Which pendulum will swing next? A below-normal year of snowfall (after two record winters) and an early Easter put a quick end to the winter tourism season in Mammoth. In the past couple of months, multiple negotiations between buyers and sellers have resulted in few real transactions. The sellers are generally apathetic and the buyers are looking to shave 10 to 20 percent off of asking prices. Some local agents are pushing harder, some are simply backing off, and some have simply gone on extended vacations (not me).
Most sellers still think there is something—some announcement regarding the airport(s), the “signings” of high-end hotel chains, interest rate cuts, etc. that will spark the market to another level of higher value. The sellers, at least those posers with their properties listed for sale, are apparently not feeling any pain. The (potential) buyers pretend that the world is coming to an end,but they still want to buy something in Mammoth. When serious sellers meet the serious buyer the result is usually a successfully closed transaction.
But as we move into the late spring and early summer, the raw inventory numbers are going to be the best indicator of the market’s health. This is typically the time when the inventory numbers rise, usually peaking out around Labor Day weekend. So far in 2007, we saw a rise in the February time frame when it became apparent that this was going to be a dry winter. Overall we’ve been sitting in the 275 range for total condo listings. A variety of Village condos have come on and off the market the past few months, but overall they have represented about 16% of the total condo inventory. There is substantial resale inventory in some of the recently built condo projects like The Lodges, The Cabins, Solstice, etc. Then there are “bunches” of listings in projects like Sierra Manors and Woodlands. In some projects there isn’t anything for sale. Adjusting for the listed re-sales in the recently built projects and some of the bunching, the condo inventory numbers are not historically excessive at all.
In the single-family residential market there are only 74 homes listed for sale with 30 listed under $1,000,000. Of that 30 there is an odd lot of nice homes on substandard lots or lousy locations, obsolete homes on nice lots, and some funky added-on-to properties. Most really do need some owners that feel some pain if they want to get sold. Then there’s the almost 20 homes listed above $3,000,000. This segment of the market has been a flat line for over a year. And while there are many homes in this price range under construction around town, the buyers are turning their noses up at the existing inventory.
Residential vacant lot inventory will always be low just based on scarcity, but there are some interesting offerings out there, some with owner financing. The crushing demand for contractors has mellowed somewhat, making it a potentially good time to build a home or remodel. But according to the contractors I’ve talked to, there doesn’t appear to be any decline in the cost of materials. Oil prices and inflation may guarantee that.
The foreclosure pipeline is showing just a couple of possibilities, but nothing so far that will impact the market or create a trend. So for those watching the Mammoth real estate market, the following months will be an interesting time to watch the quantity and quality of the inventory. I’ll also try to decipher any significant announcements. (There are lots of rumors flying, but I’m content to wait and see. I can’t see anything that is going to “rock” the market.) Stay tuned. In the meantime, an early summer is always welcome.