Article asserts real estate trouble in Incline Village
July 9, 2009
Incline Village/Crystal Bay is the No. 1 most troubled luxury neighborhood in America, according to an article at forbes.com that is set to be featured in the July 13 biweekly edition of Forbes Magazine. It’s an honor some local Realtors said is undeserved.
“The housing crash is finally hitting the most expensive neighborhoods,” the article proclaims.
Some of the article’s assertions are based on the idea that in a healthy housing market, the number of homes for sale is less than six times the monthly transaction rate. That ratio has been near 10 months’ supply, according to the article.
The rankings are based on expensive zip codes found by Forbes where data on the number of current listings and sales for the most recently reported 90-day period from Trulia.com show the ratio is still at 30 or higher.
Incline Village got the nod over communities such as New Vernon, N.J., and Alpine, N.J., listed at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in a photo slideshow of the top 10 communities flooded with East Coast towns, although the article itself doesn’t mention the list.
“This village at the northeast end of Lake Tahoe has been home to Michael Milken and other wealthy businessmen. Trulia reports there are 26 homes for sale here but no sales in the past three months,” according to the article.
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The 26 homes, according to Trulia, are lakefront properties in Incline.
The slideshow lists the 10 communities’ zip codes and average home listing price – for Incline, it’s $4.6 million.
Kerry Donovan, broker with Chase International Distinctive Properties of Incline Village, said the article is misleading, because there have been 13 home sales this year above $2 million.
So far this year, one lakefront home has sold – at 865 Lakeshore Boulevard – Donovan said.
“I don’t think we’re in trouble. It’s more like things are just stalled,” Donovan said. “I think we are just a microcosm of the nation. Sure there are foreclosures, and sure there are short sales … prices have depressed.”
Chris Plastiras, owner/broker of Lakeshore Realty in Incline, said he doesn’t read too much into Forbes’ view, considering the article makes comparisons of well-off communities nationwide.
“It doesn’t really address the overall picture of Incline Village – you can’t really compare Manhattan to Santa Monica in just one article and still do the proper amount of analysis,” Plastiras said. “Sure we’ve only had one house sold this year, and things aren’t the greatest, but I think it’s a little too soon to start calling us the worst – I think Incline Village is a far cry from the most troubled luxury community in America.”
Tom Bruno, a Realtor with Chase in Incline, shared similar thoughts.
“My thoughts are that with reports like Forbes it presents a very inaccurate portrayal of the Incline market,” he said. “The numbers thrown out have no meaning. What irritates me is the garbage that is being published makes the job of the Realtor much harder and it severely negatively impacts those who would like to sell their homes.”
The number of Lake Tahoe home sales during the first half of the year was down about 2 percent from year-earlier figures, Chase announced last week in a recent press release.
The lake-wide median sales price of $540,125 was down 24 percent from a year ago, and the Incline Village median of $747,500 was down 36 percent, according to the same report from Chase.
“I don’t see the market rebounding any time soon; you can’t control that, but there are great opportunities out there, and there are buyers out there,” Donovan said. “They just may be a little more apt to wait a few years or buy differently.”