More Great Weather And Plenty Of Concrete Being Poured In Mammoth!

Market Summary:   October 21 – November 4

The  Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 18 real estate closings for the period ranging from a low of $220,000 to a high of $1,890,000. Of the 18 escrow closings, all 18 were financeable properties and nine (9) were conventionally financed and two  (2) were owner financed. Ten of 18 sales were condos selling under $500,000. Five (5) of the sales were single family homes selling for more than $900,000 (impressive!). The 10-year Treasury bounced around during the period but closed slightly over 3.2%. Despite national and state media reporting a slowed real estate market, the continued luxury closings in Mammoth can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the local market.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up one (1) to 98. There were five (5) new condo listings in the period and none have gone to contract so far. There are 13 condos listed under $300,000 and 34 listed under $400,000. The Summit and the Westin Monache have excessive numbers of active listings, but many are simply overpriced at this point of the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down nine (9) to 43. There have been some sales but others have moved to winter rentals or have been simply pulled from the market (“we’ll try next spring when the market is better“). There are only four (4) homes listed under $645,000 and they have 555 days on market between the four of them. They are all compromised. Between $645,000 and $1M there are still some good properties and many attractive properties beyond that.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down another 11 to 33 at period’s end. That includes four (4) under construction Creekhouse units and 16 condos listed under $500,000. Of the 33 properties in “pending,” there are 13 in “Active Under Contract” status (formerly “back-up”). The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down 26 to 60. The numbers don’t lie, the Mammoth market continues to be in a stall. But that appears to be a macro trend. Maybe getting past the election will help. Or some good snowfall.

Market Updates and News

This weekend various entities hosted a Housing Summit at Little Eagle. This was a great three day event and open to all. The topics explored what cities like Breckenridge and Boulder have done to develop affordable housing, to what can be accomplished in the very immediate future based on last year’s Housing Action Plan, to how to start envisioning and implementing the development of The Parcel. The overall program was to get everyone in the community educated about affordable housing terminology and basic concepts, and to continue encouraging strong citizen involvement. I was able to attend some of the events but look forward to watching the ones I missed on video. I will provide a link to them in the future. And based on questions I was already receiving, The Parcel will likely be the topic of a future Q&A.

Meanwhile, a recent article on Strong Towns titled “The Trade Offs That Shape Our Cities”caught my attention. The basic premise is that any community has trade-offs; typically it can have only two of three of certain features. For instance, Affordability, Desirability, and No Growth. (Mammoth appears stuck between Affordability and No Growth.) Or pick two of Low Density, Low Taxes and Nice Things. (Again, Mammoth appears to be on the way to higher taxes and nicer things.) These are the trade offs and questions Mammoth will be facing in the next 10 years.

With the election Tuesday, all I can say is that the California Association of Realtors® has done a piss-poor job of promoting Proposition 5 which they are the sponsor of. Where did all the money go?? Or maybe I just live in an area/environment that it wasn’t promoted in. The people against the Proposition are emphatic that it “will drain millions from our schools.” That’s enough for most voters to vote No. Or maybe CAR just thinks everyone will recognize it as a sure thing, but I don’t think so. I expect fallout from the CAR membership. 

The Ski Area will open for skiing on Thursday. It will simply be for the novelty. There is no natural snowpack and warm weather has prevented substantial snowmaking. If anybody goes, please be careful; one narrow little run and excessive testosterone don’t make for a good mix.

The Main St. sidewalk projects are progressing but there sure are going to be large swaths of concrete. I hope they have planned some animation and a bit of greenery. At least the concrete is drought tolerant. And I hope they have planned for run off — there is a reason we have “site coverage” requirements for development, the snow melt has to go somewhere. The bike path section between Snowcreek and Mammoth Creek Park is completed and includes significant lighting. Not only is this an important link for the continuity of the bike path but it is located in a beautiful area of the Meadow. And with extensive lighting and a plowed path this is destined to be a popular place to walk on winter nights.

The Grocery Outlet building is getting closer; the doors and windows are in but it needs the finished roofing and paint. I’m wondering if they can be open for the holidays? The new Starbucks in the old McDonald’s location looks to be busy, but then again half the places in town are on fall hiatus. And the entry of Canyon Lodge looks quite different but it isn’t finished. They are in crunch time.

The YotelPad sales team has applied to the Mammoth Lakes Board of Realtors for membership and apparently they want to start a presence in town. There haven’t even been any public presentations on the development (the planning commission’s agendas have been full of cannabis related items). I hope the new sales team understands California real estate law and the promotion of unapproved projects. Or maybe they are just trying to promote the balance of the unsold units in Park City? But in the past, new development hype has always been a positive for the local real estate market. 

One of my readers commented on reverse mortgages from my last newsletter. He explained the caps and limits on reverse mortgages and how they slide with age. They seem appropriate, but I’m guessing they were part of the Dodd-Frank reforms because the reverse REOs we are dealing didn’t seem to have any of these limitations. And I anticipate the limits may be loosened in the future as the looming pension crisis accelerates. But reverse mortgages are an interesting tool for some people to keep an eye on.

And reminiscent of the 1980’s, the national media is talking about potential seismic and volcanic activity in places like Yellowstone (and Long Valley) while showing photos of recent volcanic activity in other places. Back then they were showing photos of Mt. Saint Helens blowing up while talking about potential volcanic activity in Mammoth. It gave many people the wrong impression (and it certainly wasn’t good for Mammoth real estate). Now they are showing dramatic photos of Mt. Kilauea and talking about Yellowstone, etal…. Maybe Rusty can put an end to that….

Noteworthy Sales

Three residential sales between $1,330,000 and $1,900,000 and three more residential sales between $815,000 and $940,000. That’s impressive especially since none of the properties are available for nightly rental.

Nine (9) condo sales ranging from $220,000 to $470,000. Two other larger condos that have very close proximity to the Village andgarages sold for $700,000 and $747,500.

The old movie theater in Sherwin Professional Plaza on Old Mammoth Road sold for $595,669. This is like a subterranean 3500 square foot space and it has been on the market for the past three years. It will be interesting to see what happens there. Hopefully something fun — I’m in the neighborhood.

Favorite New Listing For The Period!

Here is something quite different. This is located in the Mammoth Sierra Industrial Park located across Hwy. 395 from the Mammoth Airport. There is a variety of industrial uses in the Park including one of the nicest commercial office complexes in the eastern Sierra. But this is a stand alone 4,000 square foot steel warehouse style structure that is two separate units. Two massive roll-up doors for each unit.  3 Phase electrical panels in both units. 
One of the units has an upgraded loft with improvements that is being permitted for residential use, an ideal ADU (accessory dwelling unit) scenario. There are amazing views of Mt. Morrison and Mammoth Mountain. Plenty of parking and a large unfinished pad for storage of RVs, trailers, etc, or?? Property is fenced. Perfect for business or pleasure or the ultimate man-cave.
Listed at $1,000,000


Other Real Estate News

Some of my readers know that before I started full-time in Mammoth real estate sales in 1986 that I spent some time as a local onsite condo manager. The education was invaluable for the sales side of the business. Mammoth condo management was the “wild west” back in the 1980’s. There were plenty of “resident managers” including many running mom-and-pop style nightly rental programs. Some of the bigger condo projects were becoming more sophisticated with larger rental programs and actual employees. Some of Mammoth’s favorite characters from that era were in the business. And some of their children are still in the business.

Mammoth condo management has matured significantly since those days. The Davis-Sterling body of law that is part of the California Civil Code now strictly dictates how HOAs should operate. The overtime rules for employees drove another significant change. Today an increasing number of Mammoth condo projects are being managed by large management companies with lots of specialty employees. It works well in may instances, but some projects still want their own “onsite manager.”

Recently, there has been a help-wanted ad running in The Sheet looking for new managers for a large local condo project (trust me, I’m not looking for a job. The help wanted ads have always given me insight into the community). The job description is very long. Reading it makes me laugh. Whoever wrote the job description has a very good grasp on what the perfect candidate’s skills should be. I emphasize “perfect.” I wish them luck on finding someone with half the skills all while living on the project and dealing with the inevitable personalities of the Board members, individual owners, and guests.

Here are some of the requisite skills they are looking for in no particular order except for perhaps their inherent entertainment value;

• Must be able to work with a team, be a self starter and dependable. (I’m thinking, in Mammoth??)

• Ability to mitigate issues with tenants, renters, guests, transient renters, and rental companies engaged by owners. (Hopefully not all at the same time?)

• Ability to lift 75 pounds regularly and enter confined/tight spaces. (So The Hulk and a contortionist?)

• Manage office and manage budgets…..full “office skillset” including computer skills (word, excel and email) and items like HOA/complex mail.

• Knowledge in common area infrastructure such as sprinkler systems, general electrical and plumbing, ground and building repair and maintenance…..maintain the general campus common area appearance.

• Knowledge in daily pool and jacuzzi maintenance including pool/jacuzzi chemicals.

• Skid steer operator qualified. (I think that might be a fancy term for a bobcat. Operating one is relatively easy. Operating one for endless hours in a lengthy blizzard is another skill set altogether.)

• Have “ownership” and “pride” in the complex you are representing. (Burn out can happen fast.)

And on and on go the job requirements.

I’m thinking the first thing an applicant would want to know is, “Does the job come with an Ikon Pass?”  

The job description sounds more like requirements to grad school at the Naval Academy….. I wish them luck in finding their perfect candidate.

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Thanks for reading!

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