Market Summary: August 11 – August 25

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 12 closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $105,000 to a high of $370,000. That is seven (7) fewer closings than last period. All-in-all a pretty lackluster period for closings especially in the higher end of the market. But as we’ll see the market is far from inactive. There were two (2) REO/bank owned property closings and NO short sale closings for the period.

Clearly, we are heading back into a more “normal” market, at least for now. And again, the closings are up and down in relation to recent sales. There is no definitive trend in the market. There ARE increasingly frustrated potential buyers. Also, the most significant “higher” prices appear to be in the Village periphery and the low-end of the market.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end there are 122 condominiums listed for sale in Mammoth Lakes, that is up three (3) from the last period. New condo listings have typically been of two varieties; either priced competitively in the market that they sell quickly, or priced so high that the buyers will simply say no thanks.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes decreased again by three (3) to 50. There are some new listings in the home market as other properties have gone to escrow. But the < $500K segment is still in a lull. Some (wannabe) sellers who have been stalled on the market are now offering their properties for rental.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up 12 to 76, but that does include two storage units at the airport.. Of the 76 properties in “pending,” 10 are “contingent short sales” and 36 are in “back-up” status. The increase in properties “to contract” could be anomaly or maybe it is the start of the pre-winter selling season. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) increased by eight (8) to105. That would indicate the increase in activity is focused in Mammoth Lakes.

Market Updates and News

Tourism slowed in Mammoth during the period with many schools re-opening in mid-August. (Or maybe it is the lack of any more major alcohol/music related events on the calendar??) In the past the “empty nester” crowd came to Mammoth post-Labor Day to enjoy the last weeks of summer and the kid-free scene. In the future it looks like these folks can now come even before Labor Day.

I was out on the ocean this past week and the Yosemite fire was big international news. That fire, thankfully, has not produced the nasty smoke conditions in the local area like the previous Aspen fire. On Saturday there was an obvious fire west of Lone Pine while driving through the Owens Valley. All of the fire activity in the West made me think about the extensive tree thinning and fire prevention that has occurred locally in the past few years.

To the north a major fire break was cleared on the blue-diamond Mammoth Loop Trail. On the south of town there was two summers of tree clearing in the area where Old Mammoth Road meets The Bluffs. Extensive tree clearing even occurred within the Valentine Reserve. Meanwhile, the local fire department cracked down on all local private property owners for “defensible space” and “ladder fuels,” the dried and dead lower limbs of large tress. Mammoth Lakes is in a much safer condition then it was prior to 2007.

The Digital 395 fiber optic project has been extended but is near completion. In the past two weeks the focus was on the major segment of Hwy. 203. Again, this has been a massive infrastructure undertaking. According to the contractor, the network is now capable of delivering broadband from Mammoth to Reno. The much hoped-for service should be coming soon. Meanwhile, AT&T is attempting to place additional cell towers within Mammoth Lakes.

The week after Labor Day weekend will be a re-kindled mega biking event combining a major mountainbike event (a la the 1980’s) and the Fall Century ride. The Century will begin and end in the Village as opposed to some remote highway location like in the past. We’re looking forward to the Kamikaze events coming back to Mammoth. This should be an annual event. We certainly don’t need a bunch of smoke.

Noteworthy Sales

The past two weeks and all the closings were under $370,000. Vacant residential lot sales continue in Mammoth with walking-distance to Eagle Express bringing the biggest premium. The sale on Holiday Vista Drive at $265,000 and one on Holiday Way going for $157,500. Those two sales could be construed as “some prices going up, and some prices going down.”

The sales showing prices are flat or lowering; a top row Courchevel 2 bedroom / 2 bath with 1-car garage, a nice Silverbear 2 bedroom / 2 bath, and a 3 bedroom / 2 bath at Tyrolean Village.

The sales indicating some substantial increase in values; a 3 bedroom / 2 bath with 1-car garage at Chateau de Montagne, a 2 bedroom + loft / 3 bath at Snowflower, a 1 bedroom / 1 bath cabin in Old Mammoth, and a couple of low-end condos.

Other Real Estate News

It may be summer on the calendar but it is time to start praying for snow. Seriously. Not only would an early snow help the forest fire situation and risk, but the Sierra may be at near-record low water levels. Even in the multiple drought years of the late 1980’s, I can’t remember the water levels being so low in the local lakes and streams. Even Mammoth Creek is running pathetically low. The low water levels are consistent both north and south; the Walker River is barely a trickle, and the drainage area above Bishop is even worse.

Thanks for reading!

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