The twists, turns, and drops of the Mammoth Real Estate Market have led to a lost opportunity for workforce housing in Mammoth.
Mammoth Lakes Housing is the non-profit that works with the Town of Mammoth to increase the availability of housing for people who earn local wages in a real estate market driven by out of town money.
Built to be workforce housing, the San Joaquin Villas ended up being sold to second homeowners at a similar price that the local workforce would have paid.
The 40-unit San Joaquin Villas were built by Intrawest as workforce housing mitigation for the Westin, explained Mammoth Lakes Housing Director Pam Hennarty. When the project was finished in 2007, the sale prices for the workforce housing units were set at the peak of the market. Hennarty says that 18 of the the units priced for lower income brackets did sell, but the higher priced units set for people making 200% of the area median income, did not.
Built into the contract with Intrawest was a clause that allowed that company to sell the units on the open market without deed restrictions if the units didnt sell within a set time frame. When the time was up, the deed restrictions to sell to the local workforce expired and Intrawest put the units up for sale, Hennarty explained. The deed restrictions were pulled, but the market had changed and prices had dropped.
The unfortunate situation that resulted, according to Hennarty, is that the new lower priced units that ended up being sold to second home owners, sold at prices that could have made sense as deed restricted workforce housing units. With the deed restrictions, a four bedroom at San Joaquin were priced at $384,000 for a person making 200% of the area median income and $248,000 at the 120% income level.
Hennarty says that Intrawest was leaving town and had to cut the prices significantly in order to sell the units. Most of the San Joaquin units sold once the deed restrictions were lifted, but one four bedroom unit is currently listed at $259,000. Hennarty says that the units could have sold through Mammoth Lakes Housing at the same price with the local workforce being able to take advantage of their homebuyers assistance program.
Its water under the bridge now, but there is a sense from Hennarty that this was a lost opportunity. Its unfortunate that it didnt work out well, she says.