Lakefront Property at Lake Tahoe: An Overview
Updated: Aug 21
The market for Lakefront property at Lake Tahoe has gone through a lot of changes over the decades.
In this post, we'll start with a brief history and then provide an overview of some popular sections of Tahoe lakefront along with maps and other resources.
The Growth of The Tahoe Region
It’s been over 175 years since John Charles Frémont found Lake Tahoe (in 1844). However, it took another 100 years for Tahoe to really get on the map. A combination of an influx of Hollywood entertainers in the 60's and the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley accelerated interest in Tahoe real estate.
In parallel, the increasing availability of all wheel drive (AWD) vehicles made it easier to get around in Tahoe’s sometimes exceptionally snowy conditions.
Until around 1970, the supply of AWD vehicles was mainly confined to boxy models such as those from Jeep and Land Rover. With the advent of luxury sedans and SUVs that were also AWD capable, a lot more people had vehicles that could bridge the gap between the population centers west of the Sierra Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region.
The Lake Tahoe Real Estate Market
The Tahoe real estate market has been more hot than not for several decades.
According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the first half of 2020 was a “wild ride.” It was an acceleration of pent up demand by those who plan to move away from denser urban areas.
Lake Tahoe has approximately 71 miles of shoreline. Due to a combination of topography and conservation efforts, only a fraction of that distance is home to lakefront properties.
Let's look at some of the popular Lake Tahoe neighborhoods that include lakefront properties.
The Tahoe lakefront properties at Incline Village are highly sought after. This is partly because Nevada is more tax-friendly than California.
TIP: You can use the new Google Earth to fly around Incline Village. Click on the + and - signs to zoom in and out. You can also use your mouse wheel. Click the blue paper airplane icon to fly around.
Just to the west of Incline Village is Crystal Bay. Like Incline Village, the fact that it is in Nevada has financial appeal.
Crystal Bay has a relatively short lakefront span.
North Lake Tahoe
North Lake Tahoe has a wide range of lakefront selections along a nine mile stretch from the Nevada border to Tahoe City.
Lakefront properties along this part of Lake Tahoe shoreline tend to be more affordable than those at Incline Village or at West Lake Tahoe.
Neighborhoods include: Tahoe City, Lake Forest, Dollar Point, Agate Bay, Carnelian Bay, Tahoe Vista and King’s Beach.
Because of the north shore’s relative southern exposure, there is less snow here compared to other parts of the Tahoe shoreline—particularly on the eastern end. In fact, King’s Beach is referred to as “the banana belt.”
Tahoe Boat Harbor at Tahoe City is the largest marina on the north and west shores of Lake Tahoe.
West Lake Tahoe
West Lake Tahoe stretches from the Truckee River to Emerald Bay to the south.
The northern section of Tahoe's west shore is perhaps the quietest populated area of the Tahoe waterfront. It is also a mecca for summer and winter activities.
Summer activities include boating, camping, biking and hiking. Here's a photo taken from the Homewood Mountain Resort service road, which makes for a nice summer hike.
Obexer's Boat Company at McKinney Bay hosted the annual Concours d’ Elegance Boat Show from 2014 up until 2020, when the show went virtual. Prior to 2014, The Sierra Boat Harbor at Carnelian Bay on the north shore had hosted the show.
Winter activities include downhill skiing (Homewood), XC skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.
Take a fly around the Tahoma neighborhood of West Lake Tahoe on Google Earth.
Close to one another on the Nevada side, north of Stateline are Lakeridge, Skyland and Zephyr Cove. Here they are on Google Earth.
Looking to Buy or Sell a Tahoe Lakefront?
For the time being, it’s a seller’s market for lakefront property at Lake Tahoe. Here's where you can start the process of finding out what your home is worth.