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Lake Tahoe Lifestyle in High Demand

Lake Tahoe Lifestyle in High Demand

At 193 square miles and 6,229 feet of elevation, Lake Tahoe is the highest U.S. lake of its size and the largest alpine lake in North America. Naturally, with 72 miles of shoreline and 182 nearby ski trails, Lake Tahoe has long been a leisure traveler's dream destination.

Now, the area is humming with real estate activity for those seeking a more permanent four-season lifestyle. And the epicenter for this piece of luxurious lakefront living is the California side of heavenly Lake Tahoe.

To be precise, one of the hottest high-end real estate pockets is an exclusive private country club community called Martis Camp. Located between Truckee and North Lake Tahoe in the Martis Valley, this 2,177-acre gated golf course development recorded nearly $30 million in real estate transactions through the first six months of the year.

And this strong start to 2012 is on top of $90.2 million in real estate sales from the previous year - making Martis Camp one of the fastest-selling master-planned developments in America. According to a Martis Camp official, the surge in real estate sales has largely been spurred by the tech boom in Silicon Valley.

For instance, many of Martis Camp's property owners and club members are executives at Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other leading tech companies. Besides its sheer High Sierra beauty, what makes Martis Camp so attractive are its many year-round amenities and attractions.

From its world-class championship golf course designed by highly acclaimed architect Tom Fazio to ski access in the winter months via the club's private "express lift" to neighboring Northstar California, Martis Camp is a true four-season second-home community. The family friendly club also caters to multi-generation what with the Family Barn complex that features swimming, a bowling alley, movie theater, outdoor performance amphitheater, sporting fields and more.

One of the more exciting developments at Martis Camp is the new Lookout Lodge - a 7,500-square-foot slope side mountain clubhouse with direct chairlift access to the adjacent ski resort Northstar-at-Tahoe, California.

Meanwhile, Martis Camp recently released 58 of their Cabin Homesites this summer to meet the continued demand of potential homeowners. These coveted homesites start in the $500,000s and are located just steps from the Family Barn, Camp Lodge and golf course.

"We have been very pleased with the strong sales activity and overall response to Martis Camp," Martis Camp general manager Mark Johnson said. "It's been our vision from day one to create an incredible retreat for family and friends, and the continued growth and interest of the community is turning that initial vision into a reality."

In many ways, Martis Camp and the surrounding Lake Tahoe region is benefitting from the perfect storm, fueled by the surge in Silicon Valley money and a wave of capital flowing into the destination led by major resort owners/developers such as KSL Partners and Vail Resorts.

Perhaps Vail Resorts, a publicly traded company (NYSE:MTN), got the capital flow jumpstarted when it acquired the popular Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort nearly two years ago as part of a $63 million deal. Vail Resorts, which is in the midst of more than $30 million in capital improvements at Northstar, now operates two mountain resorts in the Lake Tahoe region, including Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe.

Of course, Vail Resorts' acquisition of the Northstar property was on the heels of a banner 2009-2010 ski season when Northstar-at-Tahoe welcomed more than 700,000 skier visits and the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe officially opened its doors.

Situated at mid-mountain and featuring ski-in, ski-out access, the Ritz-Carlton entered the market as a year-round resort with 170 guest rooms, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 25 Ritz-Carlton Club fractional units.

More recently, another major player to put their stamp on the region was KSL Capital Partners, which recently purchased nearby Squaw Valley and committed to $30-$50 million in capital improvements over the next three years.

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