OK, so most of you know by now that Mammoth Mountain Ski Corporation has purchased Big Bear's two local ski resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. With rumors of major development by the new owners in the works, the most popular question being posed to Big Bear real estate professionals these days is about the effect the purchase will have on local property values.
Of course, the real answer is that nobody knows. But here's a few thoughts.
It seems the most widely held prognostication is that over the next few years, as improvements are made and faith is gained in the resort's new owners, and as more Mammoth faithful experience Big Bear as a more convenient quick-ski-getaway option, property values will see above average appreciation.
The idea that property values are going to jump 10% or more overnight has proven to be unfounded, as since the announcement of the purchase was made almost a month ago, one might say that buyer interest has increased marginally but certainly not enough to drive prices immediately higher.
It stands to reason that the beneficiaries of Big Bear real estate price increases will ultimately be the properties closest to the resorts in the Moonridge and Bear Lake East locations. I also think that Big Bear luxury homes will see a boost in prices as the typical Mammoth clientele tends to be from a higher income bracket.
Although the overwhelming feeling is that the purchase will be a positive, some have pointed to a few areas of concern that may negatively affect property values. One of these concerns is that the new owners will over-develop and flood the supply-side of the "supply and demand" balance. If the new owners build a multitude of new condos surrounding the mountains, existing home owners in the resort areas may face unwelcome competition in the sale of their homes. As well, if new hotels are built at the resorts, this will likely affect the potential vacation rental incomes of property owners who are close to the slopes.
Overall, I will be greatly surprised if the purchase of the local resorts doesn't end up being a significantly positive event in the ongoing history of the Big Bear Valley.