Market Summary: August 28 – September 11

Mammoth Lakes Multiple Listing Service reports 12 sales/closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $120,000 to a high of $480,000. A relatively lackluster number of closing for this time of year but the market experienced an increasing number of properties going to escrow. Of these closings four were bank owned/REO properties and one was a successful short sale. One closing was a fractional property.

At the period’s end there were 218 condominiums listed for sale (a decline). There are 80 single-family homes on the market (another uptrend) in Mammoth Lakes proper and 4 cabins on Forest Service leases available in the Lakes Basin, and 47 lots of which 42 are residential lots (a decline).

The number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes proper increased to 83. Total number of pendings in the Mammoth MLS is currently 105.

Market Updates and News

The pre-winter selling activity continues at a steady pace. Nothing overwhelming, but steady. Many buyers still want to secure their new place before winter. Others appear to be waiting. And there are certainly Frustrated Buyers. And more and more often I hear the word “value” as in “we are looking for value.” Sometimes I wonder if they (even ones that have purchased) would know value if it smacked them in the face. And I’m convinced some are looking for properties that don’t exist.

Last week I was talking to an agent from another company and she was frustrated with the vagaries of the business and her clients. She said, “this is just a different crop of amateurs (from the 2004 era to now). They think they are savvy just because they didn’t buy back then.” Interesting commentary for sure. For me, I’m always astounded at how seldom people seek out quality representation.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of Westin Monache #537 for $275,000 cash. This was a bank owned property. My regular readers know how I emphasize the importance of purchasing “special” units within the condo hotel projects. The “special” meaning the top 15-25% of the units in respect to view, location in the project, unique floorplan, etc. This unit had it all. It sat on the market for quite some time and eventually sold for very close to the original asking price. The asset manager must have understood the value of this unique property. This was located on the upper floors overlooking the pool area with views to the Sherwins and Mammoth Mountain. It was also located in the “knuckle” of the building and has an oversized floorplan. A very nice property.

The sale of The Summit #63 for $187,500. This is a simple 1 bedroom/1 bath unit in the first phase of the Summit. Why noteworthy? Seems as though the buyer pool is now excited about Phase I 1 bedroom units at the Summit. The inventory sat around for years before, after, and during their renovation. Now they have become popular with the best units actually experiencing rising values… As evidenced by the sale of Summit #87 at $225,000. This 1 bedroom/1 bath unit is located on the south west corner of the project. It was only a couple of years ago we sold a 2 bedroom plus loft/2 bath (with upgrades) REO in almost the same location for only $50,000 more.

The sale of 1491 Forest Place for $216,000 cash. This REO 3 bedroom/2.5 bath home in a nice Slopes cul-de-sac location had received attention from many buyers over the past year. The bank worked through a serious mold issue brought on by the previous owner. The mold remediation work was completed but that left the house mostly unfinished. It was eventually listed for $138,900 as-is (cash only due the condition) and resulted in a multiple offer scenario and eventually was bid significantly higher. I’ll bet we see it back on the market in the next year (if not the next few months) in finished condition.

Other Real Estate News

An increasing number of REO properties are being held up due to title issues/confusion. A couple examples as of late; one property was quitclaim deeded two days prior to the Trustee’s Sale. The party who the property was quitclaim deeded to is asserting ownership rights. Okay… so have you been paying the common area fees? Or the taxes? Is the electricity on and in you name? No, but keep playing your games, the attorneys and title officers will sort it out. Obviously you have nothing better to do.

Next example; the Homeowners Association’s lien services company had liened the property for lack of common area fee payment and were threatening foreclosure to satisfy the lien. But the bank foreclosed. But now the title shows that lien services foreclosed before the bank (or so it appears). So now the Association owns the property (and the debt)? Wait, the lien services attorneys “just want to be paid.”

Or is it the Association that just wants to be paid? And who really owns the property? Well, all this gets sorted out and good thing for title insurance. But in the meantime anxious buyers who want to settle into their new Mammoth home before winter must have some patience. It’s not that bad, but “furniture is set for delivery.”

Meanwhile, the infamous Southern California attorney who was all over the news for letting his clients break into their prior homes after being foreclosed upon was sentenced to jail last week in Orange County.

I’m often reminded of my early musings about “expect the unexpected” in the foreclosure/REO realm. The key now is to glean out the real opportunities.

Plenty of rain here in Mammoth. Maybe another big winter is in the offing…

Thanks for reading!

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