KSL/Aspen Buys Deer Valley! Dave McCoy Turns 102!

Market Summary: August 13 – August 28

The  Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 15 real estate closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of $225,000 to a high of $1,175,000. Of the 15 closings, all 15 were financeable properties
and 11 were conventionally financed. Seven of the 15 sales were condos selling under $420,000. The numbers show the heated late spring and early summer sales rush has  cooled somewhat although to this broker it really doesn’t feel like it. Overall interest remains high but the lack of inventory could be the problem. Labor Day Weekend normally marks the peak of the inventory and the beginning of the late summer and fall sales push and the “anticipation of winter.”

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up (8) to 87. There were 32 new condo listings in the period and 13 are already under contract and in escrow. So some condo sellers are getting motivated. And buyers too. It is also becoming apparent that some agents have their new listings sold before they even hit the market. That could be good or bad. Buyers might be becoming too anxious. But the best properties are selling fast.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up two (2) to 57. I predicted price reductions two weeks ago and the period was full of them on the residential side. More will come. So far the buyers aren’t going to pay the new over-inflated asking prices for many of the homes. Local agents and sellers got ahead of themselves. Especially if the property has major compromises.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up five (5) to 75 at period’s end.  Of the 75 properties in “pending,” there are 54 in “Active Under Contract” status (formerly “back-up”) and two (2) Contingent Short Sales.  The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down four (4) to 110. The most notable part of the Mammoth real estate market isn’t the volume of sales but the willingness of buyers to pay substantially higher prices for good quality properties. Most are in the 10-20% higher range than 12 months ago. And the “days on market” for these properties has been compressed from months to days.

Market Updates and News

The recent cooler weather, sporadic rain and pine needles dropping makes many long-time local residents think that winter will come early. Or it will be a long, hot October. One never knows in the Sierra. Despite two significant forest fires burning in Yosemite, Mammoth’s air quality has been good. Some smoke has creeped into the area in late afternoon and early evening. But almost perfect weather for recreation.​​​​​​​ The major summer crowds have dissipated but there are plenty of people around.
The new KSL/Aspen purchase of Mammoth Resorts brought no new local information during the period, except there was a big announcement by the new yet un-named company in the last week; they are now purchasing Deer Valley in Utah. This brings another very high-end ski resort into the fold. It is hard to fathom this new entity won’t go public at some point. Marrying these high-end resorts like Aspen and Deer Valley with more challenging resorts like Squaw Valley and Mammoth, they are creating a varied portfolio of very appealing resorts. The question is; Which resort is next?
One of the very interesting aspects of Deer Valley is that they don’t allow snowboarders. It is a “skiers only” resort. That may change, or not. While not allowing snowboarders would shut out a vast number of southern California families, many skier snobs would find it very attractive to have the opportunity to not share the runs with snowboarders…..It certainly does add something fascinating to the new ski pass that will certainly be aiming to rival Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass.
The Mammoth Town Council has a special meeting this next week with the Planning Commission to discuss a potential development agreement with the owner/developer of the Old Mammoth Place (Sierra Nevada Inn). Everybody knows Mr. Demetriades has the drive and wherewithal to do a major re-development of the property. One item he is asking for in the potential development agreement is the “Town will not unreasonably object to the concept of a gondola from the project site to the Village, but will not have any obligation to fund or otherwise participate in the construction of a gondola.”
A potential gondola from Old Mammoth Road would have to be a joint venture with the Ski Area. Rusty Gregory has proposed a gondola up Main St. for years. That would certainly be a driver for the Main St. redevelopment plan. And maybe that is where the ice rink belongs. And maybe the new owners will take a page out of Vail Resorts book and be more proactive at linking commercial districts to the ski runs with gondolas…. 
The number of out-of-town contractors showing up to do work in Mammoth has become impressive. I’ve seen them from southern California, Reno and the Bay Area. Property owners needing repairs and installations completed before winter have obviously turned to outsiders for help. These are roof and siding repairs, plumbing and heating system repairs, major electrical installations, etc….The crews are making substantial progress on the new Main St. sidewalk below the Minaret intersection. This rather dangerous stretch of road for pedestrians will be much safer with the pedestrian slightly elevated over the road. And the Town will clear the sidewalk in winter. This will be a great improvement. 
​​​​​​​Wire fraud is becoming a big issue in real estate transactions. It has even happened here in Mammoth Lakes. Hackers are trolling escrow transactions and sending buyers alternate (and fraudulent) wiring instructions. This could be a BIG problem for those sending these wire transfers. You may literally never see the money again. The deposit transfers of 10’s of thousand of dollars is one thing, but sometimes the balance of a transaction can be up to and over $1,000,000. 
The matter is so serious that the California Assoc. of Realtors® has now included a Wire Fraud Advisory as a one-page disclosure in the standard offer forms. It advises buyers to call the escrow officer and verify the wiring instructions. And to verify the email addresses of the escrow officer and company. And to conduct business over secure WiFi….Or maybe we will regress and simply put a check in the mail.
And Dave McCoy celebrated his 102 birthday this past week…..

Noteworthy Sales

Sales at Snowflower, TimberRidge, Snowcreek 5, Snowcreek 1, Forest Creek, Creekhouse, and Crestview all show that units in good locations and in good or great condition will sell quickly in this market for 10 to 20% more than Jan. 1 of this year. 
Sales of small units at Discovery Four and St. Moritz show the amazing demand on the low-end of the market. These units are up some 20+% since Jan. 1.
Two sales at Mammoth Ski & Racquet; the units in this project “turn” more than any project in Mammoth. Is there a reason??
The sale of an Old Mammoth home for $750,000. This property has sold three times in the last seven years. It has also had significant days on market (DOM) in those seven years. There is a reason. Owning in this location in winters like 2011 and 2017 will teach you a few things. Buyer beware.
Substandard vacant residential lots are selling. 
Sign of the times;  A property in the Mammoth MLS that has been on the market for 1,128 days went to escrow….

Favorite New Listing For The Period!


While $600,000 buys you very little in the single-family home market, there are great properties in this price range in the condo market. This is a 3 bedroom / 2 bath end unit condo at MammothGreen. The property is in great condition inside and out. It has understructure parking and overlooks the green of the 2nd hole at Sierra Star golf course. It is also a pretty easy walk to Eagle Express making it an ideal location for all seasons. And the Town bike path is right there in multiple directions too.
   The extra south facing windows make this especially desirable; lots of light and sun AND mountain views in several orientations. Some potential buyers will balk at the $916/month HOA fees but it includes all the gas propane for heating, cooking and fireplace and endless hot water. For owners who rent or are heavy users, that is bargain — utilities in Mammoth are a bit more expensive than in So Cal, especially for heating.   
​​​​​​​Listed at $629,000
Listing courtesy of Sonja Bush  Mammoth Village Properties​​​​​​​

Other Real Estate News

While Mammoth suffers from low real estate inventory, many real estate markets across the country also have the same problem. But for similar reasons?? A recent survey by Realtor.com shows that baby boomers are perfectly happy living in their current homes. And the main reason, according to the survey) is that the home meets their needs (but my guess is that they dread the thought of moving). 

But the survey’s author says “life events drive real estate transactions” and “there is nothing compelling them to put their home on the market.” Life events are always driving transactions in Mammoth. Many times sellers simply “aren’t using the property much anymore.” Mostly because the kids have grown up and moved away or their interests have changed (or they can’t ski anymore). And sometimes Mammoth owners need a bigger place because of “all the grandchildren.”
The survey also indicates that millennials are starting to move up in their real estate choices. The housing shortage forced many of them to consider smaller homes and condos to get into ownership (we were told it was their preference). Now it is likely that those home will be coming to the market as they are looking for larger homes and ones with nicer features. That is something many of the younger generations need to understand — get your foot in the door, you don’t have to have “perfect” home at first. That is real estate.
(I just helped a young couple with three young kids sell their little house in Crowley Lake and they bought a wonderful home down in Small Meadows — on 1.4 acres backing to Forest Service with spectacular views and a massive separate garage with all the best utilities already built-in. The key was getting into the first “crappy” house (their term) in Crowley that they meticulously improved.)
Right now prices are rising in Mammoth Lakes. We could sure use some increased inventory. Maybe some baby boomer “life events” will help us shake out some more sellers.
Thanks for reading!


Leave a Comment

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