Mammoth Real Estate Sales Report – December 12, 2021

Summer Is Over In A Hurry, New Snowstorms Insure Holiday Snowpack!

Market Summary – November 28  to December 12

The Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 19 real estate closings for the period ranging from a low of $259,000 to a high of $1,700,000. Of the 19 closings, all 19 were financeable properties and 13 were financed closings. The closings included two (2) more brand new Obsidian Villas units. A whopping 13 of the closing were over $900,000 and eight (8) over $1M. The median and average sales price for the period were both slightly under $1M. An amazing market condition here in Mammoth Lakes. Four (4) of the closing buyers were represented by out-of-town agents, an interesting trend in the market. I received two offers this past week from out-of-town agents. So much for buyers seeking local expertise.
The 10-year Treasury yield ended almost even at 1.489%. But it bounced around quite a bit and the end-of-last week’s inflation numbers are expected to impact it this coming week, we’ll see….More on appraisal waivers and desk top appraisals; I got sucked into an obscure YouTube webinar video featuring a Fannie Mae Director (of Collateral Policy) and another long-time mortgage expert. They think they can automate (human) appraisers out of existence. They believe they can use data and “scientific methods”  to remove the “bias” that appraisers bring to the task. They expressed that they can “help prevent the next economic meltdown” with this new data, software, and computer based appraisal process.
I’m sure the scammers are already trying to figure the angles in the system (my mind is already thinking about the “holes”). But the latest Zillow iBuying fiasco immediately comes to mind. This was basically the principle (market data, algorithms, etc.) that Zillow was using as the foundation for iBuying. And guess what? Even in strong rising market the process failed. There are simply too many variables (are there “20 cats living in the house”?). So now Fannie Mae wants to Zestimate-ize their appraisal process. The hubris is amazing. But depending on what their algorithms spit out, appraisal values could go up or down from reality and what buyers are willing to pay. This could accelerate markets or curb them. But for sure they will help prevent the next economic meltdown. Maybe they should consult with Zillow.
Meanwhile, Fannie Mae recently raised the conforming loan limits in Los Angeles and Orange County to $970,800 and San Diego to $879,750. Mammoth Lakes / Mono County saw no increase and will remain at $647,200. 

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is down four (4) to six (6). Ridiculous. There is now only one (1) deed restricted unit on the market. 
There were 13 new condo listings brought to the market in the period and 10 are already in escrow. Two new condo hotel 1 bedroom units came to the market late this last week and both are listed over $500,000. This is a new price point but these are basically the least expensive properties on the market. With new snow and more coming there should be renewed interest in the market. I’m wondering if we could actually get to zero (0) condos on the market? Maybe I could file for unemployment?
I had one agent call me on one of my listings last week inquiring about the price. She said “My buyer is really savvy and thinks the selling price should be significantly lower than the list price.” My response was if the buyer is so savvy why didn’t he buy in 2020? Two days later I had two full price offers on the property. This is a hard market for buyers. And it doesn’t look like it is going to get any better. And the sellers are getting tougher and cocky in some cases, they expect bidding wars.


Single-Family Home Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is down two (2) to 13. The two (2) newest listings are in the “depths” of the Old Mammoth district. I’ve had two new homes in close proximity to these homes and I can attest that the snow accumulates heavily in this area. More so than maybe anywhere in town. I hope they get buried soon. It always amazes me when transactions close as homes are truly buried in snow. I first experienced this in 1993. I remember shoveling down to the front door so my client/seller could retrieve his personal belongings.


Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up nine (9) to 83 at period’s end. Once again this is surprising considering the low inventory and we are into holiday mode. But the new snow is sure to spark the market. But are there any more sellers?? The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up six (4) to 120. The outlying areas like June Lake, Bishop, etc. are all experiencing low inventory too.

Market Updates and News

The beautiful summer-like weather lasted until the middle of last week and then the weather pattern changed dramatically. Just in time. The first storm front came through Thursday and deposited almost a foot of snow on the Ski Area and made the town look like winter. The temperatures also dropped allowing for snowmaking operations to begin especially on the Eagle Base side of the Mountain. The last three days of crisp but sunny weather brought a significant crowd of skiers and snowboarders into town. Now a significant storm (cold and wet) is beginning to pound the region. This looks like a great set-up for the holidays.
With Christmas and New Years Day falling on a Saturday, Mammoth is likely to experience three solid weeks of holiday business with Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 15-17) following right after. More snow is forecasted before and during the Christmas weekend. The storm door is open. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The region desperately needs the snow pack and water. The compelling question for Mammoth is does the Ski Area and local businesses have the personnel to operate at this high level? Between the pandemic, Mammoth’s worst housing crisis ever, and a dubiously motivated workforce, some (many?) levels of staffing are going to be dicey throughout town. Visitors and second homeowners should take heed. Be prepared.
Mammoth’s bed tax (TOT) numbers continue to be impressive. This past October was a record October. The total TOT and TBID (that tax on your local receipts beyond sales tax) taxes combined for well over $1M in revenue. Great weather without smoke helped. And ecotourism is alive and well in the region. November is expected to be a record also.
Most fronts are quiet in Mammoth as everybody prepares for the holidays. For some it will be time to celebrate and others it will be crunch time at work. It is always a crazy time here in Mammoth….The last two days there have been pillars of smoke coming from the back country which means the crews are finally getting the chance to burn slash piles. There are hundreds of slash piles on the periphery of Mammoth that need burning. But snow pack and proper weather conditions are necessary. These piles are in-and-of-themselves potential fire dangers during non-winter months. Another benefit of the new snow.   
Before the weather changed there were numerous paragliders coming off the Sherwins during the period. The conditions were apparently perfect; reasonably warm temperatures and little wind. It is incredible entertainment that I can see from my desk. It is awe inspiring athleticism and courage. Most land in the Mammoth Meadow. This one flyer last spring came well into town, the only time I have seen this.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of 86 Tamarack St. is my noteworthy sale for the period. Not so much the property or the transaction but the Sellers. This property was the long time residence of a low key but very significant property manager and real estate broker here in Mammoth Lakes. Steve Schwind was one of, if not the last of a breed of onsite condominium property managers who branched into reservations from the 1970/80s era. Many from this era were forced into getting real estate licenses (by the California Department of Real Estate) for their reservation businesses in a contentious period in the late 80s and early 90s. 
Steve, almost tongue-in-cheek, formed Shoulda-Bin-A-Cowboy Land and Cattle Company as his brokerage name. He sold some real estate but he primarily managed properties like the Woodlands, Sunrise, Chamonix, etc. for decades. He also managed the majority of the reservation properties in these projects when onsite management and onsite rentals were in vogue. He saw significant changes to the STR business in all of his years. Steve was also a prominent member of the Mammoth Lakes (volunteer) Fire Department during the real formative years in the 70s and 80s. 
Even though one of the true “old guard” property managers from the past, he had the foresight to capture the URL when things like this could be acquired for almost nothing. Steve and his wife and business partner Caroline have moved east to where one of their daughters live. I’m sure they won’t miss the snow….


Favorite New Listing for the Period

Snowcreek has been hot property the past 18 months and The Lodges units may be the hottest. Here’s a Plan 2   3 bedroom / 3.5 bath 2-car garage townhome that really functions like 3 master suites. Great room and true master suite are upstairs. Two covered decks with beautiful Sherwin Range views and overlooking the lovely pond area of the project. Real woodburning fireplace (no retrofitting required) and forced air gas heating. Commercial gas cooktop in the kitchen. Located on the north end of the project near the Snowcreek Athletic Club and Red Line shuttle stop. Convenient location. This unit is sold partially furnished and is ready to use and personalize. Check out the video tour.

Listed at $1,380,000


Other Real Estate News 

In my free time (?) I’ve been tinkering around in the premium version of for Mammoth STR condos. The Rentalizer tool lets the user get estimated annual gross revenue (and average daily rates) for specific units. This estimate, like a Zestimate, uses all the available data to come to this number. The data is coming from the history of both Airbnb and VRBO. So here are the condos that closed during this past period, what they sold for, and what AirDNA say the estimated gross revenue is for the property.

St. Moritz #65, Studio / 1 bath sold for $259,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $47,000 with a 70% occupancy rate.

Juniper Springs Lodge #349, 1 bedroom / 1 bath sold for $435,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $67,500 with a 57% occupancy rate.

La Vista Blanc #50, Studio + loft / 2 bath sold for $439,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $51,300 with a 55% occupancy rate.

Horizons Four #163, 2 bedroom / 2 bath sold for $543,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $67,500 with a 57% occupancy rate.

St. Anton #60, 2 bedroom / 2 bath (the original 1 bedroom + loft floorplan) sold for $810,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $52,000 with a 49% occupancy rate.

Mammoth Green #108, 2 bedroom / 2 bath sold for $910,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $54,000 with a 77% occupancy rate. (I think this one is way off, the average daily rate is too low. This is a beautifully remodeled unit on the golf course.)

Summit #60, 3 bedroom / 3 bath sold for $980,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $59,000 with a 52% occupancy rate.

Val D’Isere #2, 3 bedroom / 2 bath sold for $1,100,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $88,000 with a 52% occupancy rate.

Creekhouse #1340, 4 bedroom / 4.5 bath sold for $1,399,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $117,000 with a 52% occupancy rate.

Creekhouse #1515, 3 bedroom / 2.5 bath sold for $1,456,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $75,000 with a 52% occupancy rate.

Juniper Crest #16, 3 bedroom / 2.5 bath sold for $1,700,000. Rentalizer says annual gross revenue is estimated to be $62,000 with a 52% occupancy rate.

Interesting numbers. The ~52% occupancy rate seems consistent which is historically correct for mountain resort communities.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ll be back after the 1st sometime.

Thanks for reading!  Please stay healthy.
** Closed sale data is compiled from in-house files and public records.

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