August 10, 2021
Lake Tahoe’s Housing Crunch Is the Ski Town Dilemma Writ Large
We’ve covered what remote work and housing costs have done to mountain towns across the West. Ski towns in the winter, river towns in the summer, dependent heavily on seasonal tourism, with most locals not making a ton of money, but housing not costing a ton either. It wasn’t going to take much to tip the balance away from those who lived on the edge of having just enough money for a roof over the heads, but with plenty of free time and access to recreation.
Remote work and skyrocketing real estate has changed that.
Truckee, California, has long been just such a town. Barely over three hours from San Francisco, the old western town on the north side of Lake Tahoe has always straddled the line between dirtbag heaven and playground for wealthy Bay Area residents. But in the last two years, it’s become the poster child for Zoom towns, with housing prices soaring 75 percent in a single year. Renters are being evicted from homes that are selling for fortunes and have few options available to them. How will the town look a decade from now? Impossible to say. Perhaps those who relocated to their favorite playground will get tired of the same handful of restaurants, or snow piling up five or six months a year. Or, things will forever change.
The Washington Post made a short film about Truckee, and what it looks like to live through this moment of change. It’s embedded below, but if your browser won’t play it, you can also watch it at the WaPo site, here.
Photo: Wil Stewart