Mammoth Real Estate Sales Report July 6, 2014

Market Summary: June 22 – July 6

The Mammoth MLS is reporting 11 closings in Mammoth Lakes for the two week period ranging from a low of $110,000 to a high of $2,000,000. During the period there were no REO/bank owned property closing and two (2) short sale closings. Of the 11 real estate sales, ten (10) were financeable properties and eight (8) were purchased with conventional loans. The recent statistics show flip-flopping between a majority of cash and financed transactions with a trend towards more financed transactions.

Condominium Inventory

At the period’s end there are 133 condominiums listed for sale in Mammoth Lakes, an increase of eight (8). More newly listed condos with higher asking prices. Many older 1-bedroom condos are being listed at closer to $200,000 and beyond. But there are 19 condos listed under $200,000. For comparison sake there were 107 condos listed this time last year.

Single Family Inventory

The inventory of single-family homes is up another nine (9) (just like last period) to 73. There are now eight (8) homes listed for sale in Mammoth under $500,000. The best of the bunch are a few “straight-walled” homes in the Old Mammoth district. There are now 33 homes listed between $550,000 and $800,000. That inventory will certainly start competing with each other. Again, for comparison sake there were only 53 homes listed for sale this time last year.

Pending Transactions

The total number of properties in “pending” (under contract) in Mammoth Lakes is down (again) by six to 40 at period’s end. Of the 40 properties in “pending,” seven (7) are “contingent short sales” and 21 are in “back-up” status. The total number of pendings in the aggregate Mammoth MLS (which includes outlying areas) is down four to 64. More comparison; this time last year there were 72 properties pending in Mammoth Lakes and 95 in the aggregate MLS.

Market Updates and News

So will the Mammoth real estate market see a major inflection point in the coming months?? It will, or it won’t, but it will be interesting to observe all of the dynamics. The inventory of homes and condos listed for sale is clearly rising. Some of the new listings are priced competitively while others are “fishing and wishing ” prices. There are buyers poking around the market but there is little sense of urgency. That normally changes in August and September as the march towards winter begins.

While the inventory is up the current volume of transactions is down. So a tug-of-war between buyers and sellers is about to ensue in this marketplace. Meanwhile, see here for my latest Q&A regarding the current buyer concerns. And as I forewarn, that lower transaction volume makes for hungry agents.

The 4th of July weekend was busy but not crushing. Temperatures in Mammoth were in the 80’s which is warm. The crowd was very widely dispersed; the campgrounds in the higher elevations were packed (people beating the heat). One popular local restaurant reported a “record day” on the 4th even though the late crowd was light. Busy parade, fireworks at Crowley Lake and in the Village, and plenty of outdoor sales… Real estate was rather quiet which is normal, and very few open houses.

Everybody was enjoying the weather and the holiday period… I did visit the newly opened Mammoth Brewing tasting room and outdoor beer garden at the old Whiskey Creek location. It was busy and they offer samplers and full pours too. Lots of folks were having their “growlers” filled for off-site consumption. This place is going to be a big hit; great beer and good vibe, helpful employees, watch the beer being made, and very a very visible location. Meanwhile a new microbrewery is open in June Lake and one soon in Bishop on Main St.

Otherwise this was a pretty slow news period in Mammoth. The new Council is seated and I’m sure they are busy reading reams of documents… The newly elected County officials don’t get seated until January… The Ski Area has Mono County Supervisor Tim Alpers (of trout fame) going to Washington DC to lobby with Senator Feinstein’s office for the main lodge land trade. They are hoping for an approval before the Senate recesses this summer… The Town reports record amounts of TOT (bed tax) in May and estimated for June.

All of the tourism efforts and events are paying off. September is loaded with events including the Kamikazee and mountain bike event… Air service will expand slightly this winter with once-a-week flights to/from Denver and a twice-per-week link to Las Vegas on the San Diego flights… The Water district is offering $200 rebates for “Water Sense” toilets. Many of these new toilets actually flush.

Noteworthy Sales

The sale of 244 Ridge Way for $895,000. Here is an older but super clean and very well built contemporary designed (which is coming back in a big way) home in a great location backing to the Bell Parcel. Almost 3,000 square feet, 3 bedroom + den and 3.5 baths. Sold for $302 per square foot. Very good buy. Who says prices are going up??

The sale of the Lodges #1129 for $597,000. Well, prices are going up. This is the 2 bedroom / 2 bath floor plan with the 1-car garage. Nothing really special about this location in the project. Very nice condition though. This is significantly higher than the last sales.

The high sale for the period, 109 Northstar, at $2,000,000. This massive 5700 square foot home is on one of the premier lots on Sierra Star golf course. This home was originally built by the Tallus developer and long-time Mammoth second homeowner. This sold for $350 per square foot. When it was built in the early 2000’s it had to have cost more than that to construct it. The main living area feels like a old-world cathedral… I’m glad I don’t have to heat and maintain it.

Other Real Estate News

I’ve mentioned the impressive condo remodeling trend here in Mammoth. With no new condos under construction or offered, buyers are dropping significant amounts into the tired 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s condos. I’m working on one myself. But as I have advised, if you are planning on putting $50-200,000 into a property, better make sure the defects are curable. I see some owners making the effort on properties that have poor locations, no view or sun, or nothing really redeeming at all except that they are in Mammoth (many of the older condos have great locations, features, etc.).

But today’s common question is “Does this remodeling make financial sense?” or “Can I get my money out of it if I have to?” (We’re not talking about flipping here.) Recent sales answer the question as “yes.” Buyers even seem willing to “overpay” for beautifully remodeled older condos. They value the effort and cost of the project. Many surely fit the “more-money-than-time” profile so it makes sense.

For those buyers and owners considering a remodel, a good sense of budgeting is imperative. I see some people really overspending. Of course it will always “costs twice as much and takes twice as long” but just plan for it. It always helps to spend some time looking at similar floor plans that have been remodeled; there are some good and bad things to see. It is also critical to understand the best materials to use for how the property will be utilized (will it be a rental?) and for this environment. It is always beneficial to “experience” the property during the changing seasons, so new owners shouldn’t be in a rush (but they always are). The end result can be rewarding. And I don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon.

Thanks for reading!

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