Empires of the Sun

April 9, 2013

When it comes to buying second homes, shoppers often flock together. Here is why Chicagoans are crossing Lake Michigan, California tech execs are hitting the beach in Tahoe and New Yorkers are heading south.


Silicon Valley Reboots at Tahoe

The hottest new tech-industry accessory? A house in Tahoe.

Venture capitalist Steven Stull recently paid $11.875 million for a 10,000-square-foot waterfront estate on Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Nev. David Duffield, co-founder of Workday, paid $25.5 million for another Incline Village estate, according to public records. It was the largest sale on the Sierra Nevada lake since 2008, says listing broker Kerry Donovan.

silicon valley reboots at tahoeBrokers in towns surrounding the large freshwater lake, which spans the border of California and Nevada, say sales have picked up dramatically in the last six months, as spillover from the Bay Area’s exuberant housing market has finally reached the area. The Nevada side of the lake has gotten an additional boost since California passed Proposition 30, hiking income taxes on the wealthy and increasing the appeal of owning on the zero-income-tax Nevada side.

Brokers say sales are surging on both sides of the lake. “December was the strongest December we’ve ever seen in the business,” says Susan Lowe, the corporate broker for Chase International, pointing to data that stretch back to 1990. According to the agency, the first quarter of 2013 saw $246.4 million home and condo sales in the area, up more than 70% from the first quarter of 2012.

Jim Telling, a partner at East West Partners, which developed the Village at Northstar, says the company has seen a 72% increase in the number of home sales since 2011. Average prices rose to $869,000 from $531,000, spurred by a large number of $1 million-plus sales.

Kate Wormington, a 17-year Apple veteran who left in 2010 to raise money for an education nonprofit, and her husband, Dan, a current Apple employee, recently snapped up a fully furnished, four-bedroom home that was listed for $2.1 million. The ski-in/ski-out property is at Constellation Residences at Northstar, a Vail-operated ski resort in Truckee, Calif., that was recently overhauled to include boutiques, a skating rink and a Ritz-Carlton. Ms. Wormington, a mother of two, says she liked the area’s friendly vibe as well as its amenities, such as ski valets and a chef-run s’mores bar. “It is amazing to me how many people you run into,” she says, adding that they frequently see friends from the tech world and their hometown of San Carlos on weekends. “It feels like home.”

mapThe change in the area’s fortunes has been swift and dramatic. Though the housing market in the Bay Area has been one of the strongest in the country, Lake Tahoe long struggled to recover from the downturn, with homes frequently sitting on the market for many months and selling well below asking price.

Despite the recent boom, prices still have yet to recover to their predownturn heights. Ms. Lowe says pricing generally dropped about 35% from the peak and is coming back slowly.

Martis Camp, a golf and ski community in Truckee that began construction in 2006, has sold 52 lots and homes since the start of January, says Brian Hull, director of sales, up from 27 at this point last year. Prices for lots range from the mid-$600,000s to $2 million and 108 homes have been completed so far. Mr. Hull says the influx of younger families from the tech industry has resulted in a number of contemporary-style mountain homes with glass-filled architecture.

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Larry Ellison Lists Lake Tahoe Compound for $28.5 Million

April 2, 2013

By Sarah Tilton, WSJ.com, March 28, 2013, 10:13 AM

wsj22Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison has listed his 2.62-acre compound on the east shore of Lake Tahoe for $28.5 million.

The property, located in Glenbrook, Nev., was originally meant to be Mr. Ellison’s primary home at Tahoe. But he had the chance to build an estate on the north shore of the lake—it is scheduled to be finished this year—so he is selling the Glenbrook compound, says Jennie Fairchild of Chase International Real Estate, who has the listing. Mr. Ellison has created a 7.6 acre compound with approximately 420 feet of lake frontage at the north shore’s Incline Village, according to public records.

The Glenbrook property includes a 9,242-square foot main house with six bedrooms, eight full baths, and one half bath; Mr. Ellison spent three years remodeling it ‘from the studs up,” according to Ms. Fairchild. There is a sound-proof screening room, a gym, a billiard room, a library and a sauna. The master bedroom wing has two dressing rooms and two baths, each with a handcrafted wooden ofuro, a Japanese soaking tub.

In addition to the main house there is a 1,326-square-foot, two bedroom, three bath guesthouse and another 2,934-square-foot lakefront home with five bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths.

The property sits on 230 feet of lake frontage with a private white-sand beach, two piers, a floating dock, two buoys and a rock breakwater. A 426-square-foot lakeside cabana has a sun deck and a built-in barbecue on the roof. Nearby, a hot tub also looks out over the lake.

Continue reading this article at the WSJ.com

Luxury housing market revives in Tahoe (see photos inside $28M property)

April 2, 2013

Written by Zachary F. Volkert, Reno Gazette-Journal, Apr 1, 2013

newart1Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison is selling his $28.5 million, 2.62 acre property on Lake Tahoe’s east shore in Glenbrook.

The 9,242-square-foot main house is complemented by two smaller guest homes with features ranging from soundproofed screening rooms and lakefront hot tubs to heated driveways and patios. Ellison extensively renovated all of these areas over the last three years he has owned the property.

The estate comes on the market as Tahoe’s housing market continues its recovery, but the house’s renovation itself was a great boon for the Tahoe economy, said Jennie Fairchild, the Realtor for the property.

“There’s been a big influx for local contractors,” said Fairchild of Chase International Real Estate. “Which is I think often overlooked in the size of the houses. … A significant number of people would not have had jobs in the last 3 years. It takes people to maintain — there are a lot of services.”

The home’s reconstruction was headed by Bruce Olson Construction and Olson-Olson Architects, both in the Tahoe area. The construction company could not be reached for comment, but Fairchild estimated that more than 100 jobs were added to the community from the project.

Continue reading and view more images at RGJ.com…