Market Summary: September 11 – September 25

Mammoth Lakes Multiple Listing Service reports 15 sales/closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $18,000 to a high of $967,500. Quite frankly, another lackluster period for this time of year, but considering all the chatter about more foreclosures coming, the stock market roller coaster, European default, etc., Mammoth is still holding its own. Of these closings three were bank owned/REO properties and two were successful short sales. One closing was a mobile/manufactured home.

At the period’s end there were 213 condominiums listed for sale (a decline). There are 71 single-family homes on the market (a decline) in Mammoth Lakes proper and 4 cabins on Forest Service leases available in the Lakes Basin, and 46 lots of which 43 are residential lots (stable).

The number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes proper increased to 89 (an increase). Total number of pendings in the Mammoth MLS is currently 108 (an increase).

Market Updates and News

The pre-winter selling could be more active. The lower end of the condo market inventory is getting cleaned out and that activity is moving up into the $150K to $250K range. It would appear it is all about affordability. The condo market in the $299K to $360K range is very stagnant despite there being some really nice properties listed in this price range. The last two weeks we have started to see properties “withdrawn” or “cancelled” from the MLS. This trend would indicate that listing agents are now working hard for price reductions and sellers who “don’t have to sell” are simply pulling their properties off the market. Some will move to long-term rental for cash flow. Just more of Mammoth’s “don’t have to buy, don’t have to sell” marketplace.

Buyers appear to be moving to the sideline for a variety of reasons; anticipation of more foreclosures, general economic woes, waiting for some resolution to Mammoth’s outstanding Hot Creek (MLLA) judgement, and even the fear Mammoth may get really excessive snow this winter. But as one potential buyer put it, “when you really find out what it is you want, the market shrinks fast, there just isn’t that much inventory.” Once again, the key to buying is knowing what you want and being ready to act when it appears.

Meanwhile, when completing broker price opinions (BPOs) for bank owned properties, we are more and more looking at mid-2002 sales data for good indications. Except for some of the condo projects that have undergone massive capital improvement programs (and large assessments), and some of the property in the Village periphery, the values are pretty darn close. But residential lots are definitely lower than 2002.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of Lincoln House #3417 for $761,000 cash.  This could be a very fun property to own. This 3 bedroom/3 bath condo/hotel unit is located on the top floor and overlooking the main plaza of the Village. This property originally sold in 2003 for $927,900. This current sale is $532 per square foot. This is pretty good price support for a premium located Village unit. Also considering that a buyer today can purchase a very nice home today for the same money. I wonder what kind of revenue an aggressive self-renter (vrbo) could generate with this unit?

The sale of Grayfox #2 for $697,500. This was a short sale. This modern 3 bedroom/3 bath, 2-car garage townhome is located directly across the street from the entrance to the Westin Monache. Developer John Hooper crammed the townhomes onto this site and the project was completed in 2006. A buyer wouldn’t buy this for “peace and serenity,” this is a pure income play without the condo hotel ambiance.

The first closings of Westin Monache units from the recent auction, #731, a top floor 1/1 for $239,500. That seems like good price. #145, a ground floor 2/2 for #316,100 (that’s cheap, or maybe not?), #440, a 2/2 for $489,000.

The sale of 199 Alexander Lane for $967,500. This is a lovely, modern 3200 square foot home on a large lot in the depths of Old Mammoth near the creek. This was built by a local contractor for himself and completed in 2006. Great summer location, might be a little tricky in the winter. The market for $1M second homes is still here.
The sale of Snowcreek #849 for $245,000 cash. This was an REO and it is a little surprising the bank let it go this cheap so fast. It wasn’t on the market that long. This is a 2 bedroom/2 bath “flat” in Phase 5/Fairway Homes.

Other Real Estate News

Winter air service to/from Orange County and San Diego became official this week. This is going to make Mammoth increasingly accessible for Southern Californians including those who simply “want to join” their family or friends who are already here. This brought a little extra interest in the small hangars/storage units at the airport. Once these routes are established this can only benefit real estate in Mammoth. Those areas have plenty of Mammoth lovers.

Speaking of the airport, the Mono County Supervisors recently changed their minds about subsidizing air service and have chipped in. And the controversial terminal addition is under construction. Seems like the powers-that-be are determined at moving the Mammoth airport forward.

I’m getting calls from property owners about their property tax bills. I’m no expert although I do sit on the Appeals Board. Hundreds of people are appealing their assessments. Values have clearly declined. Without a formal appeal, you lose the opportunity to even have a meaningful discussion with the Assessor’s office. If the appeal is not “timely” then you lose the opportunity too. To be timely, the appeal must be filed by November 30 (and I can’t help you). Call the Mono County Assessor for detailed information, and take notes.

The leaves are starting turn in the Sierra and the weather looks great for the next couple of weeks. There is still plenty of water in the lakes and creeks. This is a great time of year to visit Mammoth!!

Thanks for reading!

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