Market Summary: May 8 – May 22

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 14 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the two week period ranging from a low of $146,000 to a high of $825,000. Of the 14 closings, 13 were financeable properties and 10 were conventionally financed and one seller financed. There were six (6) single family homes sold including three under $500,000.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up three (3) to 160. There were only 12 new condo listings for the period and some are truly new and some are rehash. This time last year there were 180 condos on the market. This time two years ago there were 125 condos on the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up eight (8) to 52. The new listings are truly new to the market except for one. This time last year there were 65 homes on the market. Two years ago 62.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down 10 to 39 at period’s end. Of the 39 properties in “pending,” there are no “contingent short sale” and 24 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down four (4) for the period to 67. Interestingly, two of the Mammoth pendings are apartment complexes priced at over $2 million. Last year there were 37 properties under contract.

Market Updates and News

The cooler weather continues in Mammoth and the slow season is truly upon us. Many local residents are taking time off after a busy winter. There is still decent skiing to be had but most are thinking about summer sports. The aspens are starting to fill in and the grass that is left is turning green. After Town Clean Up this weekend Mammoth will present a nice face for the Memorial Day weekend crowd. But it is just a blip of business until the late June crowds begin to show. It is prime time for a vacation.

More Cool Weather and The Lovely Mammoth Shoulder Season

The upcoming Town Council election is simply weird. The most likely (and popular) new potential Councilman screwed up his filing and is a write-in candidate. We’ll see how that works. Two of the candidates this past week were quoted as being “tired.” (Makes you wonder how guys like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have the energy to keep charging.) A recent open forum for the candidates almost ended up in a fist fight.

And one candidate has lived in town for such a short time that she has no clue about what most people are discussing. She’s very bright but needs to be around town a bit longer.

And now the County Clerk has admitted a mistake on the ballot and there is confusion about how the election will proceed. And one problem is that many of the ~1200 registered Mammoth voters vote by mail and have already cast their ballots.

At the recent forum the candidates were unanimous that the new police station was the top priority on the capital improvements wish list. From there it was also fairly unanimous that creating a permanent events venue for events like Bluesapalooza is a priority. The community benefit from these type of events has become quite evident. The ice rink/MUF at Mammoth Creek Park seems to be falling down the priority list.

Meanwhile the current Town Council voted this last week to begin solving the parking problem in the Village. Of course they would, two of the Council members own businesses in the Village (and coincidentally those two were also the two that said no to the ice rink EIR because “we don’t have the money.) They voted to spend a half million dollars to construct 38 parking spaces on the Town owned property next door to the Westin Monache. This was land exacted from Intrawest with the intent to build a multilevel parking structure. They are also exploring utilizing some additional on street parking in the Village periphery.

The Village parking problem has reached a critical state because the new owner of the property across from White Mountain Lodge (where the “W” was going to be built) that has been serving as a parking lot has bouldered the entry shut and is not allowing any parking. What his intent is remains unknown. But the Town’s new expenditure for Village parking will certainly displace monies to other items on the community wish list.

Besides the two previously mentioned large apartment complexes in escrow, there has been impressive recent activity in smaller apartment buildings also. But Mammoth has not seen significant rent increases like so many California areas. So the motivation for these sales at high rent multiples is questionable. And Mammoth traditionally can’t support higher rents, it is just part of the local economics. One longtime apartment owner who recently listed one of his properties said “In the last 15 years rents haven’t gone anywhere.”

The national media was talking about “zombie foreclosures” again this past week. There aren’t too many in Mammoth. And they are hard to spot in condo projects where regular maintenance is ongoing. But there is one home in The Trails that has been vacant for years. It just sits there. The property is probably worth ~$600,000. The market value has technically risen since it was foreclosed on. But the lack of maintenance will ultimately affect the value.

Odds are good that the foreclosure and title are lost in the whole Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) and whoever or whatever owns the property doesn’t even know it. It is a true zombie foreclosure. The previous owners could have lived there for years without payment. Or they could have rented it to a tenant and collected rent for many months/years until the tenant got wise. Or somebody could have illegally moved in and squatted for years.

Meanwhile, there were six trustee sale notices in the local papers this past week. That is more than we have seen in over a year. There are still plenty of properties with 10-year fixed rate loans and loan modifications that will soon face serious payment adjustments. There should be another round, albeit much smaller, of distress in the market.

Noteworthy Sales

Three homes under $500,000 closed. One had been on the market for 482 days. The other two were not on the market long at all. The low end of the home market remains strong.

Speaking of “days on market,” I recently noticed one home in Mammoth has been on the market for 1,319 days.

The glut of Aspen Creek condos on the market has found a sale of a 1 bedroom / 1 bath unit at $146,000. Owners have got to hope that is as low as they go.

A rare 1 bedroom + loft / 2 baths at the Summit closed for $253,500. These units are only located in one smaller building at the Summit so they don’t often come to the market. This unit had a nice view to Eagle Express and is an easy walk to the chairlift. A property worthy of some renovation.

Two units closed at Mammoth Ski & Racquet. Oddly, I have never represented a buyer at this project. Not in 30 years.

Other Real Estate News

Just like the real estate brokerage business, the vacation rental business continues to evolve. The new fees structure has many VRBO owners and renters upset. They both will look for new avenues of connecting even though they are likely to continue using VRBO. I have suggested in the past that proactive owners should have their own website with the description of the property in the URL. I’m thinking like www.Mammoth(condo project name)(unit #).com. And maybe even a flowery URL like

At the recent Vacation Rental Success Summit 2016, one “key take-away” was that video is the “must-do” activity for the competitive advantage. The videos can range from a professionally produced video to simple and short “video handshakes” highlighting some feature of the property or some activity in the vicinity.

The videos could also include renter produced videos of them having good time during their stay. Multiple property related videos loaded to You Tube is an inexpensive way to market the property and be found by Google. And just like today’s sellers of real estate, the vacation renters in the future will come to demand video.

Speaking of vacations……it is time. I hope the sharks aren’t too bad.

Thanks for reading!

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