Market Summary: June 19 – July 3

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 10 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $132,000 to a high of $1,470,000. Of the 10 closings, nine (9) were financeable properties and four were conventionally financed and two seller financed. Included in the mix were four low-end condos, a small commercial property and two homes over $1.3M.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up 20 to 174. That is a substantial rise in inventory but this is to be expected this time of year. We’re still not as high as last year at this time. Many sellers “rush” to get their properties on the market prior to this popular holiday weekend.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up eight (8) to 66. The new inventory is scattered through the price ranges. Again, these are very typical cyclical increases of inventory in the Mammoth real estate market.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down three (3) to 46 at period’s end. Of the 46 properties in “pending,” there are two (2) “contingent short sale” properties and 29 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up two (2) for the period to 82.

Market Updates and News

Summer has just started and for some reason it already feels like the “dog days of summer.” The weather in Mammoth has been slightly warmer than perfect with a couple days of light smoke from distant fires thrown in. It could have been much worse. We had an intense lightning storm just east of town this last week. And some good rain.

Fourth of July Weekend……Big Crowd, Clear Weather.

Last weekend’s Mammoth Motocross finale brought massive rider participation. The town was packed with all sorts of motorcycle hauling equipment. But Sunday evening and Monday morning there was the usual mass exodus. The Motocross obviously brings substantial cashflow to the community in what could be considered a shoulder period. It is hard to believe it almost met its demise just a few years back.

The past week was a welcome lull but the Fourth of July weekend really is the kick-off of summer. The lakes and creeks are full and the spring and recent rains have Mammoth and the surrounding area as green a can be expected after so little overall precipitation the past few years. There is plenty of natural vegetation in the forest for the wildlife to consume.

With more visitors in town the local real estate market should pick up. The focus the past two months has been new listings. So now there is decent inventory for buyers to look at. The August/Labor Day period is typically the best inventory selection in the Mammoth market.

The VONS strike that had been considered “imminent” has yet to come to fruition. Thank God. The union vote authorized a strike on June 21 but they haven’t called the strike. VONS is crazy enough during holiday periods. Having the store operated without the regular employees would create extreme havoc. Without the VONS markets in Mammoth and Bishop operating the closest supermarket is up Hwy. 395 (two hours) in Minden/Gardnerville. At that point COSTCO in Carson City is just another 15 minutes. Sometimes we are reminded that Mammoth is relatively isolated.

It appears that there will be no new construction at Creekhouse (Snowcreek Phase 7) this summer. They had been advertising new the units this past spring and one local contractor told me he was set to go. But the advertising is gone and the contractor has moved to other projects. There is no activity at the site. My guess is that the bank pulled the plug on the construction financing…The ~20 units at Creekhouse are the only new condos constructed in Mammoth in the past eight years.

Some interesting observations so far this summer;

  • Based on the number of new Mercedes Sprinter vans around town it appears that is the trendy vehicle for 2016, especially amongst the outdoor and recreation crowd. They seem to be everywhere. Some look bare bones and some are all decked out. There could be a good used market in a few years…
  • The new Tesla charging station on Old Mammoth Road always seems to have a car charging up. I wonder if these are mostly Mammoth-specific people or Hwy. 395 travelers coming off the highway for a charge. If it is the latter than the Town Council decision to allocate the space for the charging station was a good one. It never hurts to bring high income/net worth people into town, even if it is just for a couple of hours.
  • Speaking of electric transportation, the new electric bikes are a fun way to spend a few hours. There are now several places to rent them in Mammoth. Take the new multi-million dollar bike path up into the Lakes Basin or go up-and-over to Reds Meadow and back. Very little exertion required! A great way to see the Mammoth area.
  • The annual pine pollen dump that occurs this time of year can be quite nasty. Piles of the yellow dust end up everywhere, and for some the pollen is especially unhealthy. But when I was recently out in Snowcreek Phase 5 (The Fairway Homes) I happened to noticed there wasn’t any pollen around. Why? Well, no pine trees! Good to know. But if the pine pollen doesn’t get you the rabbit brush will.
  • I’ve had two unusual “walk-ins” to my office the last few weeks. Both were looking for larger parcels around Mono Lake to do an “off-the-grid” compound. The Eastern Sierra isn’t prime for that because of the predominance of government land ownership. I can’t really help them but they were interesting to talk to about the concept….and the reasons.

And here is my Real Estate Q&A column that appeared in this weekend’s issue of The Sheet. The publisher has long called the local government the “tax eaters” so I’m sure he appreciated the column.

Noteworthy Sales

Not too much in the noteworthy category. Two more homes in excess of $1M. More low end condos. The continuing trend in Mammoth.

Another duplex/income property came to the market and sold quickly. This continues to be the “bubble” segment of the Mammoth real estate market.

As the condo inventory builds (which is normal this time of year) we are seeing new concentrations in the inventory. There are 16 Westin Monache units on the market. There are six (out of 36) Eagle Run units on the market. And eight (8) Aspen Creek units.

Conversely, there are only 27 units in ALL phases of Snowcreek. That is quite low.

There are 11 condos priced at below $200,000.

Other Real Estate News

Airbnb was back in the news this past week. They are suing the city of San Francisco over the stricter rental regulations they recently passed. Some of the new regulations are similar to the ones the Town of Mammoth Lakes passed last fall known as the Quality of Life Ordinance. This will be an interesting case to follow.

Part of the broader discussion includes a comparison between two “sharing economy” companies Uber and Airbnb. Uber requires their drivers to meet an established set of standards including insurance, background checks, licenses, etc. Airbnb doesn’t seem to care if their owners are violating zoning laws or heath-and-safety regulations or any licensing requirements. And they clearly don’t want the responsibility. This lawsuit is clear about this.

In an entirely different matter, Airbnb was recently blamed for higher rents and dwindling housing availability in New York City. Studies are showing that thousands of NYC apartments have essentially been turned into hotel rooms by their owners or “tenants.” It is also estimated that more than 50% of the 8,000+ apartments being rented on Airbnb have the same “operator” proving that it has become a real business. These operators aren’t simply renting out rooms in their homes, they are operating “nightly rental only” properties in what used to be permanent resident housing….

With the volume of Mammoth condos available for nightly rentals I don’t see Airbnb affecting rents or the local housing market like NYC. But if their San Francisco litigation is successful it would become an interesting precedent. I bet it never gets to trial. Health-and-safety regulations are tough to challenge.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thanks for reading!

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