Market Summary: February 28 – March 13

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 11 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the two week period ranging from a low of $145,000 to a high of $878,000. Of the 11 closings, six were financed and five paid cash. There were no REO/bank owned closings and one short sale closing reported.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is down seven (7) to 157. There were 14 new condo listings for the period and again all but two are truly new to the market. The unusual increase in condo inventory that occurred since the beginning of the year has slowed. There still isn’t any real evidence for why that happened. The new snow should certainly help the spring selling season for condos. But now we appear to be “normal.” This time last years there were 158 condos on the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down two (2) to 57. One of the homes listed this past week has already gone to escrow. This time last year there were 51 homes on the market. Two years ago there were 45.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up 11 to 57 at period’s end. Of the 57 properties in “pending,” there are no “contingent short sale” and 35 are in “back-up” status. This time last year there were exactly the same number of properties pending. The Mammoth MLS is only showing five homes in escrow in the new Gray Bear subdivisions but that is misleading. There are likely a dozen or so. The demand has remained high and no new homes are being released at this time. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up 15 for the period to 79. So sales are increasing as we head into what is normally an active selling period.

Market Updates and News

The summer-like weather of February has thankfully turned into weekend storms in March. The last two weekends have featured wet, windy and warm storms coming in multiple waves. Ski conditions have returned to a more winter-like state. Everyone is hoping the storms keep coming. We need as much water as possible.

March Starts With Weekend Dumps!!

The Ski Area recently posted their season pass programs for 2016-17 and many people are a bit shocked. But maybe it is a good thing. It appears that the “Value” pass is gone. What has been the Value Pass the past decade or so is now going to cost $999 (but you still get to ski at Big Bear!). This is a big price increase and the word isn’t out yet. And there has been no explanation for the ~25% increase, just here it is. Obviously they want to test the demand. These are back to the prices of season passes before the MVP. Back then they used to sell 1500-2000 a year depending on the season (you didn’t pre-purchase).

Meanwhile Vail’s Epic Pass will cost $809 for 2016/17. It is good at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City/Canyons, Heavenly Valley, Northstar, Kirkwood and others. It is unlimited. Vail Resorts also offers a “Tahoe Local Pass” for $529 which is good at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood with holiday black-out dates. It also includes five days at the other Vail resorts.

So Mammoth Mountain has taken a bold step with aggressive pricing for their season pass. It is like the “old days” when season passes came with a significant price. Of course the basic lift ticket price has gone up too. We’ll see if the numbers fall off. Or not. Maybe they think the southern California economy is so good that the new price will be supported. Maybe it will mean fewer skiers on the mountain.

The CEO of Vail Resorts was on CNBC last week and he reported that Vail has seen a “double digit” increase in Epic Pass sales. It is reported that they sell more than 500,000 season passes and pass holders come from all 50 states and 80 countries internationally. The Epic Pass is considered “the ultimate travel loyalty program.” The value of their stock is also up 53% in the past 12 months. I wonder if there is a correlation.

Besides selling season passes, the industry has moved toward “dynamic pricing” that reflects the demand of the particular day. Holidays and Saturdays can run as high as $165 at Vail. The industry is trying to incentivize more advance purchases. At Mammoth they don’t even post prices; the walk-up price is determined by some algorithm.

Vail Resorts was recently named one of the “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company magazine. The Epic Pass is noted as the cornerstone of that innovation.

We’ll see if Mammoth can remain competitive, or if they are trying to create enough value to attract a big purchase price from Vail Resorts. It sure seems that way. If that is the end result then we should all be happy to pay the new price.

Noteworthy Sales

Vacant residential lots don’t normally sell too well in the dead of winter but a nice corner lot above the Village closed for $208,000. Looks like the buyers want to start building this summer.

A 2 bedrooms / 2 baths unit at The Bridges sold for $549,000 showing once again that a beautifully remodeled condo is likely to recoup the improvements costs or more. Many buyers simply don’t want the hassle of remodeling and are willing to pay a premium price for a property where the work is already completed.

A newer duplex in the Sierra Valley Sites closed at an outrageous rent multiple, one that is reminiscent of 2005.

Condos at Grey Eagle, White Mountain Lodge, Krystal Villa East and Rainbow Villas all sold for prices that would indicate an upward trend in prices.

Two homes on Convict Drive closed for right at ~$400 per square foot. These early 2000s era homes are slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Breaking the $400+ per square foot pricing for this product is new territory.

Other Real Estate News

I had a recent email from a Mammoth HOA Board Member;

Paul that was a nice article in the Mammoth Times (it was The Sheet) regarding AIRBNB however, you left a few very important facts out of the article that really need to be addressed by AIRBNB along with unit owners using AIRBNB, etc..

Number one on the list is who does a renter contact with problems in their unit? Most HOA in Mammoth are not set up to handle repairs within a unit nor are they licensed or insured for this type of work. If the owners have not made arrangements with a local LICENSED contractor or a local LICENSED handy man they are going to have a very unhappy renter.

Number two on the list are the number of vehicles allowed per unit. Most condos in Mammoth have limited parking on the complex and that is usually defined as two (2) cars per unit. Motor home and travel trailers are not permitted.

Three on the list is it appears that renters expect FED-X, UPS and/or other special deliveries to be accepted and placed inside the unit they are renting; that is not going to happen in most complexes. Property managers do want want the liability for signing for the package nor do they want to enter a rented unit with no one around. If the opportunity arises and you have an opportunity to follow up on the article these items would be a welcomed addition.”

​Coming from a local HOA Board member it would appear these are the most common problems being seen on their project with Airbnb type renters. In the past when the on-site managers were involved with nightly rentals they were the direct interface on any of these types of issues. But not so anymore under the new rental arrangements.

I can see the Board’s frustration if these are the modern problems that keep cropping up. Owners who are actively renting and haven’t addressed these concerns are simply negligent. A direct and responsible local contact is one of the key components of Mammoth’s new Quality of Life ordinance regulating nightly rentals. So designating someone who is responsible for any problems is part of being a legal renting owner today.

The parking regulations should be clear on any Internet based representations and are likely posted inside the unit. The Fed-Ex type deliveries are a new one on me but I think it could handled with a simple “if you want the delivery and not left on the steps than you better be here.”

These are the growing pains of a new way of doing business here in Mammoth. Renters and renting owners will push the envelope. The HOAs and their management will push back. Nothing has changed.

Ironically I was out showing property this weekend and was on one condo project where I noticed numerous vehicles in the parking lot with large obnoxious green stickers stuck to their windshields. I’m sure the sticker glue doesn’t come off easy. That looks to be one of the new management responses to mis-behaving renters……

Thanks for reading!

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