Mammoth Real Estate Sales Report, November 17, 2019

Mammoth Readies For Thanksgiving, But Prayers For Snow Are In The Offing.

Market Summary:   November 3 — November 17

The Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 19 real estate closings ranging from a low of $159,000 to a high of $1,375,000. Of the 19 escrow closings, 18 were financeable properties and 11 were conventionally financed. There were three (3) Creekhouse (Snowcreek Phase 7) closings. Eight (8) of the sales were condos under $500,000. Four (4) of the five (5) highest priced sales, all above $800,000, were cash purchases. The 10-year Treasury yield rose slightly to 1.834%.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is down another 15 to 62. There were 4 (four) new condo listings in the period and none are in escrow yet. That is only 12 new condos listings in the past month. There were 130 condos listed at Labor Day Weekend. There are 11 condos listed under $300,000 and 24 listed under $400,000. 

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down two (2) to 60. Two of the lingering listings in the $700,000 range went to escrow in the period. One has been on the market each of the last three summers. There are nine (9) homes listed under $700,000, and one new one is basically a teardown. The are five (5) home listed at or above $4M.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down six (6) to 65 at period’s end. Of the 65 properties in “pending,” there are 27 in “Active Under Contract” status (formerly “back-up”). The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up one (1) to 92. The Bishop real estate market remains strong with very little inventory. Is the airport “news” driving that?

Market Updates and News

The weather in Mammoth the past two weeks has been lovely for those who aren’t ready for winter. Some aren’t ready mentally, and some have critical work yet to do. A trickle of skiers and snowboarders have come since opening weekend to make turns but the weather hasn’t been conducive to making large amounts of snow. After a couple of warm days today and tomorrow, the colder temperatures will arrive. The snowmaking crews will likely push to get a few more runs open for the upcoming Thanksgiving week. Most of the guests will just have to find something else to do.  

The inventory of homes and condos actually “inverted” during the period with fewer condos on the market than single-family homes. I cannot recall this ever happening in the Mammoth real estate market. There are roughly four times as many condos in Mammoth as homes. So the fact that the inventory numbers are even close is quite interesting. For more detail, check out my most recent Broker’s Report of a couple of days ago.   

The Mammoth Lakes community finally got to see and hear from the current owners of the Sierra Center mall about their proposal to renovate the building into a hotel. The proposal for “The Mammoth Hotel” was in front of the Planning Commission this past week. The owners want to convert the aging multi-use commercial property into a 164-room “pure hotel” (not a condo hotel). The conversion would add amenities onto the existing roof including a pool, restaurant and penthouse suites.   The mall has been predominantly occupied by Mono County offices for the last 20 years. But the new County administrative building is less than a year away from completion. The proposal is to eliminate all of the existing tenants and renovate the entire property. The Ski Area’s “Fort” workspace would be incorporated back into the new hotel. The owners stated that the new hotel will be “flagged” but were reluctant to state which brand.  

The overall plan was very well received by the Commission (they approved it 5-0) and by members of the community including some of the existing tenants. The architectural renderings give the property a very modern look very similar to that of the YotelPad proposed property. The pool and restaurant on the top floor will have panoramic views of the Sierra and Mammoth Mountain. A street side cafe is proposed on the front corner that has been occupied by sporting goods stores for the past decades.   The owners estimated the TOT (bed tax) generation will be approximately $1M annually. A “four star” hotel in this location in town should certainly help the Old Mammoth Road renaissance. The guests would have immediate access to the primary shuttle routes, the town’s markets, shops, restaurants and bars, the library, ice rink and more. This will be a significant addition to the downtown commercial district. Let’s hope these owners can make it happen. This would be a fitting end for a property that has been in receivership twice in the past 40 years.  

The Main St. sidewalk project is almost completed and it looks great. Next summer should be the final landscaping. Pedestrians and vehicles now have much needed separation along the “Old Public” part of lower Main St. There are two new transit huts on the south side. And all of the “links” between past sidewalk projects are now all completed.   But someone recently asked me why this strange road configuration existed in the first place? The main highway (State Route 203) with the little side roads running parallel that created this mix of pedestrians walking on the road? Well, there is interesting history to it, and history that forever changed the fate of Mammoth Lakes and the Sierra Nevada.   

The very broad Main St. highway and side roads that include many of the historic commercial properties were actually the beginning of the proposed Trans-Sierra Highway. That highway was to originate in Mammoth Lakes and go west past Devil’s Postpile and then through the Sierra Nevada south of Yosemite and on to the Central Valley. Opposition to the Trans Sierra Highway grew in the 1950s and 60s. The public debate culminated in 1972 when then California Governor Ronald Reagan took a horse-back trip into the local wilderness to survey the proposed route. It was then that Reagan decided the road should not be built. President Nixon finalized the action.   

Imagine how different Mammoth Lakes would be today if the road had been built??  And how different the Sierra Nevada would be? In the meantime we are left with the expanse of lower Main St.. Since the Town’s incorporation in 1984 we have been trying to figure out how to improve and/or redevelop it. Rusty Gregory wanted to run a gondola down it. Recent planning departments thought it was viable to tear it all down and rebuild it with understructure parking. The whole thing is a snow removal nightmare for Caltrans and the Town. But now we have sidewalks and improved “mobility.” And we still have our small town environment.  

​​​​​​​Recent VONS ads throughout the state were offering a “price match” for Thanksgiving turkeys. But locally it is interesting to see them offer the match at Grocery Outlet. The new store in Mammoth is increasingly busy and was very popular with the summer tourists. It would be interesting to know how much the new store has whittled away at their business. I know I’m not spending as much at VONS. And I know other local residents aren’t either.

Noteworthy Sales

Another single-family vacant lot closed. This is a quality neighborhood with plenty of sun and Sherwin views. But the lot has the dreaded upsloping topography. Closed for $159,900.   A total of five (5) Snowcreek condos sold during the period.   A 3 bedroom / 2 bath at Mammoth Green closed for $659,000. Values have rebounded nicely in this project.   A heavily marketed property in the Bluffs finally closed. These sellers started in the $2M+ range and started dropping the price. It finally closed for $1,375,000. 

Favorite New Listing for the Period

This isn’t in Mammoth but many of Mammoth’s local residents have migrated down hill to a small neighborhood named Paradise. It is located below the Lower Rock Creek neighborhoods of Swall Meadows and Pinon Ranch and above Bishop and Round Valley. The Sierra views are incredible and the neighborhood is surrounded by open space. So here is a bank-owned home that is 2500+ square feet with a large garage. The lot is almost a half acre. This gets sun all day long. There is extra room for an RV or trailers, etc. This is 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Big open floorplan with the large master bedroom on the upper level. This needs some work but represents a good value. This would make an excellent retirement spot for someone looking to escape the city!! 

Listed at $546,000

Other Real Estate News

According to Luxury Portfolio International the second home market has been “the bright spot” in a softer high-end real estate market. The typical buyer is younger and the drive to own a second home is influenced by the desire to experience a life “well-lived.” Essentially, they say wellness is the new luxury.  

“Affluent consumers have become increasingly conscious of their wellness., hoping to experience richer and more fulfilling lives by living a healthier lifestyle. The trend is overwhelming, with 96% of high-net-worth homebuyers and sellers reporting that they take at least one aspect of wellness seriously as part of their daily routine.”  

Apparently climbing walls, yoga rooms, indoor and outdoor meditation spaces and “sleep-enhanced homes” are the new trends. Wellness amenities are now a “priority.” And “beyond physical and emotional wellness, which most affluent consumers focus on, luxury buyers are keen to improve their intellectual, social and even spiritual wellness.”   There will even be demand for “personal wellness assistants” (maybe a post-real estate career opportunity?).  

So how does this fit into the Mammoth strategy? Quite frankly, this is what Mammoth has always been and has meant to most people desiring to spend extended time here, including most second homeowners; the outdoors, the recreation, the fresh air, the slower pace, etc.. They were seeking wellness without really specifically knowing it. Mammoth simply is a healthy place for most.  

How do we incorporate this into the actual improved real estate? I guess we’ll find out. It might be up to the individual owner. Or will this become a new strategy for short term rental properties?; offering yoga rooms and meditation spaces? A sleep-enhanced rental? Do spas count as a wellness amenity? Mammoth has plenty of spas. And climbing walls too — both indoor and outdoor, and real.  

And will the Town’s massive marketing budget now be shifting to a wellness theme??   If wellness truly is the new luxury, it is one more thing that makes Mammoth a very desirable destination in the future. Now if we can just figure out how to incorporate it into the next remodel.

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