Market Summary: November 20 – December 4

Mammoth Lakes Multiple Listing Service reports 16 sales/closings (same as last period) in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $51,500 to a high of $699,000. Three of the closings were bank owned or REO properties and three closings were successful short sales.

At the period’s end there are 182 condominiums listed for sale, a further decline from last period. There are 60 single-family homes on the market in Mammoth Lakes proper (no change). There are 41 residential lots listed for sale.

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes decreased to 87. Total number of pendings in the Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is currently 106 (another decrease).

Market Updates and News

Sales activity should continue to slow as most thoughts are consumed by the holidays and year-end activities. The general foreclosure activity will be of interest. In the past few years there has been an informal moratorium on foreclosure activity between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. There are still approx. 32 Trustee’s Sales scheduled between now and the end of the year in Mammoth Lakes. Some have been postponed before, and some are newcomers subject to being postponed. We’ll see how motivated the lenders are to dropping the hammer. There are a handful of good REO properties currently managed by this brokerage that should come to the market before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the weather watchers are starting to pray for snow. The 10-day forecast is for clear and cold. But this wouldn’t be the first winter that experienced a big dump just before the critical Christmas/New Year’s holiday. The Ski Area is taking full advantage of sub-freezing daytime temperatures to make snow even during daylight hours. If the skiing is marginalized during the holiday period the real estate related activity goes up significantly, so I’m praying for snow too, we need a break and want to enjoy the holidays. And we love skiing in January; the snow is crisp and the crowds light.

Noteworthy Sales

Not too many truly noteworthy sales during this past period… The sale of Sierra Manors #63, a 2 bedroom / 2 bath REO condo for $125,000. The Sierra Manors project continues to amaze me. There have been numerous forecloses in this large downtown-located project over the past few years. There are more coming. But they have all re-sold quickly, with even a recent upward trend in values. These properties are certainly the epitome of affordability and “crashpad.” The project was re-painted this past summer with no special assessment. The project’s Board and management deserve kudos. With the redevelopment of the restaurants across the street, this micro-area of Mammoth has not looked so good in many years.

Besides that, some real ho-hum sales, a couple of typical $500K price range homes in good locations (more price support in that segment.) A couple of Westin Monache units at no radical reduction in value. A Bluffs lot at a market price. Some cheapie condos at reasonable prices. And a couple of walk-to lifts condos selling in the high $300K range. No great deals, more like buyers in a hurry to have their place before the holidays.

Other Real Estate News

I had dinner this past Friday night at Mammoth’s new Chinese restaurant, The Red Lantern. No expense was spared in this re-construction of the old Ocean Harvest building. It is absolutely beautiful. The display kitchen is sweet and even includes some front row dining/bar-type seating (I’m there). The decor is amazing. This may be the classiest restaurant in Mammoth. Nice bar with Asian influenced martinis. A new restaurant always needs a few weeks before you can qualify the food, but so far the menu looks to be more “California” than hole-in-the-wall Chinese. But truly more competition for the Village now on Old Mammoth Road. Now will they just do something with Grumpy’s.

The local news outlets are reporting that the Town and the holders of the Hot Creek judgment, MLLA, are in an offer/counteroffer phase of negotiating. There is even conjecture that there may be a small tax imposed on future lift tickets to assist in paying off the debt. MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory has even been mentioned as “being in support” of this. This would be an interesting twist since most people have forgotten that MMSA and Mr. Gregory were originally sued similarly by Hot Creek over this same matter. That case was dropped and the suit with the Town has resulted in where we are today. This saga has yet to be played out.

Speaking of the Mammoth Mountain, more and more watchers are seeing what they believe are indications that Starwood Capital is courting a buyer. The settlement of their longstanding property tax dispute with Mono County, increasing hyperbole about future development, even the continued presence of high-end jets for extended periods at the airport this fall are all starting to make many wonder. We’ll see.

The random phone calls from desperate people trying all assorted avenues to find holiday rentals continues here in this office, maybe more than I can ever remember. Seems like the demand is as high as ever. Conversely, I hear more and more property owners now desiring to rent their properties out during that a period because the demand and revenue potential is so high, and the overcrowded conditions simply makes it a worthy trade-off.

Thanks for reading!

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