Market Summary: May 18 – June 1

This may be an abbreviated newsletter because by the time you read this I will be on the Pacific heading to warmer water in pursuit of gamefish. So… The Mammoth MLS is reporting 16 closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $155,000 to a high of $1,090,000. During the period there were NO REO/bank owned property closings and NO short sale closings. The market is moving along at a stable pace, but more closings than new sales during the period. The lack of decent inventory is clearly holding back the volume of sales. But late spring and early summer are typically slower real estate selling periods in Mammoth. Most people are consumed with weddings, graduations and vacations, etc… But it is a time when the Mammoth inventory should be increasing.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end there are 111 condominiums listed for sale in Mammoth Lakes, an increase of five (5). Some casual interviews with local appraisers in the past week provided the consensus; the market values of Mammoth condos are “stable and increasing” in their appraisal reports. They are calling the market trend at increases of 1% per month… But how long will those increases last? Some local agents are quoting “increases of 2.5% per month.” The next six months should be a great time for sellers. But as history has proven, those sellers sitting on the fence will most likely let greed dictate. And the agents with mouths to feed and bills to pay will be pushing hard. Some of the new condo listings during the pre-Memorial Day push are pretty highly priced. We’ll see.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up two (2) again to 53. John Hooper just listed a new spec home at Greystone for $995,500. It is 4 bedrooms / 3.5 baths, 2350 square feet. It is the lot closest to the Solstice condominium project. This will be a modest home (compared to the other ones) and a slightly compromised lot next to the condos. But this is good value.

Historically when Hooper has done these small subdivisions the “cheap” home of the batch has panned out well. I purchased his “dog of the development” in 2000 and never regretted it… Meanwhile, home buyers are stuck looking at plenty of junk on the low-end and some high prices throughout the rest of the residential market… And there are some decent lot buys out there.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down nine (9) to 61. Of the 61 properties in “pending,” seven (7) are “contingent short sales” and 24 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down five (5) at 84. All pretty normal market activity for this time of year.

Market Updates and News

Memorial Day Weekend brought a solid crowd into town and the weather was beautiful. The volume of visitors may have been bigger if the skiing was decent, but the snow conditions deteriorated fast. The Lakes Basin is open but the campgrounds are still closed (it’s early). It will now be sleepy until the Motocross rolls into town in the second half of June. So this is a perfect time to be in Mammoth if you like peace and quiet, or like me, go on vacation.

The local election will wind down this next week and Mammoth will have three new Council members soon. Three of the candidates are clearly backed by “development interests” (why else would someone spend so much money for a job that doesn’t pay??). No candidate really stands out. A discussion with The Sheet publisher Ted Carlton brought an interesting comment, he said “I’m voting for the people who can say ‘no.'” …For all of the trouble the Town has been in the last few years, the current Council is leaving us in respectable shape; local government is small (maybe too small) but efficient.

Government can always grow, but slashing it back is the hard part, and they did that. Bed tax (TOT) generation is still strong despite drought winters. The TBID that essential pays for the Airport judgement and the air service subsidies makes people grumble but it isn’t going away. The visitors don’t seem to care. The local businesses that have to collect it despise it. And the light winter kept the pot holes and snow removal expenses to a minimum.

A recent election Q&A session with the candidates uncovered that ALL of the candidates are in favor of outlawing plastic carry-out bags (like the ones from VONS). So this sounds like a slam dunk since there is already a majority vote to outlaw them. If this is enacted, VONS on a busy winter evening shall be quite entertaining.

Noteworthy Sales

A couple of interesting sales of properties that sold not too long ago and then sold again. They give us some market insight. The sale of Mammoth Pines #4 for $372,000. This 2 bedroom + loft / 3 bath townhome sold last July for $350,000 after 378 days on the market. This time around it sold and closed in less than 60 days… And the sale of a small home at 2 Shady Rest Road. This home has sold many times over the past decades. But this time it sold for $382,500 or $415 per square foot. It last sold in October of 2009 for $280,000. The most recent owner had the property in nice condition but no add-ons or major upgrades. Quality condition doesn’t always add more value, but it does get an efficient  sale.

The sale of Woodlands #6 at $360,000. This 2 bedroom + loft / 2 bath townhome was in good but relatively original condition and has nice solar exposure but is also right at the intersection of two busier streets and a shuttle stop. It will also need the Town required fireplace retrofitting. Woodlands units in the same proximity have recently sat on the market for years with their values eroded. This one sold quickly and for a significantly higher price.

The sale of Snowcreek 5 #789 for $555,000. This is the popular 3 bedroom / 3 bath end-unit floorplan. This unit has a nice location and views; backing up to the Forest Service land, right across from the spa (and dumpster) and not too close to the building next door. This sold quick and the values in Snowcreek 5 continue slowly rise.

The sale of Holiday Vista Drive for $210,000. This is a good residential lot; very buildable topography, opportunity for excellent views, nice neighborhood and easy, flat walk to Eagle Express. A good buy.

The sale of 112 Grindlewald at $619,000 or $305 per square foot. This older 3 bedroom / 2 bath, 2-car garage home sits in a dark hole and needs sooo much work. Some buyers are clearly getting desperate.

A ho-hum Studio at the Westin closed for $195,000, so they have came back to some reality. A mediocre home sold for $385,000 via FHA so some local resident has a new home. A small “A” frame that has been on the market for years sold for $380,000.

Other Real Estate News

In 1996 Mammoth experienced the invasion of Intrawest. Part of the story was that of Peter Dupuis and Sid Landolt aka S&P. S&P Destination Resorts were the marketing geniuses that created the whole selling system Intrawest used to build momentum in a market, and specifically Mammoth. From the glossy brochures, resort sales language, videos like “On The Shoulders of Giants” and the infamous high-pressure “sales launches.” They trained a whole generation of Mammoth real estate sales people. Pete was famous for his slogan “selling is the transfer of enthusiasm.”

I got to know Pete fairly well because he and Sid had once owned a successful RE/MAX office in Vancouver. Many of my associates worked closely with them and one of my former associates still manages sales for them in Hawaii. The two left Mammoth in the early 2000’s but the methodology and training they left behind still has powerful influence on this market. They have sold over 23,000 resort condos all over the world and have represented properties including Trump, Ritz-Carlton, and Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes. Many old school brokers found their methods hyperbolic and almost phony. Sometimes it provided the source of ironic comedy.

But there was a very nice article in the recent California Real Estate magazine about Pete and Sid. They founded the non-profit World Housing that partners with real estate developers. And for every home the partner/developer sells there is a home built in some destitute part of the world, areas plagued by frequent flooding and infestation. Their latest partner in Vancouver is scheduled to fund 205 of these homes. These homes cost approx. $2,500 to construct. They are building housing in landfills in Cambodia, Mexico, Manila, etc. The program is known as “a house for a house.” Very impressive. Well done.

I’ll be back in three weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.