Mammoth Miss!! Last Weekend’s Heavy Rain Produced Little Snow.

Market Summary: October 23 – November 6

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 17 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $52,000 to a high of $1,405,000. Of the 17 closings, 16 were financeable properties and 10 were conventionally financed. Two were owner financed. Seven of the 17 sales were condos under $315,000.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is down another 17 to 112. There were only six (6) new condos brought to the market during the period. There are now only two (2) condos listed for sale under $200,000. There are only 10 condos listed under $250,000. The low end of the condo market is getting cleaned out. But I was out showing condos again this weekend and there are some good properties in the inventory. You just have to look in the $300,000 plus inventory.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down five (5) to 66. The inventory of homes and condos is down due to sales and expired listings (month end). We’ll see how many of those properties come back to the market in the near future.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up by seven (7) to 64 at period’s end. Of the 64 properties in “pending,” there is one (1) “contingent short sale” property and 51 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down two (2) for the period at 80. Those numbers would indicate sales are up in Mammoth and down in the balance of the MLS. In reviewing the Bishop MLS the other day I noticed that they had one of their best months (October) in quite some time; solid home sales. It will not be a consistent pace.

Market Updates and News

Mammoth is in the midst of lovely “Indian summer” weather and it is forecasted to be around for the next ten days or more. There was actually visible tourism in Mammoth this weekend, and many of the restaurants are closed for their fall hiatus. The rain of last weekend was steady through two different fronts and if the temperature would have been slightly lower it would have yielded several feet of snow for the Ski Area. The last push did produce some snow but the earlier rain had washed the existing snow away.

The Ski Area will undoubtedly open Thursday and there will be plenty of hype. The snowmaking crews are working to get a decent path from mid-mountain to the Main Lodge open and skiable. There might be enough snow on the top runs to make it worthwhile. It depends on what the warm weather does between now and then. The snowmaking pond at McCoy Station is full of water, they just need some freezing temperatures. I’m sure I’ll hear “how great it is.” After 35 winters, I’ll wait.

The Town Council sat through an update presentation on the Mammoth Creek Park West Ice Rink and Multi Purpose facility presentation. I get suspicious when everybody is congratulating themselves on what a great job they are doing. The EIR is apparently moving right along and there is nothing serious to mitigate (??) so that should be a slam dunk. There is a new design for the facility and it is quite appealing, but it certainly doesn’t look like it will be cheap to build. The facility is being designed so that it can be “phased.”

The MCPW/MUF facility design is now being driven by the “programs” that the Parks & Rec want the facility to host (besides ice skating). This will create the impression that is will truly a “multi purpose” facility rather than just an ice rink. The Town needs buy-in from more than just the ice skating community.

So the Parks & Rec people (both Town staff, Commissioners, part time employees, volunteers and more) appear to be working frantically to come up with as many programs as possible for the new facility to host. And the new thrust is that these programs should be things that generate cash flow, so that positive cash flow can fund more facilities and more cash flow positive programs. And on and on….

Meanwhile the Town thinks they can have a certified EIR by January (that is ambitious). And they still believe they will have ice skating in the new facility by Halloween of 2017. That is what they have promised everybody. And they are still chasing a corporate sponsor who can be a part of the “programming” of the facility; their primary target remains the Los Angeles Kings hockey organization. And they still aren’t sure how they are going to pay for the project, but they are sure they can because it will be a “phased” project and the Town has so much surplus tax revenue that it will be no problem.

….Because I have been promising an update on the fireplace retrofitting, I recently posted a new Broker’s Report covering that and the status of non-conforming lofts in Mammoth Lakes. For those who need this information, I hope this works.

I recently came across the Ski California Gold Pass. As a long- time ski pass holder at Mammoth Mountain I will have to admit that this wasn’t on my radar. The potential here is quite interesting. The pass is good at 32 different downhill and cross country ski areas in California and Nevada. That includes Mammoth, Squaw Valley, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Sugar Bowl, etc. and Tamarack Resort (cross country) in the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

The Pass has no blackout dates but is limited to only 50 days at any one of the resorts. But the real key is that the pass is transferrable. The purchase price if purchased before Sept. 30 is $2500. So my mind asks; How can this be played? One way that could be interesting is to make it part of your VRBO-type rental. Offer a ski pass as part of the nightly expense. Do some math and you could add some (discounted) ski ticket price onto the room rate. At $65 you would only need 39 nights to pay for it. Or maybe you only offer it on the premium ski days when the Mountain’s “dynamic pricing” is sky high.

But you could burn up your 50 days at Mammoth pretty quick. But maybe your renters would love to rent for the week and take a jaunt up to Tahoe for 2-3 of days? Or maybe as an owner you fly to Tahoe and get some skiing in on a pass that is already paid for by your renters? The Gold Pass is interesting because of the transferability to many good resorts that are all in relative close proximity. It has the possibility to give a VRBO-type rental a real competitive advantage.

The Old Mammoth Road re-paving and improvements are complete and something is different. The striping on the street and signage are different. And I’m thinking it may cause minor chaos next summer. There are no more bike lanes on the street. The whole lane is now a bike lane. For years there was a white line about three feet out from the curb that was in essence the bike lane. Most cyclists tried to stay within that line.

Now there is no more line and there are signs designating the whole traffic lane as a bike lane. Mammoth summers are full of people riding bikes who ride infrequently or never. So much so that it can often be comical. Vehicle drivers need to be careful because they do all kinds of stupid things. So now we’re going to give them the whole lane? I see somebody getting hurt.

But I started thinking; How does something like this happen? The latest bike lane law is that riders are suppose to ride as close to the right hand curb as practicable. I guess that is what the old bike lane implied. But now the new signage implies the whole lane is for bikes…..I’m guessing this is another brilliant thing conjured up at the California Legislature, by people who don’t ride bikes very often.

Noteworthy Sales

More low-end condo sales. And the inventory numbers show very little on the market under $250,000. Historically the inventory numbers should not climb until late spring. Will Mammoth’s hungriest agents start pounding for low-end listings? Are there potential sellers out there just waiting for a 10% rise in values? Will the low-end condo buyers just have to move up their price points or be priced out of the market? Will we actually see some significant appreciation in the sub-$3-400K condo market? It could become an interesting scenario. That is if the laws of supply and demand still hold true.

Two of the recent sales were owner financed. They were at opposite ends of the real estate spectrum. One was a mobile/manufactured home in the Ski Trails Park for $52,000. In the Internet age I’ve come to despise these properties. There is an almost constant flow of people inquiring about these properties. They think they have found their “cheap” way to own in Mammoth (there is no such thing). The first thing I tell them is that the Park fees and personal property tax will be in excess of $1,000 per month. That usually ends their “dream.” Some even become argumentative and claim that is rip-off……

The other owner financed property was a commercial property on Sierra Manor Road just down from VONS. Commercial properties don’t turn over very often. But this one is in very good condition, fully occupied, and even has a tech-oriented tenant. We’ll see if that trend continues.

A 2 bedroom / 2 bath at Grand Sierra Lodge closed for $475,000. Very clean unit in a location overlooking the pool, but nothing really spectacular. This is an upward nudge in value. The owners/developers of vacant property around the Village need to see this trend continue.

A large and well-built home in the Knolls sold for $233 per square foot. With a two car garage and close proximity to the Village that is pretty inexpensive. Yes the home needs remodeling, but that seems like a good buy.

The high sale of the period at $1,405,000 is a large and beautiful home just three lots up from the Village. This has been on-and-off the market for several years. The original price was over $2.5M. For years the owner was conducting nightly rentals. The market has spoken.

Other Real Estate News

For some reason I receive the Tahoe Quarterly magazine. It is always a lovely piece and has strong real estate focus. I especially enjoy features and photos of the amazing and very expensive homes being built around the Lake. They have pushed the mountain design and architecture to the limit. Many of their advertisers are real estate brokers, contractors, and designers/architects, etc.But the most recent edition has something quite interesting; an eight-page spread on Mammoth!! Wow! It is a very flattering article with great photos and included information on the Ski Area, accommodations, events and food and drink. And all only three hours away from Tahoe!

Now if I was an advertiser in this classy magazine I would be more than upset. Advertising Mammoth in “Tahoe” magazine is a bit crazy. Lake Tahoe is an expansive area and certainly there are plenty of things to write about. Or maybe they are just a bit jealous…..

Thanks for reading!

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