John Leles of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty has listed 501 Lakeshore Boulevard #54, Incline Village, Nevada, for $2.4 Million.

Looking for a room with a view? This rare condominium in north shore Lake Tahoe offers breathtaking panoramas from every window! Located in the sought-after enclave of Incline Village, this gem allows you to live the country club lifestyle without those annual membership dues.

That’s because the perks of living in Incline Village come with residency. These include fabulous town amenities like epic ski trails, tennis courts, a rec center, world-class golf, incredible water sports, and a number of pristine beaches. There’s even a clothing-optional beach if that’s your thing!

Yes, living in Incline Village seems too good to be true, but it’s not. And you can start living the good life right on the water in our top pick for $2.4 million.

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Our Steal: 524 Spencer Way, Incline Village, Nevada, is currently listed by Todd Disbrow of Engel & Volkers Lake Tahoe for $998,000. 

It’s natural to want it all — mountains and lakes. Snow and beaches. Prime nightlife and tranquil sweet seclusion. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, but Lake Tahoe begs to differ. That’s right, for today’s battle of the ultra-high-end second shelters we’re taking you to the place that will never make you settle for one or the other.

From water-skiing and kayaking to shredding fresh powder on the mountain, this week’s Splurge vs. Steal Resort offers the epitome of entertainment and luxury, but with prices that are miles apart! Which Lake Tahoe home would you choose, the lakeside contemporary splurge or the sophisticated cabin steal?

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Banner photoYear-round views steal the show at 739 Lakeview Ave., which is on the market for $2.7 million in South Lake Tahoe Calif. Listing agent Theresa Souers says this one is “probably the best buy all around the lake.”

Plenty of Texans go for vacation homes near Lake Tahoe.

“But be prepared that our houses aren’t as big as they’re used to,” real estate agent Theresa Souers adds with a chuckle. “I always tell them that upfront.”

Size doesn’t matter so much, however, when you’re breathing mountain air and pondering a looming, pristine lake that straddles California and Nevada.

Wealthy Californians are known for flocking to little towns on the Nevada side to avoid state income tax and enjoy a lower cost of living. Both options offer unfettered views and a sense of tony, tucked-away escapism, but it’s the area’s unbeatable year-round beauty and perpetual sports — including hiking, snow skiing, and waterskiing — that give Tahoe its biggest advantage over seasonal resort spots.

Serious buyers come because “they like the clean air,” says broker Chris Plastiras, of Lakeshore Realty. “They like the low crime rate, they like the educational system.”

220 Glen Way exterior739 Lakeview: Water and mountain views abound at this South Lake Tahoe property.

Home sales are up 30 to 35 percent this year by Sours’s count, and Plastiras’s company has seen a more than 100-percent increase, from $94 million in total sales to around $225 million.

The numbers aren’t a huge surprise, however; typically, California’s property sales foretell Tahoe’s to some extent.

“If you study the historical trends,” Souers explains, “we follow the Bay Area,” usually with about six-month to yearlong lag.

And guess what? The Bay Area is starting to fly high.

As for Tahoe, “we kind of flattened out around November,” Souers said, “but I don’t think it’s a permanent thing.”

Tahoe-area properties are often carefully regulated, for better or for worse; building permits can be scarce, which keeps neighborhoods quaint but frustrates some homeowners.

220 Glen Way interior(Above and Below): This low-elevation, lodge-style home offers direct access to a tennis and recreation center. 220 Glen Way is listed for $2.2 million in Incline Village, Nev.

739 Lakeview Living Room

“Even if you own [an empty] lot, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be able to build up there,” cautions Dallas resident Joyce Jacobson, whose family has kept a beloved second home in South Lake Tahoe — right on the state line, she says — for more than 20 years. Lake houses seem to hold their value better over time, she figures, but they’re also subject to strict regulations. In some cases, she adds, that means rules about what sort of blinds an occupant can hang from his or her windows. Seriously.

Her husband, Bob, has a funny story about their own vacation getaway, which isn’t on the lake. Seven or eight years ago, he said, Joyce and their grown children began pressuring him to sell.

“I put a real high price on it,” he says with a mischievous laugh — $1.2 million, which was several times what the family paid for it years ago — “thinking, ‘if we do [sell], we’re going to get something good.’”

A prospective buyer popped up immediately.

“They were so depressed,” Jacobson said of his family when they got the news. “They were hardly talking, and just walking around with their heads drooped down.”

Then and there, they changed their minds about leaving.

“Compared to Dallas,” Jacobson muses, “everything’s quiet. You get up in the morning, and the birds are making noise. You hear all these little animals. Last time I was up there, there were like six deer walking on our main street.”

Or maybe it’s the other humans — and myriad human diversions — that make die-hards keep coming back.

“It’s all the recreational spots, with all the skiing and the hiking and the water sports,” says homeowner Leroy Hardy (a relative of mine), whose custom-built Incline Village, Nev., house includes a creek, and is on the market.

“It’s unsurpassed.”

Georgia and Matt2Georgia Fisher is a Dallas expat now living in Reno, Nev., with her fiancé. Her interests include cats, Internet videos of cats, and cats watching Internet videos of cats. While she adores her quaint historic rental in Reno, she tries to escape to Lake Tahoe as often as possible. 

Jitters over terrorist attacks, immigration strife, and economic instability due to Brexit seem to have put some European real estate investment property on shaky ground lately, but there are bright spots, too.

Kate Everett-Allen, head of international research at Knight Frank names Berlin and Munich on a short list of standout European performers with  price growth rates of 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in 2015. You can find those figures and a lot more in the real estate investment advisory firm’s 2016 Wealth Report.

Germany’s capital, Berlin, where real estate values have doubled since 2007, is a case in point:  The growing city is an important center for high-tech, creative, and media industries.  Rubina Real Estate experts note that Berlin is a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe, has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, and a well-educated population of 3.5 million that skews young. The city continues to draw new businesses eager to appeal to young professional talent attracted to its progressive vibe and amenities. The demographic between the age of 25 and 30 is growing at the fastest rate.

“Berlin was a very prosperous city with lots of cultural happenings and great architecture until the downfall of Hitler,” said German-born Bernadette Schaeffler, owner of the Bernadette Schaeffler Collection luxury home furnishings showroom in the Dallas Design District. “During the Cold War, it somehow slept like Sleeping Beauty. Since the reunification, people built on top of it. Parts of Berlin are historical, other parts extremely modern. Berlin is cosmopolitan, multicultural, and American friendly.  There’s a big expat population — they all feel at home. In general, the cost of living is lower, and rents affordable; that said, real estate prices are going up.”

Along with growth, reasons that analysts say Berlin and other major German cities stand out as  investment opportunities are undervalued property values relative to cities such as London and Paris, the strength of the German economy, a housing shortage, and the trajectory of rising prices tipping a purchasing trend, especially in light of low interest returns as an alternative investment.

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