LAKE TAHOE, Calif (KTXL) — Residents in the Lake Tahoe region are concerned about a variety of factors that could affect their quality of life, according to a survey.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center recently published a 35-page report that details survey results from the region’s community. The survey was conducted in January 2022 to gain opinions from residents about living and working in and around Tahoe. About 1,799 people were surveyed for the report. 

According to the report, 63% of residents said that life in the Tahoe region is “on the wrong track.” The survey showed only one in five respondents believed the opposite. 

The majority of residents said the lack of affordable housing, traffic congestion, vacation rentals/second homes for visitors, wildfires and smoke are among the biggest threats to the Tahoe region. Residents also pointed out “disrespectful attitudes” from tourists and a lack of economic diversity in the survey. 

Besides wildfires and smoke, 73% of residents believe the lack of housing for workers is the region’s most significant threat to a quality of life.

“The findings of this new report identify the same housing, traffic, and economic disparity issues that Tahoe residents have been struggling with and discussing for years, which is not surprising,” Tahoe Prosperity Center CEO Heidi Hill Drum said in the report. “What is surprising is that updated Census data signals that our economic and housing challenges are persistent and becoming more urgent.”

The report also said that 24% of people are struggling to make ends meet. Those respondents said they must work two or more jobs or they can’t afford to stay in Tahoe and plan to leave. 

The other 76% said they are able to live in “reasonable comfort” in the area. Among that majority, some of them work for a Tahoe-based employer, don’t work or are self-employed.

One of the key findings in the report is the average annual income in the Tahoe region, which was $53,165 in 2020. The report multiplied that average by three, concluding that a person earning the median income in the region could afford a home at $159,485 and that a couple making that amount could afford a $318,990 home. 

However, the report said there are currently no housing listings in the Tahoe Basin at that price point. According to the report, the 2021 average price of a home in Tahoe is $950,000. That median price far outpaces averages in surrounding counties. 

Using data from Chase International, the report said the average price of a Tahoe home was $345,000 in 2012, making the 2021 number a $605,000 increase in 10 years.  

As for the average price of a condo in Tahoe, data from Chase International said the 2021 median is $713,000, a $455,000 increase since 2012. 

Despite concerns from residents, the majority of them agreed that the area’s “natural beauty,” outdoor lifestyle and recreation are factors they consider make Tahoe a great place to live. A small percentage of residents said Tahoe’s sense of community, education, job opportunities, social/cultural opportunities, and resorts are other desirable factors.

“In addition to agreeing on the threats, this survey also shows that residents are unified over what makes Tahoe a great place to live,” Envision Tahoe Catalyst private sector co-chair Chris McNamara said in the report. “We love the lake, our outdoor lifestyle, recreation and our connections in the community and solving problems together. These are great building blocks for creating a shared vision for our future.” 

In the survey, residents were asked to indicate how they would prioritize efforts to maintain or improve quality of life in the Tahoe region. They were asked to mark their priorities “very high,” “high,” “somewhat high,” “medium,” or “low priority.” 

According to the report, 79% of respondents said housing should be a “very high” or “high” priority. Another high priority that the majority agreed on is imposing public access fees on tourists to pay for investments in Tahoe’s environment, transportation and community services. 

A strong majority of residents said a “very high” or “high” priority should be placed on reducing traffic congestion, imposing restrictions on short-term rentals and second homes for visitors, investing in education, expanding family services and improving broadband/cellular infrastructure.