April 13th 2020 Mammoth Times Article
While the financial markets tend to react quickly and erratically to financial negativity, the Mammoth Lakes Real Estate Market has reacted with a pause.
In the long run, I am optimistic that our market will be just fine, with appreciation returning for several reasons. The market has room to grow. As the bar graphs show, the latest cycle never reached the same peak as it did in 2005 for either dollars or number of transactions. That year the total dollar volume for 796 closed residential sales was $545 million. The most recent peak was 2019 for 503 sales and $295 million. Additionally, it appears that low mortgage rates will be the norm for a while. And best of all, Mammoth Lakes is still as beautiful as ever.
First Quarter 2020 has set the new benchmark for the next cycle. Overall, sales were slightly better than First Quarter 2019 as the impact of Mammoth Mountain closing early and the issuance of the Stay at Home Order didn’t hit until the second half of March.
The near-term will be definitely challenging. The number of Pending Sales at Quarter- End is the most accurate barometer of what will happen. On March 31st, as reported by the Mammoth Lakes Board of Realtors, there were 41 Pending Sales — 33 condominiums, 7 single-family homes and 1 residential lot. While the overall number is reasonable, it is the composition that is worrisome. The median sales price for condominiums, excluding the 14 new construction sales is $382,000. This is a significant drop in median price from the previous quarter and may be an indication of future price points.
While all market cycles have similar traits, each also has its own uniqueness. As we start this new dawn, I will be writing a series of quarterly articles updating the community on what is happening in our real estate world. And as the market briefly pauses, be well and stay safe.
Mammoth Lakes is as beautiful as ever and there is no end in sight for its majesty. In the long run, I am optimistic that the real estate market will be “just fine” with appreciating prices returning. However, the short-term is problematic. We have had a trifecta – pandemic, financial market roller coaster and the winter 19/20 drought. I believe that once the “stay at home” orders are lifted that there will be a downward adjustment of price. When this happens, it will become a buyer’s market and I will return to the traditional Featured Buys format. In the meantime, it is time for a pause.
The local community has been hit hard by both unemployment and illness. The official site for Mammoth/Mono County information is Mono County Coronavirus. And if you would like to make a donation to our food banks, you can make an online donation in any amount to the Mammoth Community Foundation, which is run by the Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Click on the Chamber’s website Chamber of Commerce and the Donate Now button is at the bottom of the home page.
Stay healthy and I look forward to the day when we all can enjoy our beautiful mountains together.
Those who say winter is over shouldn’t dismiss the years when March/April were some of the biggest snowfall months of the season. I am visualizing the spring skiing as I write.
As for naysayers who comment that the current real estate market is at the top of the cycle, here is something to think about. While there has been a definite upward trend in median sale price, the Mammoth Lakes real estate market still has not fully recovered to its 2005 activity levels.
During 2005, there were 796 closed sales transactions with a total sales volume of $545 million. In 2019, there were 503 closed transactions for $295 million. The current annual number of closed sales is still 37% below the high and the dollar volume is 46% below 2005.
The astute shopper can still find good buys. Call me for additional information at 760.914.0199
The 2019 momentum for high-end townhome ownership continues. Last year, approximately 21 new construction townhomes at Snowcreek Resort’s CreekHouse and Mountainside adjacent to Canyon Lodge closed escrow for a medium sales price of $1.025 million. And this year started with The Villas at Obsidian (featured last month) reporting 14 of their proposed 20 townhomes are under contract between $1.250 - $1.350 million. And as mentioned in the Featured Buy above - CreekHouse just released 8 additional townhomes for sale. The demand for Mammoth’s over 1 million-dollar townhome market is our strongest real estate indicator of an appreciating real estate market.
And in the resale world, approximately 50% of the current condominium listings are under $400,000. Mammoth Lakes has always prided itself on having something for everyone. Looking for new or resale, call for me additional market details!
This What’s New is literally what’s new. Currently, The Villas at Obsidian are 20 luxury townhomes being constructed adjacent to the 10th Fairway of the Sierra Star Golf Course. (See Featured Buy). What is truly unique about this development are the amenities. This gated community has an optional Clubhouse Membership that includes full access to the indoor pool, workout room, game room and complimentary shuttle service.
And starting April ’20 the Westin Monache will begin their hotel interior renovation work. Every room will receive a complete makeover; paint, carpet, furnishings. Additionally, Snowcreek Resort’s Creekhouse continues to build out their high-end townhome community. Call me for additional details.
With the shift in the market, I have changed my usual Featured Buys selections. This is the first time in the 15 years that I have tracked Mammoth Lakes market trends that there are an equal number of Condominiums and Single-Family homes listed for sale — at 60 each. Usually, houses are 2 to 3 times the number of condo listings. So, this month I only featured homes and no condos. The median list price for a Mammoth home is $1.050 million. If you would like to discuss this trend, please don’t hesitate to call me.
Exciting news last month when 7-acres of prime land were purchased by the Little Nell Hotel Group. (This site is at the corner of New Canyon Boulevard/Lake Mary, adjacent to the Westin Monache, and for years referred to as the former Ritz Carlton site.) The Little Nell Hotel Group is a sister organization to the Aspen Skiing Co which is also a sister organization to Alterra Mountain Co., owner of Mammoth Resorts.
The purchase was made with the intent of building a Limelight Hotel/Residence. Other Limelight properties are in the towns of Aspen, Ketchum and Snowmass. Limelight’s promotional materials describe the brand as a property welcoming outlaws and skiers alike in the spirit of the Wild West. Sounds like this could be the next local hangout.
While we haven’t even started our fall color season, there is still the irresistible urge to look towards the winter season and new Mountain improvements. This year is about the culinary experience. Canyon Lodge renovation improvements continue with the addition of a new bar (Lincoln Bar) and Canyon BBQ. Plus, an additional 2,500 square feet of interior space and more than 200 new seats. Eagle Lodge also has a new restaurant serving southern-style chicken with a focus on homestyle flavors. Opening day is November 9th.
Stay tune! I am currently updating my website to improve the search functions and increase the mobile friendliness. Once completed, I will be back to my monthly emails.