2017 Should Be A Happy New Year For The Mammoth Region!!

Market Summary: December 18 – January 1

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 13 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $190,000 to a high of $1,285,000. Of the 13 closings, 10 were financeable properties and seven (7) were conventionally financed. There was one short sale closing. There were eight (8) closings for the period a year ago. Conventional mortgage rates for second homes have pushed to nearly 4.5% but stabilized at the end of last week.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up four (4) to 117. There were eight (8) new condos brought to the market during the period, and we’ve seen some of them before. There are now two condos listed for sale under $200,000. One year ago there were 130 condos on the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down one (1) to 50. There is only one home listed under $500,000 and it has major damage. There are seven (7) homes listed between $500K and $600K. This time last year there were 46 homes on the market.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down nine (9) to 36 at period’s end. Of the 36 properties in “pending,” there are 26 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down seven (7) for the period at 64. This time last year the numbers were 50 and 68 respectively.

Market Updates and News

The winter-like storm that arrived last Christmas weekend set the stage for superb ski conditions for the balance of the holiday period. The snow levels reached half way down the Sherwin grade so everything in the Mammoth region is white. The 15-day forecast has 12 days of snow and snow showers. Finally.

The holiday period has been very busy but somewhat different from past years. The New Year’s weekend has been packed to capacity but this following week is also solidly booked. For Mammoth it will be a nicely spread-out three weeks of holiday. There has been excellent opportunities to grab two to three hours of early skiing before the crowds hit. And even after that the crowds have been reasonable. The Ski Area is fully operational with only minor areas inaccessible.

While the Mountain hasn’t been crushingly busy there has been major crowds at Woolly’s Tube Park. The great snow coverage has helped. One gentleman that I rode the chairlift with said his kids would rather do the tubing than ski. He was delighted! He said he saved the extra expense of their skiing and got to enjoy the great skiing for himself. And with wonderful weather this past week, many visitors were hiking into the Lakes Basin on the cold, crunchy snow pack.

But the overall busy-but-mellow state of Mammoth through this holiday has been impressive. VONS has been busy but manageable. Even the baffled visitors who mysteriously come to full stops in the middle of Old Mammoth Road haven’t been dealt with disdain. And there are the typical real estate look-loos who want to see real estate while the town is booked to capacity. It is always good for a laugh. Lots of calls; “we’re leaving town but can you show us….” or “I’ll keep calling agents until I talk to a live body…” And on and on.

I tried to facilitate some showings for a long-time client referral and the reservation companies just laughed at me; “Why can’t you Realtors just take the holidays off?” they asked. Well, sometimes you just have to try. A couple of my vacant listings are being shown through the period and I like that. But after 30+ years of doing this I have learned that the clientele through this period isn’t the most fruitful. Mostly lookers. The serious buyers have already gone through the process or will be back in the coming months once the mayhem has dissipated. It looks like it could be a long ski season.

The ice rink/MUF project has taken center stage on several fronts. It was part of the discussion in my Real Estate Q & A that appeared in The Sheet last week. But that column was written before the Town Council meeting that occurred on Dec. 21 that was also covered in that edition. The architect’s estimates for the facility are now pushing beyond $10 million!! And that doesn’t include the remediation work required at the existing ice rink site. Or any potential litigation. Or any additional mitigation required under the EIR.

And speaking of the EIR, the Draft EIR was just released. I’ve given it a cursory look and I find it to be full of holes already. My comments weren’t incorporated despite the Town’s acknowledgment of receipt. I wonder how many other public comments weren’t included?? On first glance I can see the Draft has completely ignored the concerns of the Department of Fish and Game. And others.

Once the holiday period is over there will be plenty of eyes looking at the Draft EIR, and deservedly so. The Town staff is losing credibility on this issue and the same with their consultants. But the Council did approve (last Wednesday) another $250,000 expenditure for continued architectural designs. There is one dissenting Councilman who has all along stated the “we can’t afford this” and one recusing Council member (property ownership within close proximity). But the other three are hell-bent on this project. But even with a $10 million price tag??

So the EIR will be a battle, how to pay for it remains a mystery (the Town’s credit rating is still compromised), and where it will ultimately be located (or should be located) is unknown, but the Council continues to shell out cash to try to figure it out. And what happens when the cost of the ice rink/MUF displaces money earmarked for the airport terminal?? Mammoth Resorts CEO Rusty Gregory may have something to say.

Meanwhile another government spending boondoggle will be coming to a head; Mono County CAO Leslie Chapman is also hell-bent on building new County administrative facilities in Mammoth to the tune of $10’s of millions. With two new Supervisors being seated in January she is hoping to ramrod through a deal. The deal would greatly limit any extra County resources the next 20 years.

So 2017 is going to be fun. Let’s hope it keeps snowing!!

Noteworthy Sales

Some closings worth noting: two Gray Bear homes closed, the high sale of the period but also one at $828,000. These lower priced Gray Bear homes are smaller and on smaller lots (including some flag lots) but built with the same quality features of the larger homes. These are certainly affordable homes and the key is they are legal to rent on a nightly basis. How many of them will end up as rentals remains to be seen, but they will be popular with the renters because the homes are beautiful and functional and the Gray Bear neighborhood is turning out to be quite lovely.

A residential lot at Allis II closed for $550,000. These lots have immediate ski access to the Bridges ski run. Clearly more demand for the high-end residential market.

The short sale of the home at 173 Snowcrest. The former Fire Dept. Chief bought at the wrong time…..

Two closings in Snowcreek Phase 4 and one in Phase 2, a 1-bedroom and Studio at The Westin Monache, and finally a 2-bedroom + loft closing at The Summit.

Other Real Estate News

Some preliminary sales numbers for 2016 from the Mammoth Lakes MLS… Single-family sales totaled 85 units with a median price of $680,000 and a total volume of $64,000,000. There are a handful of Gray Bear closings missing from the data so the numbers are “light” (don’t blame me, I wasn’t responsible for reporting them). The years 2015 and 2014 both had 83 sales with total volumes of $84,000,000 and $63,000,000 respectively and median prices of $745,000 and $622,000 respectively. 2015 had 31 closings over $1,000,000 and 2016 had 18 (plus a few).

Condo sales in Mammoth for 2016 reached 292 units with a total volume of $100,000,000 and a median price of $300,000. Sold units in 2015 and 2014 were 271 and 249 respectively with total volume of $94,000,000 and $87,000,000 respectively and median prices of $305,000 and $290,000 respectively.

Happy New Year!!

Thanks for reading!

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