Mammoth Real Estate Sales Report – May 26, 2024

Ski Season Wraps And Mammoth Has Ambitious Plans In The Summer 2024!

Market Summary –   May 12  to May 26 

The Mammoth Lakes MLS is reporting 12 real estate closings for the period ranging from a low of $59,500 to a high of $2,499,000. Of the 12 closings, 10 were financeable properties and seven (7) were closed with financing. The two lowest closings were in-town (industrial park) storage units. The larger unit at 360 square feet was listed at $89,500 and closed for $101,000. Wow. Years ago I owned the unit next door. The demand to own storage in town is at an all-time high. The closing included a low-end fourplex that closed for $950,000.     
The 10-year Treasury yield ended slightly down at the end of the period to 4.46%. The mortgage industry was reporting that mortgage rates were up slightly at the end of the week. The industry was expecting an “11-day weekend” for the bond market with very little change expected in the near future. The short-term (1-6 month)Treasuries remain in the mid-5 % yield range. The pundits are increasingly questioning how much money will flow out of the longer-term Treasuries (like the 10-year) as these market conditions continue. I’m betting mortgage rates will be stuck in this range for the balance of the year, or beyond.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end the condominium inventory is up one (1) to 55. There was the very typical push of new listings prior to the holiday weekend. There were 17 new condo listings in the period and three (3) have already gone to escrow. Those three (3) include two (2) units at The  Summit. What condos also went to contract/escrow in period? They include 3/3 units at Silverbear and White Mountain Lodge, 2/2 units at Sunstone and Juniper Springs Lodge, a classic Studio + loft at Mountain Shadows, and units at Chateau Blanc, Sierra Manors and a Manzanita Townhome.

Single-Family Home Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up eight (8) to 17. But we have seen some of these properties in the very recent past, and from just a few years ago. The market needs some additional inventory, especially in the <$2M market. A Trails home in the ~$1.3M range went to escrow. 

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is up another six (6) to 54 at period’s end. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is up eight (8) to 78. The Mammoth real estate market is moving along despite higher mortgage rates, the spring slow season, and the crazy macro environment. Inflation and acquiring hard assets are still market themes. 

Market Updates and News

So much for spring breaks, vacations and time on the ocean…the best-laid plans….luckily for me, there is plenty of work to do. The Memorial Day weekend marked the end of the ski season and the unofficial start of summer. There was a solid but not overwhelming crowd in town including the conclusion of the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival event. Cooler temperatures caught some by surprise and many were expecting better access to the higher elevations (like the Lakes Basin). Flashy marketing meets reality. There was monsoonal weather during the period which is helping the region to green-up beautifully. The Forest Service was control-burning significant amounts of forest undergrowth between Mammoth and June Lake the last two weeks.

The Town of Mammoth Lakes just can’t spend money fast enough. They are now fast-tracking the 22,000 square foot civic center construction project and hope to break ground within months. The project is budgeted for $23 million, but we know how that goes (can’t they build it for less than ~$1,000 per square foot?). Clearly they want to get this project to a “point of no return” before the November election. This will eventually lead to another Mammoth shopping center with dead and deserted upper floors. Maybe the demolition trend should continue. Speaking of demolition, my Memorial Day weekend Q&A covered a discussion of Village Versus Main Lodge? 

Insurance continues to be a hot real estate topic and locally I’m still seeing a real hit-and-miss with properties that are seriously affected and those that are not. Interestingly, a few condo projects with significant special assessments for insurance have been strong sellers in the past months. Go figure.

This YouTube video on the modular construction industry is enlightening and got me thinking about the local workforce housing projects. This type of construction was supposed to save money and make these projects more cost efficient. The new four story The Sawyer project in the middle of town (see above) is “about to be occupied”. But it is far beyond the original estimated timeframes and $9 million over budget. I documented the staging and stacking of the modular units, and the building came together rather quickly. But as it progressed to completion it certainly appeared that the pieces didn’t fit together as neatly as it perhaps should have. The video spelled out some of downfalls of the process and industry. We may have just witnessed it first hand.

Vacasa is a substantial player in the local STR industry. If you own property in Mammoth you have likely received regular mailings from them. They recently reported 2024 Q1 earnings (or the lack thereof); “Vacasa disclosed a loss of $141 million, including an impairment charge of $84 million. For 2023, it had booked a loss of $299 million, up by 68% from the $177 million loss in 2022. For the period 2020 through Q1 2024, its total losses reached $851 million”  The company was created/merged in December 2021 with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company). Reports are they are running out of cash quickly. Personally, I’m aware of a few units managed by Vacasa locally. They seem to be rented more nights than the average and I’m told they are very aggressive with their dynamic pricing—basically booking on price and not on service. I’ll be watching.

The California real estate industry is getting some first looks at new the listing and offer forms and “standards of practice” policies. Nothing in concrete yet. But buyers, even the most casually interested buyers, will now have to endure a bunch of “broker representation and compensation” and other legal gobbledygook before they can even see a property. The days of just “running out” to show a property are over. And beyond public open houses, the real estate looky loos may be a dying breed.

Noteworthy Sales 

Strong recent sales at 1849, Eagle Run, The Summit and the Village are sending the message that buyers are placing higher value on properties with close proximity to ski lifts. As it should be in a ski resort, but it hasn’t always worked that way in Mammoth. 

The high sale was a Rosaasen Construction built home. They developed  numerous “spec” homes during the 2000s heyday here in Mammoth. They are large homes and known for their high quality, especially the incredible interior woodwork and detail. The homes were predominantly built in Starwood (Sierra Star golf course). A couple of recent resales have these homes selling at very similar prices to new Hooper-built homes. But today’s cost to replicate them would be incredibly higher.

Favorite New Listing For The Period

This is quite possibly the best opportunity in Mammoth to have the ultimate private estate (or dual estate) parcel with forested privacy, surrounding open space and views of Mammoth Mountain. All it takes is a  little vision. A total of five lots and 2.53 acres. Adjacent to Forest Service land and natural open space. The upper lots were part of the original The Bluffs subdivision. The lower Mill St. lots could be carved off and sold separately. Or? No HOA, CC&Rs or architectural guidelines. Check out the video tour.

Listed at $1,750,000

Other Real Estate News

While the Limelight hotel construction is certainly the most impressive thing currently happening in Mammoth, the reservation and pre-sale efforts are now underway. This is a similar process to the old Intrawest pre-selling methodology used in Mammoth from Juniper Springs Lodge (the first) through The Westin Monache (the last). And the California Department of Real Estate has very specific guidelines about how this process works. Buyers compete to make a reservation and then have to wait ~two years for the delivery of their new Mammoth home. It certainly doesn’t work for those who want instant gratification. But the Mammoth real estate market can be frustrating in many ways.

I spoke with the Limelight sales boss a few days ago and got the latest scoop. (Here is some good info and a cool drone video.) The first five units have been released for reservation and they are reserved (there are total of 15 units available). In fact, there are seven units total now reserved. There is already a “wait list” for the 2 bedroom units. The pricing? The 2 bedroom units are priced starting at $2.6M.  The 5 bedroom “penthouse” suites are stacked on the south end of the building overlooking the pool area and Lake Mary Road (where they are burying all of the power lines). These units will have panoramic southern views and some “down valley” views. One of these units is apparently reserved. The top floor unit is priced at $6.5M. See the floor plan below, it includes four terraces. (Let me know if you are interested!)

In speaking with the sales staff, I was especially curious about the demographic make-up of the prospective buyers. In spring I had several inquiries and encounters with people from the east coast whom had never been to Mammoth. It was something I had never experienced. Most of them had in-fact been to the Limelight sales office in the Village, but were inquiring about other types of real estate. But the sales staff tells me that the reservation holders are predominantly from SoCal including several parents with kids on one of the Mountain ski teams. Also, about half of the prospective buyers are NOT interested in the rental/revenue potential of the properties. 

One of the other interesting things; these 15 condo hotel units are not coming with a standard furniture package. The visual representations would certainly indicate this, but… They are working on packaged options from Restoration Hardware. But these new owners are free to furnish and decorate as they please, even if they intend to go on to the rental program. This is more like the current state of affairs in the Village, versus the uniformity of the Westin. These are destined to be some really premium properties and potential rental properties. I wonder how much a new owner should budget for furnishing a 5 bedroom / 5 bath? I’m guessing at least a half-million for artwork alone?

The construction crews are currently working on the top floors and the project is still on schedule to open in late 2025.

Thanks for reading!

** Closed sale data is compiled from in-house files and public records.

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