Market Summary: October 23 – November 6

Mammoth Lakes Multiple Listing Service reports only 13 total sales/closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $155,000 to a high of $875,000. Only 2 of the closings were REO properties, but both were in the $700K range. Two of the closings were successful short sales.

At the period’s end there are 195 condominiums listed for sale, a decline of 16 units from the last newsletter. There are 62 single-family homes on the market in Mammoth Lakes proper (no change). And the 4 cabins on Forest Service leases in the Lakes Basin are now becoming snow bound. There are 44 lots of which 40 are residential lots. Some of the decreases in inventory can be attributed to sales, and some to listings that expired on Oct. 31.

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes increased to 84. Total number of pendings in the Mammoth MLS is currently 102 (another increase).

Market Updates and News

The period saw a nice little uptick in activity as some buyers are trying to secure a property before the holidays and winter. Calls from potential buyers remain high and everybody is looking for “value.” But I’m getting the impression that half don’t know really what “value” is (even if they were introduced to it) and the other half think that true value will come somewhere down the line–that Mammoth real estate values will decline to pre-2000 levels. But so far that trend is not to be seen.

There is softness in some segments of the market creating nice buying opportunities, especially for cash buyers. Price support remains in the low end of the condo market and decent homes in the $500-600K range. There appears to be increasing demand for “fixers,” or maybe that’s just because I’m so entrenched in the REO world and those are the bulk of buyers I’m speaking with. Or maybe just about everything in Mammoth that is being sold can be considered a fixer.

With the beginning of the winter storm cycle and the snow to prove it, it is only just a matter of time before the “winter” buyers are here. And once again they will be disappointed at the quality of the available selection of properties on the market.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of Snowcreek #761 for $703,500. This bank owned 4 bedroom/3 bath, 2-car garage townhome backed up to the Forest Service land in Phase 5, aka The Fairway Homes. This became a REO saga; during the escrow a relatively serious and rather unique “cloud” on title appeared. This delayed the escrow for a couple of months. The buyers and their agent worked especially hard to resolve and remove this cloud and were ultimately successful. And a nice photo of the happy new owners came through the email this week, more foreclosure silver lining!

A large, bank owned modern built home in a good location closed at $217 per square foot. The home had been lived in and was worn but nothing that couldn’t be cleaned up. There was some economic obsolescence due to excessive square footage in the home, but now I can foresee many buyers using this “square foot comp” as a benchmark for value. The appraisers will toss it out, and the brokers will be explaining for months to come.

The sale of a 3 bedroom / 3 bath town home that featured a bluff location and panoramic view. The sale price is $100,000 more than where a similar unit in the same project with no real view is listed at. This is an example of the value of a view, especially a big panoramic view–in the case $100K plus.

Other Real Estate News

According to local news reports, more formalized offers and counter offers are going back and forth between the Town and the holders of the $42M Hot Creek/airport judgement. I’d like to be a little mouse in that room. I’ve got a pool going and am selling squares if anybody is interested; $500,000 a square. Hopefully, the Town is using the Bankruptcy Card effectively; so many cities are facing BK that it would be nice to get at the head of the line and just get it done with and move on. Or maybe not…

The Town appears to be more and more serious about TOT (bed tax) enforcement. But the emphasis appears to be the collection and payment of the tax and not whether the activity that is generating the tax is legal or not. If life isn’t “interesting” enough, this winter may become a hoot. With greater scrutiny the Town will discover how much illegal renting (of single family) is going on and then they will make efforts to collect the bed tax that the owner hasn’t collected and the renter doesn’t want to pay. Maybe this will all come to a head so we can once-and-for-all resolve this matter. Or maybe not… perhaps it will somehow just end up being another protracted legal entanglement.

With minor snowstorms now cycling into Mammoth (thank you for the lovely October), the rumors of 1000″ winter are flying once again. But with a 650″ winter just behind us, few have asked what a 1000″ winter would do to Mammoth. Reality is it would wreak havoc. The cost of moving that last 350″ of snow would be prohibitive for the Town, Caltrans, MMSA, and the private property owners. Very few would be spared crippling snow removal expenses and property damage. My crystal ball says it will be just a nice 400″ winter with plenty of great runs. But what do I know, I’m not a weatherman, just an old fashioned real estate broker.

Thanks for reading!

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