Mammoth Real Estate Sales Report, August 30, 2020

Mammoth And County Go Off State Monitoring — More Openings Coming!

Market Summary:   August 16 — August 30

The Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 33 real estate closings for the period ranging from a low of $263,000 to a high of $2,700,000. Of the 33 closings, there were 31 financeable properties and 22 were conventionally financed. There were another six (6) Snowcreek closings. There were 11 condo sales between $500-700K. There were two (2) residential closings over $2,000,000 and both were cash purchases. There were two high-end residential lot closings at $500K each. This period last year the were 19 closings. The 10-year Treasury yield moved up slightly to .729%. There are jumbo loans available but with limited lenders. The Mammoth real estate market hit a short blip of appraisal problems during the period; certain appraisers refused to recognize rising values in the marketplace (or refused to do the homework). But by the end of the period there were fresh closings supporting higher values.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is down another six (6) to 73. There were 33 new condo listings brought to the market during the period and 12 have already gone to escrow. Strong market activity continues with more multiple offers on many properties. More buyers are willing to make offers without actually “standing in the property.” Virtual tours help but some of these unseen transactions are already coming back to the market. A new seller’s strategy is to state in the listing that “seller will review offers on such-and-such a date” usually about a week forward. We’ll see how that works. There are 14 condos listed under $300,000. The biggest concentration of condo listings is at the Westin Monache with 10 units on the market. Buyers and Sellers there are dealing with the upcoming “refresh” assessment that the Westin is mandating and it appears to be affecting values and sales. This time last year there were 130 condos on the market.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down eight (8) to 28. Homes are selling but there were a few listing cancellations in the period too. There are only seven (7) homes listed under $1,000,000 and 11 listed over $2,000.000. The least expensive home on the market is now $699,000. The most expensive is $5,450,000. This time last year there were 67 homes on the market. 

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes rose another 15 to 179 at period’s end. The local escrow companies, appraisers and inspectors are overwhelmed with work. But if there was more quality inventory there would be more sales. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up 17 to 229. Last year there were 61 and 89 respectively.

Market Updates and News

Substantial crowds continue to flow through Mammoth but maybe not as crushing as two weeks ago. Last weekend there was considerable smoke in town and that may have impacted overall tourism. The area also had Red Flag Warnings for a couple of days. But steady mountain breezes have pushed the majority of smoke out of the area in the past few days. With many kids heading back to school the crowds may lessen. Next week’s holiday weekend should bring a crowd to town. And I already have appointments the following week so people and potential buyers are still coming. Sooner or later we’ll be praying for a big snowstorm.

Mammoth and Mono County’s Covid cases have remained flat through the period. And there was plenty of testing. On Friday the State and County announced new regulations that will go into effect tomorrow. Local restaurants and salons and others will be allowed to reopen for some indoor activity. This is great news and hopefully a trend as we head towards winter. Many restaurants have further expanded and upgraded their outdoor dining arrangements. But to have some indoor dining as well will give them the chance in the next month to increase their business flow. And the business should be here. The outdoor dining should become a large part of Mammoth’s future in the summer months. Many people seem to enjoy it. And it doesn’t seem to create any type of real parking problem.   

The Town Council’s agenda is busy with administrative matters but nothing of any real consequence. The Council’s make-up will change in two months regardless of who wins. The priorities are certain to be changing. A vast number of local residents are concerned about peak tourism and the effect it has on the local environment. And rightfully so. In many places it has simply gotten out-of-hand, especially in the Lakes Basin. Many of our guests have mistaken Mother Nature for the trash dump. There are volunteers out picking up trash in lots of places. This is likely to become more organized and hopefully supported by the Town. And that includes financial support. It will become an election issue in the next two months. This and the massive overspending on marketing.  

In the midst of the pandemic there were several restaurant closures in Mammoth. But they were anticipated before the lockdown (retirements and lease terminations). In the past weeks two new (smaller) restaurants have opened and one of the major closures has an ABC (liquor license) posting in the window for an assumption of the old license. And one food truck/trailer is ready to open. That is real confidence in the community. Months ago I talked about watching capital flowing into the area after the lockdown. It is on the real estate side, but to see new businesses is impressive. I wish them luck.  

This past week Vail Resorts released an extensive plan for re-opening their resorts next winter. Last week’s edition of The Sheet had a rather vague and generalized article on Mammoth Mountain’s plan. But as we have seen just in the past few days, this is a very fluid situation. We have no idea where Mammoth will be in the coming months. No resort does. If there is snow and the lifts are turning, the crushing crowds of this summer may/will be back. I’m sure the Alterra people have been developing all sorts of ideas for re-opening. But many are likely to be wrong depending on conditions. And I know other individuals who are simply going to sit the season out. I don’t plan to be one. And there won’t be a single’s line waiting for me.  

I ran across an interesting article from The Guardian titled How coronavirus is reshaping Europe’s tourism hotspots.  Most of the heavily visited locations in Europe have been empty this summer. Quite different from Mammoth. But these are places that reached peak and overwhelming levels of tourism in the past few years, “not sustainable” as one quote reads. So Mammoth is not alone in questioning levels of tourism. One quote I liked, “Tourism will be completely different,” she said. “Not everyone will travel like they used to. And those who do travel may want to do so in a calmer way, maybe they will see less but enjoy the experience more.”  Maybe that should be Mammoth’s tourism goal.

Noteworthy Sales

Besides the volume of sales in Snowcreek, there were three (3) closings in Mountainback. This is a little unusual. Mountainback is a large project but the units don’t necessarily turn over that often. And because it’s a “Canyon Lodge” location it is often considered a “winter sale”, but not this year, it selling in the summer. But units all around Canyon Lodge are currently selling.

The “groovy A-frame” home that sold just two years ago sold again for $811,000. The sellers paid $740,000 just two years ago. This is a beautifully renovated A-frame structure in the Hidden Valley subdivision. When the structure was built decades ago it looked out upon a large, dense forest. Today it looks right on the tee box of the 5th hole of the Sierra Star golf course.  

The closing of two $2M+ homes during the period is telling. We’ll see if this trend continues. 

Favorite New Listing for the Period

Is it ski season yet? This is a 2 bedroom / 2 bath condo at The Summit and it is a short, flat walk to Eagle Express. In an era of hassles just getting onto the Mountain, this solves the problem — just walk across the street. Upgraded kitchen and baths, lots of newer vinyl plank flooring and more. This has been a solid Airbnb rental. This location is close to the common area pool, spa and fitness room. Understructure parking. This building is in fantastic shape including new interior hallway paint and carpet and the exterior was just re-painted. The seller is not responding to offers until after Sept. 1 after the property is vacated by an extended-stay tenant. 

Listed at $489,000

Other Real Estate News

Realtor® Magazine and NAR recently published an article “7 Client Behaviors Emerging From Covid-19.” This is based on NAR research and data. It is interesting to see how they apply to Mammoth.  

1.) Buyers are in a rush.  According to the data, buyers are writing offers after looking at fewer than half the homes they looked at just a year ago. Homes are selling in an average of 24 days. In Mammoth, many buyers are in a rush but they are also waiting for good properties. These are mostly second homes but buyers right now want to secure a place and want to start using it. And buyers who have lost out on other properties are becoming increasingly antsy.  

2.) Wish lists are shifting. In many residential areas buyers are looking for specific features; space for home office, home gym, more outdoor space., etc..  In Mammoth we are seeing many move-up buyers; existing homeowners looking for bigger places, room for family and friends, and maybe a home office.  

3.) Buyers are less concerned about commutes. Between work-from-home and the push to suburbia….In Mammoth, I’m hearing fewer people concerned about the drive from SoCal to Mammoth or back. Especially if they can be in Mammoth for extended periods. It might become the new commute for some.  

4.) Multigenerational households may grow more common.  No doubt this is part of the move-up push here in Mammoth. Parents and grandparents need room for everybody and the home office and the Peloton.   5.) Pets could drive purchase decisions. The pandemic has apparently sparked a surge in households that want a pet. Fenced-in yards are very popular right now….In Mammoth I’ve been hearing this question plenty; does the HOA allow pets?    

6.) A first time buyer wave could occur. Their data might point this way but I will believe it when I see it. Most of the buyers in Mammoth today are “Mammoth” people. They’ve been coming here for years. But I’m sure some are just showing up and buying because it isn’t a metropolis. When this becomes a “wave” in Mammoth, it could get more interesting than it is now.  

7.) Housing tenure could fall. The NAR data shows owners are staying in their home an average of 10 years, up from the “traditional” six-year average. Hard to say how this will play in Mammoth. Several of my recent listings/sales the owners owned right around 10 years. My current buyers are definitely thinking long-term, until they decide to move-up to something larger. Thanks for reading!  Stay healthy!

Thanks for reading! Please stay healthy.

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