk to one-fifth to one-tenth of usual levels in both hot spots
  • All-cash buyers becoming more common

Bucolic summertime and/or winter sports escapes are becoming bucolic year-round residences for many tech workers, media types and investors from New York, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Lake Tahoe environs and Aspen housing markets are reaping the rewards.

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Large homes with at least one, preferably two home offices, more land and access to outdoor activities and sports are essentially flying off the shelf. Inventory of for-sale homes has shrunk to about one-fifth to one-tenth of “normal” levels. And, by the way, sellers prefer all-cash offers and are getting them.

In Aspen, July sales contracts jumped more than fivefold compared to the same month last year, according to president and CEO of Miller Samuels Appraisers Jonathan Miller. Miller called such sales transactions “unprecedented” in his recent Aspen report. August transactions slide down to just twice as many sales as the same month last year.

Land is more available within the Tahoe environs (including Truckee) than in Aspen and as a result, Aspen buyers spend millions to build modern attachments such as large basements to their new purchases. (Building below ground is often the perfect solution for adding extra space to work from home.)   Tahoe buyers often opt to buy raw land, however, because demand is so high, these buyers may have to wait months and months to work with the architects and builders due to such high demand for their services.

Some new full-time residents with families are choosing to split their allegiances with their former city residences by living in “paradise” full-time and having their children do remote learning through their city schools.

Local businesses in both Lake Tahoe and Aspen are adjusting to this influx of urbanites and they smell opportunities. For example, charter air services are planning on offering new direct flights to and fro Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities.

Meanwhile, public records in Summit County, Utah (think Park City, home to delicious powder skiing and the Sundance Film Festival) indicate that ex-Zappos chief Tony Hsieh has recently bought up an estimated $39M in real estate. Throw in three more properties and two vacant lots expected to close in a month for an estimated total market value of some $56M in just the last eleven weeks.


Thanks to CNBC, MansionGlobal and Curbed.

Also read: Southern California Home Prices Setting Records, Multi-Family Markets Targeted for Supply Hikes, Off-Market Whisper Listings Appeal to Pandemic Sellers

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