Current market Snapshot, 12/1/2017
Changes in the Market over the years
It is interesting to note that the major difference between the market now and several years ago, is that now there are few Investors working the Big Bear market... and a few "flippers" as well. Most of the home-buyers now are actual families who want to enjoy the clear mountain air, get away from the freeway traffic, and enjoy the slower pace at 7,000 ft. altitude. A couple of years ago, investors would buy a home for $200k... put $30k into upgrades etc., and sell ("flip") the home at ~$280k... those times and business models have all but disappeared in today's market. Most of the today's buyers are living and playing in their Big Bear getaways instead of thinking of the home purely as a line item in an investment portfolio.
And we are seeing a steady level in new housing starts... there are currently 11 new/under construction homes... ranging in price from $170k to $1.4M...
Available by price range
It must be noted that there are no reasonable listings in Big Bear Valley below about $80k... this is unlike other areas in the U.S. where you can find a small home for, say, $20k in Florida or Arizona. The Big Bear homes that are under $80k will be very small and will most likely need considerable repair. The Big Bear area is simply too popular, too much in demand, and too close to LA/OC/SD to allow lower priced listings.
Available vs Sold units by area
And the above chart shows the distribution of the SFR inventory by area within Big Bear Valley ... You'll notice that the areas of Big Bear City and Moonridge contain the most units for sale. Moonridge is the area surrounding the Bear Mountain Ski Resort, and Big Bear City encompasses a large part of the eastern part of the Valley. It's also interesting to see that Fox Farm, for example, has lots of inventory as well as the west end of Big Bear by the Dam...
Distressed Properties in Big Bear
There are only 3 available distressed properties: (price ranges from $160k to $490k) in Big Bear at this time... that's less than 1%. What a difference this is from a couple years ago.
Pricing by area within Big Bear Valley
This chart shows that the highest priced homes (usually means the largest homes on the biggest parcels) are in the western part of the Big Bear Valley, the lakefront, and in 2 high-end developments called MeadowBrook Estates, and Castle Glen.
Some homes sell FAST
Last month we had 7 homes close in less than 30 days on the market. Good homes, priced correctly, are selling quickly here in Big Bear Valley. By the way, most of the sales activity last month was right where we expected... in the $115k-$649k range.
Most active part of the market: 2 and 3 bedroom homes:
Bedroom count that sold last month
This chart below shows that most of the recent SOLD properties are 2 bedroom homes with an average sold price of $214k. Second in unit count are 3 bedroom cabins at an average sold price of $335k.
Here is another way to look at the heart of our market... in this chart, we see that the average price for both 2 and 3 bedroom cabins has risen slowly over the past 3 years. Big Bear generally sees about 8%/year growth... nothing like the wild swings for the rest of SoCal. We see the same seasonality in most other categories as well.
Investment Make Short-term Rentals Ever More Popular
The short-term rental market -- largely seconds homes and vacation rentals -- is alive and well, thanks largely to online portals thrusting this unique form of accommodations into the limelight.
How about RENTAL investment opportunities?
If investment in Big Bear is interesting to you ... I have talked to several Property Management companies here in Big Bear, and noted the following details:
1. For rental cabin owners, they can expect most of the annual rental revenue to come in the 3 months of Winter... not a linear cash-flow at all… good income for 3 months, then dropping to almost nothing.
2. Rental rates vary all over the place: from $150/night to $2,500 per weekend depending on the size, configuration, style, and proximity to the ski slopes.
3. On average, the cabin owner can expect the "typical" cabin to rent about 81 nights per year. If we have lots snow, then the renting season could be up to 110 days, but if we have a relatively warm Winter, then the renting season could be as short as 65 or so days.
4. The "typical" cabin-owner should be able to supplement the mortgage, insurance, management fees, utilities, and taxes with the rental revenue cash-flow. Very few properties pay for themselves with rental income, but the rental income can certainly help pay for utilities, taxes, management fees, etc.
5. If you have investor-clients/friends that have expressed interest in the Big Bear Lake area, now might be the time to refer them to me.
“What is the best buy in Big Bear?” Easy question, tough answer. We have such an eclectic mix of old vs. new, large vs. small, flat vs. steep mountain side, tall pine trees vs. desert-like… it’s a tough answer. For example, in most typical urban neighborhoods all of the homes on Elm (?) Street are 5 bedroom/3 bath and have a market value of $650k. Here in Big Bear, almost every neighborhood has a small old cabin built in 1932 right next to a new Log home with 3,000sf on a large lot… and almost everything in between as well. So, the way I approach the answer is to ask “what price range”… then we can see an assortment of homes within that range.
The key message about our Big Bear resort market:
Buyers who want to buy, are buying...
and Sellers who want to sell, are selling.
Winter is here now in Big Bear valley, our inventory is low, and sales are up 10% year over year. But we have a good selection of quality listings available today. Visitors to Big Bear over the last several months are now thinking about buying a cabin for use this year and beyond. The distressed offerings are a much smaller component of the sales... this is good news for equity sellers. And it’s a very good time to be a buyer, although the lower inventory tends to point to a Seller's market now. We are not seeing the panic-buying that can be seen elsewhere in metro SoCal.
My best wishes to you and your family for this Winter season... give me a call the next time you are in Big Bear... I will buy the coffee and tell you more about "our shining city on the hill"..
Big Bear information/reference links
For future reference, here are several links that will have current updates on anything happening in Big Bear Valley.
www.kbhr933.com (the local FM broadcast station for Big Bear Valley)
www.BigBear.com (everything relating to eating, playing, and staying in Big Bear)
www.ie511.com (local road conditions getting to/from Big Bear Valley)
www.bigbearscanner.com (has emergency radio communications)
www.bigbeargrizzly.net (our local weekly newspaper)
www.bigbear.com/things-to-do/events-calendar/ (event calendar for Big Bear Valley)
K6BB on 147.330 MHz for local ham radio chat.
www.Bensweather.com very comprehensive weather reports/forecasts for Big Bear Valley