Continued Storms Leave the Town Literally Buried, But The Skiing Is Fabulous!!

Market Summary    January 15 to January 29

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 14 real estate closings in Mammoth Lakes for the period ranging from a low of $100,000 to a high of $800,000. Of the 14 closings, nine (9) were financeable properties and all nine were financed with one seller financed.  This statistic would imply that while the increasing interest/mortgage rates have reportedly slowed some real estate markets, it hasn’t impacted Mammoth, yet. And maybe there is an inverse effect. Ten of the 14 sales were condos selling under $450,000

Condominium Inventory

 At the period’s end the condominium inventory is even at 114. There were six (6) new condos brought to the market during the period including two Westin Monache units at high prices (see below on Westin Studio closings). There are still two condos listed for sale under $200,000 with the least expensive at $175,000. The number of condos listed under $250,000 is down to eight (8).

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down three (3) to 44.  Again, there is only one home listed under $500,000 and it has major damage. Now there are only three (3) homes listed between $500K and $600K. And only seven (7) more between $600K and $700K.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down four (4) to 33 at period’s end.  Of the 33 properties in “pending,” there are 24 are in “back-up” status.  The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down (8) for the period at 62. Between the weather and what I call the “post holiday decompression” a slowdown in sales is to be expected. But will all the snow and great ski conditions light up the market?? It would help to have more and better inventory.

Market Updates and News

Between the weather and what I call the “post holiday decompression” a slowdown in sales is to be expected. But will all the snow and great ski conditions light up the market?? It would help to have more and better inventory. The proposition will make for an interesting Mammoth real estate market in the next few months. There is pent-up demand that has been constrained by the drought years.The continuing January storm cycle has literally buried Mammoth. Those that record these things say it will go down as a “record” January, maybe a record month. As of this weekend there was plenty of the “normal” plowing and snow removal procedures that simply haven’t been completed. Main St. through most of town remains a 2-lane street. Commercial properties and some condo projects have begun trucking snow off the property. And there has been a rash of equipment failures. And snow removal operators are seriously sleep deprived. They will ultimately get caught-up.

Officials like the Mono County Sheriff (head of emergency services) and the Town’s Manager and Public Works Director have contemplated filing for Emergency Proclamation status with the State. The problem is most of these officials haven’t been around very long and have never really been in charge when Mammoth has had a major snow cycle. It just takes time to clean it all up and make everything accessible. And there is always some minor damage and mayhem.

Now the process is to get fire hydrants dug out, get the tops of propane tanks cleared so they can “breath,” and start assessing roof loads and ice damning. Some roofs are already being cleared. The ice damning will depend on several variables including the weather. Various crews will be busy for weeks to come. The forecast is for another snowstorm to hit this next week and then a period of warmer weather. It is shaping up to be a classic Mammoth winter.

The large volume of snow removal operations will certainly cost all Mammoth property owners and local businesses. The HOAs are budgeted for it and should have saved through the drought years. But the additional expenses certainly flow through the community. And all of the snow will bring a high volume of visitors (it already has). I was at the Airport last Friday evening for about an hour. The volume of private jets coming and going was impressive. One of the workers on the tarmac said it had been that way all day long.

There is a large volume of snow throughout the Sierra Nevada. This is great news. Mammoth Lakes proper has returned to “ant farm” status. There is five to six feet of snowpack on the Mammoth Meadow. There is three to four feet at the Airport. There is snow on the ground in Bishop. The runs on the Ski Area are as wide and flat as I’ve seen them in quite awhile.

And since I have had to dig through the whole winter’s worth of snow on a couple of occasions (once to find a residential water shut-off), I can tell you that in the middle of the snowpack is a dense layer of ice that is the result of the rain storm three weeks ago. That layer has much softer (and insulating) layers of snowpack on top and bottom. That layer of ice will be with us for months to come. Don’t plan on much spring mountain bike riding, at least not on dirt. The snowmobile crowd has a long season ahead.

From a real estate perspective, it is a great time to look at property while it is “taxed.” These types of winters have truly influenced my ultimate real estate decisions. Simple ingress and egress has been compromised for many properties in the past 10 days. That includes parking and finding the front door. And the varying differences of snow volumes and deposition become very evident between different locations within the town limits. Elevation and wind exposure are profound. I’ve worked on properties in The Trails and the upper Slopes area. There is twice as much snow in the Slopes.

And as everybody comes to enjoy the great snow conditions the enthusiasm will certainly be high (it already is). That will inevitably translate to renewed interest in Mammoth real estate. President’s Weekend and “Ski Week” are only three weeks away. That is typically the start of the “spring selling season.” Many potential condo buyers are already frustrated because units are booked while they are here and they want to see them. Or they want to purchase now and start using it but the properties have forward bookings that contractually need to be honored. The great snow conditions will certainly create low-level real estate calamity here in Mammoth in the coming months.

This coming week and weekend is the US Grand Prix event here at Mammoth Mountain. It is a great opportunity to see some of the best freestyle skiers and snowboarders in the world performing on the super pipe and the big jumps. This will be a great opportunity to get some great turns and see these stellar athletes in live action.

Noteworthy Sales

 Two Westin Monache Studio units closed for $240,000 and $250,000. That is some upward closing prices. But there is some back story. The same buyer for both and the same seller. The buyer had 1031 money that needed to be placed. She ended-up purchasing three Westin Studios. The seller had at one time owned five Westin units. The seller had these units priced at $220,000 in the past but without any Studio units available she brought them back to the market at $279,000 and $289,000. Good timing. We’ll see if the market supports those values.​​​​​​​    A 3-bedroom unit at White Mountain Lodge closed for $800,000. Low price. But the seller paid $815,000 just two years ago. Must have decided they wanted something else. That’s a very noisy location right above Lakanuki.

Juniper Springs Lodge #545 sold for $399,500. This unit recently came back to the market. It has been on the market for many days in the past. It is on the top floor. But it overlooks the “tents.” But if MMSA does commence the Eagle Base improvements, this unit will benefit tremendously.

Other Real Estate News

Some fascinating Airbnb information came across my desk during the period. I’ll distill some of it down;

• Airbnb’s services are increasingly being utilized by professional investors. Some are literally renting properties long term and converting them to short term rentals (known as “rental arbitrage”). New York City even had to crack-down on this practice because it was compromising long-term housing availability.

• But the majority of Airbnb landlords are average Joe’s; nearly 60% are doing it for “supplemental income,” nearly 17% are doing it to build wealth, and 15% are doing it as a main source of income. Some nearly 4% are “doing it for fun.”

• is now gathering and crunching Airbnb data. And the professional investors and others are loving the data. They have extensive data on where to do rental arbitrage. But don’t look for Mammoth Lakes to be in the hierarchy, even though Mammoth can produce good income it is still about owners coming for enjoyment and fun at some point.

• Airdna does have some interesting specific data for Mammoth Lakes;  there are 323 Airbnb hosts in Mammoth and 86 Superhosts. There are 48 multiple listing hosts (understand that many local rental agencies are advertising their rental inventory on Airbnb). There are a total of 1,244 Mammoth units on Airbnb. But the majority of hosts only have one listing. The greatest number of units are 2 bedroom units. Only 40% of the listings are available year-round (that is interesting). Some 30% are available for less than a three month period during the year.

• In Mammoth, for the 12 months ending July 2016, 1-bedroom units averaged $40,148 in revenue, 2-bedoom units averaged $46,391, 3-bedroom units averaged $61,616 and 4-bedroom and larger units averaged $88,496. And private rooms in residences are generating an average of $21,353.

​​​​​​​• The top 5 rentals in Mammoth are (labeled); Private Bed and Bath in Old Mammoth HomeRoom for 2–Walk to the Village (private residence), Pet Friendly Unit–Steps to Canyon LodgeModern Mountain Oasis–Sleeps 7 and Walk to Village, and Super Location Private Room!

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.