Market Summary: July 3 – July 17

Mammoth Lakes Multiple Listing Service reports 8 sales/closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $80,000 to a high of $949,000.

At the period’s end there were 231 condominiums listed for sale in Mammoth Lakes of which 30 are Westin Monache units. There are 68 single-family homes on the market in Mammoth, and 52 lots of which 49 are residential lots. Call it the dog days of summer in real estate. The total number of “pendings” or properties in escrow has risen in the past two weeks so we may be close to the low in actual closings.

The total number of condo listings has remained flat (and relatively low) which is a bit unusual for this time of year. There are some new bank owned (REO) condos about to come to the market. This broker has been out showing condos this past week and there ARE some nice properties on the market. They will be sold by October.

The total number of single-family homes market actually declined by one over the period (I really have to scrub out the 3 new Forest Service cabins in the Lakes Basin). Again, this is not the normal inventory trend in Mammoth Lakes. There are about a dozen homes in the sub $600K range that are just sitting and they just need $100K reduced off the asking price. There are buyers at those lower price points.

Market Updates and News

Seems like every developable parcel in town outside of those around the Village owned by iStar has come to the market in the past few weeks. From the “Woods Site,” to the Mammoth Creek parcel that caused such a hullabaloo only a few years back. Are there really buyers out there?? Or are these just delusional owners (wannabe sellers)? There haven’t been any developers sniffing around that I know of. I must be missing something.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of Grand Sierra Lodge #1430 at $275,000 is continued display of solid price support in the Village. Granted, this was a top floor 1 bedroom/1 bath unit in a nice location, but this sale would once again indicate slightly rising values in the Village, especially for quality units.

The sale of 13 Tyrol Lane for $949,000. I spoke about this quick sale in my last newsletter and now it has already closed. This is a large 5 bedroom/5 bath home with large garage completed in 2005. The kicker was seller financing, AND the seller moved out. Don’t really know why short term seller financing would be so attractive… Interesting too to see little resistance to purchasing a $1M home with shabby condos across the street.

The sale of 2308 Old Mammoth Road at $500,000. This multi-level 4 bedroom/3 bath late-80’s “Hooper” had mint green exterior paint and lot of “granny goose” interior touches but has lots of sun and plenty of open space around it. A nice buy for somebody. Let’s see what they do with it.

The sale of Snowcreek #974 for $435,000. This 2 bedroom/2 bath, 1-car garage townhome in the Fairway Homes represented a good buy at below market value. Two similar (and nice) properties have come to the market since this was in escrow at the $500K mark and both have already gone to escrow.

The sale of 131 Steelhead in June Lake at $662,500. Not a Mammoth sale but one worth mentioning (and a lesson to learn). This was one of my recent Mammoth Foreclosure of The Week properties. This is a very nice Steve Johnson built home in almost new condition. And truly spectacular views (that term is SO overused but this property easily qualified). So the property came to the market and there are several interested buyers who made offers. Asset manager calls for a “highest and best” from all buyers. One particular buyer makes a major overbid AND is a financed buyer. They think they are a shoe-in to get the deal. NOPE!

I’ve seen this now a few times, and the hyper-bidding buyer gets real indignant (and even ballistic). To quote asset managers “highest is not always best.” A cash buyer has one less (major) contingency in their offer–no loan. And a loan is often contingent upon an appraisal. And the asset manager is in possession of a recent appraisal. Asset managers also know hyper-bidders often get buyer’s remorse real fast and most likely while the loan is in process. Asset managers don’t care if cash buyers become remorseful after a quick close. And there’s plenty more, but enough said… This property was originally listed at $630,000.

Other Real Estate News

Amidst controversy and financial dilemmas of all sorts, the Mammoth Lakes Town Council has finagled (budget cut) its way to commit to reopen the Town’s ice rink this next winter. The scheduled opening date is Dec. 2. Let’s hope it happens, but…

From Paul’s “I don’t know, Department”… A couple of days ago our Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 458 into law and it is being applauded by the real estate industry as huge win for California (distressed) homeowners, but I don’t know. SB 458 extends SB 931 from 2010. SB 931 protects successful short sellers from any further financial responsibility to the lender; basically the payment agreed upon and received by the lender is considered payment in full. But SB 931 only applied to the first lien holder. SB 458 now extends that protection to junior lien holders.

Hooray! Here’s my problem. The cooperation of junior lien holders has been critical to many successful short sales. The junior lien holders cooperate because they know they can still go after the defaulted borrower for the money owed. So now the State has taken away the motivation to cooperate in the short sale. The way I see it is the junior lien holders are better off not cooperating in a short sale and watching the first lien holder ultimately foreclose. At least they aren’t giving away all their rights. At best they will negotiate for a bigger piece of the short sale pie and that will diminish the value to the first lien holder or potentially the buyers (or the brokers).

The State’s attempt to protect the distressed property owner may have thrown a major obstacle into their escape route. Only time will tell.

Enjoy the dog days, I’m heading for my mountain bike.

Thanks for reading!

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