The Holidays Are Upon Us!! Everybody Has Done There Best To Be Ready

Market Summary: December 3 – December 17

The  Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 13 real estate closings in Mammoth for the period ranging from a low of
$167,500 to a high of $1,650,000. Of the 13 closings, 11 were financeable properties and six (6) were conventionally financed. The sales are  throughout the real estate spectrum from a commercial lot to low-end condos to Village condo hotel units to high-end condos and homes. 

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up three (3) to 55. There were 15 new condo listings in the period and seven (7) are already under contract and in escrow. That is telling about the market. Oddly (especially for this time of year), there are some really nice upgraded condo properties coming to the market. They are priced high but comparing recent sales and the cost and time to make these types of upgrades, they probably aren’t overpriced. And this is the time of year for “instant gratification,” so they are and will sell quickly. This time last year there were 113 condos on the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up four (4) to 39 and that includes one “spec” home in the Mammoth Knolls neighborhood. There are now five (5) homes listed under $725,000. There are now three brand new high-end spec homes listed from $1,499,000 to $1,879,000. In my opinion, all three are overbuilt for their respective neighborhoods. But maybe this is the new trend. We’ll see what they end up selling for. These spec builders/owners can become impatient over time. This time last year there were 51 homes on the market.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down five (5) to 52 at period’s end. Of the 52 properties in “pending,” there are 41 in “Active Under Contract” status (formerly “back-up”). The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down 15 to 81. This time last year, 45 and 71 respectively.

Market Updates and News

Mammoth has experienced beautiful warm weather the past two weeks up until this weekend. And of course, the Night of Lights (last night) was greeted with the sub-freezing day-time highs. This Mountain sponsored event becomes increasingly popular and marks the beginning of the holiday period. A reasonable crowd is already in town.  
​​​​​​​The Mammoth “march” to the holidays is almost complete. Some will be disappointed by the ski and snowboard conditions and some won’t have their perfect lodgings in place, but so be it. The Mountain crews and local contractors have worked above-and-beyond to make it the best it can be. The Ski Area has blown enough new snow to get lift and run access down to Canyon Lodge and Eagle Base. There are enough good conditions in the the core of the Mountain to accommodate a crowd but it will be tight at the peak periods. Mammoth Hospital is bound to be busy.  
​​​​​​​I’ve been out-and-about in the condo projects and residential neighborhoods and the local contractors have been working overtime to complete projects. There is still un-repaired damage lingering from last winter. Some damage had to be re-engineered or re-designed. Some of it is simply a workforce shortage. And there are major home and condo remodels going on almost everywhere. And some projects were started too late to meet the holiday “deadline.” 
​​​​​​​Regardless, the town is bracing for another large crowd through the holidays. The way the calendar falls and So Cal schools are out it looks like the whole period might run straight through Martin Luther King Weekend. So the next four weeks will be busy here in Mammoth. And I’m sure there will be plenty of people wanting to see real estate.
The Town front is pretty quiet and that is to be expected this time of year. And there has been no word of any sort from the new ownership of the Ski Area. But there is one curious item that has been on recent Town Council agendas. They have been in closed session discussions pertaining to more property negotiations. And this one is under the radar.
What makes this one so interesting?? The subject property is the “Lizza” property on the corner of Old Mammoth Road and Minaret Road. This beautiful ~5 acre parcel has Mammoth Creek traversing through it and it has exceptional panoramic views and solar aspect. The creek setbacks and the positioning of the creek do limit the development envelope. The property has been listed for sale for the past 30+ years with an ever increasing asking price. It is owned by a Mammoth old-timer who is getting up there in years. The public has accessed it for decades for fishing and for the trails.
In the mid-2000’s there was a development proposal to construct a seven-story hotel on the property but the property is zoned RMF-2, or basically for condos with 35 foot height limitations. The plan was never approved and the economic downturn put an end to that. For years I have referred to it as “Lizza Park” because that is what my vision for the property has been. 
But now the Town has some sort of interest in it and hence the closed sessions. The current asking price is $15,000,000. They certainly can’t be thinking about affordable housing, especially with that price tag. What about for the ice rink?? Probably too “remote” even though it is close to Mammoth Creek Park. Nobody is talking about what the intent might be. So we’ll just have to wait for now. Our current Town Council certainly has a “deep pockets” mentality.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of 25 Center Street for $167,500. This commercial lot is tucked in off of Main Street at the entrance to the Shady Rest Parcel. The Town’s acquisition of Shady Rest is proposed to include the adjacent lot for street access into the Shady Rest parcel. I had been looking at this lot thinking about how it might be utilized to capitalize on the future housing development. There is already a liquor store and gas station/mini mart within very close proximity so those options don’t make sense. Again, we’ll have to wait and see.
The sale of a 1-bedroom at La Residence for $250,000. Wow. Yes, it was cleaned up but it still has the original 1970’s kitchen and baths. Two years ago this would have been half the price.
The high sale of the period ($1,650,000) is a large and beautifully remodeled home up in the Mammoth Knolls looking out over Forest Service land. This property had been on-and-off the market in the past few years. It has been marketed as “over $2 million put into this remodel.”
Additional closed sales at The Cabins, Lincoln House, Hidden Valley and Sherwin Villas all showing a serious upward trend in pricing. Sales at The Lodges, Snowcreek IV and 1849 all showing no significant increase.

Favorite New Listing For The Period!!

I had this condo listed last year and it sold in the spring as the market started accelerating after the KSL/Aspen purchase announcement. I originally sold it to those owners back in the 2000’s. It is back on the market because the new owner has decided to purchase a larger unit in the same project/building. The listing price is just a little more than what they paid for it six months ago. This is a true ski-in and ski-out property; 2 bedrooms / 2 baths with 2 parking spaces in the understructure parking. The ski run access is right down the end of the hallway.
Maybe even better is the property has a large outdoor (covered) deck with incredible “down valley” views including most of the Sherwin Range. The property has forced air gas heating and a fireplace that can be retrofitted for wood burning, gas or pellet. The property had new paint and flooring as of a year ago. This is ready to use but based on location and views it is certainly worthy of a major renovation.
​​​​​​​Listed at $499,000​​​​​​​
Listing courtesy of Mammoth Realty Group

Other Real Estate News

Now that tax reform looks inevitable I am trying to get a realistic view of how it may impact the Mammoth real estate market. The details are becoming clearer, or not. The entire reform bill is estimated to be at least 1,000 pages of new regulation and I haven’t been able to find all of the specifics. And once again the impacts to this market may be more macro in nature than anything specific to second homes or to Mammoth specifically.  
The limits to itemized deductions (Schedule A) is potentially the most lethal part of the reform for those living in California. The property tax and income tax deductions look to be capped at $10,000. I can only imagine that this is a very low threshold for many owners of Mammoth second homes and rental properties. In comparison, increasing the standard deduction will likely do nothing for most. This alone may drive people out of the state. But maybe not out of their Mammoth property ownership. It is going to be interesting to see how Sacramento responds. 
The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is preserved but now capped at $750,000 (used to be $1M) including second home interest. But it appears everything existing is grandfathered. So this may impact some future purchasing but shouldn’t create any panic selling. Many potential buyers may be convinced to buy a rental-oriented property as opposed to a pure second home.
The reform doesn’t appear to make any substantial changes to investment (rental) property ownership although I have seen some mention of potentially more accelerated depreciation schedules. That may be a plus.
The grand daddy of the reform bill appears to be the cut in the corporate tax rate. This should be great for the stock market and owners of larger businesses.  This should mean increased profits for more affluent people, and that might drive more real estate investment in our area. Strong stock market values have always been good for Mammoth real estate. 
Ultimately it looks like reform will be great for accountants and the tax preparation industry; most of us will have to shift and restructure in the coming years to take best advantage of the new rules. 
Meanwhile, pray for snow!
Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment

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