Yearly Archives: 2020

Q2-2020 Market Update by Mike SannesBig Bear Real Estate - The Mike Sannes Team, July 25, 2020

Hello to you all and as always, thanks for checking in with us regarding the Big Bear real estate market. What an amazing few months it has been since my last update. Since the end of the first quarter in March, the Big Bear real estate market has been on an absolute roller coaster ride. And as these long days of summer keep flying right by, let’s take a minute and get caught up on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting Big Bear’s unique vacation home market.

April, which is typically a slow month for sales here in Big Bear, started off as slower than molasses on a very cold day. On April 15th, we had 390 active listings and 74 homes in-escrow which translates to a 19% absorption rate* and equates to 8 months of inventory.** How bad was it? The total number of sales in April 2020 vs. April of 2019 was off by 58% (45 in 2020 vs. 108 in 2019) and was also off by 54% from the 5-year average number of closings (97) in the month of April.

These market conditions held through mid-May but by the end of May, a dramatic shift was underway with the absorption rate on the rise to 34% leading to only 4.4 months of inventory (394 active listings vs. 134 homes in-escrow.) Which for reference, is about where we were in February of 2020, prior to the pandemic taking effect.

As the chart below illustrates, this dramatic shift in demand -- which could aptly be described as a tidal wave of demand given the steep rise in the number of homes in-escrow -- continues to build. By the end of Q2 in June, we witnessed an unheard of 90% absorption rate and had under 2 months of inventory (308 Active listings vs. 270(!) in-escrow) -- truly unprecedented.

Absorption Rate & Inventory

What does this all mean for the real estate market here in Big Bear going forward? I have been selling real estate here in Big Bear since 2004 and, even in the hey-day of the bubble market in 2006, I have never witnessed there being substantially more properties in-escrow than there are active listings (312 in-escrow vs. 223 active currently). And in talking with a few old-timers that have been in this business here since the 80’s, this dynamic does indeed seem to be historically unprecedented. It is safe to say that the Big Bear real estate market has never seen anything even close to the level of demand we are currently experiencing and the reasons for this I think are many, including:

  • Big Bear’s affordability vs. down-the-hill pricing
  • A 3% fixed rate on 30-year mortgages
  • The move for many towards continuing to work remotely
  • The trend of not hopping on planes as the preferred method of travel
  • The increasing desire to be able to distance oneself from others, coupled with the social unrest many urban areas have recently experienced

The list goes on and only time will tell if the desire and ability of people to move to and live in more rural areas, father away from populated cities will continue. But in the meantime, it all adds up to increased demand for Big Bear: being a unique four-season alpine resort located within a 3-hour drive (or less) from roughly 20 million people, being a very popular destination and also as very attractive place to invest in real estate that can be used, enjoyed and perhaps vacation rented in order to offset expenses.

Please do let us know if you have any questions on the market overall or ANY properties that you see for sale here in Big Bear, as we have access to ALL listings and look forward to putting our local knowledge and expertise to work for you.

Until next time, happy hunting! If for any reason, you have considered selling your Big Bear property anytime in the last few years, opportunity is knocking as there are currently many more buyers than there are homes for sale. Juts let me know if you would like to understand the current value of your Big Bear property as we are happy to help and always look forward to hearing from you.


*Absorption Rate: The number of homes in-escrow / the number of active listings. Which shows the percentage of the inventory that gets ‘absorbed’ (a.k.a. sold) in a given escrow period (typically 45 days) Considered the ‘speed of the market’. Historically in Big Bear 20% or less is a very slow market with weak demand. Whereas 50%, (where half of the active inventory is being sold in a 45 day period) or thereabouts is a very fast market with very strong demand.

**Months of Inventory: The time it would take, based on a typical 45-day closing period, for all the active listings on the market to sell, if there were no new listings. Four or less months is viewed as a strong “Sellers Market.” Six months is considered a balanced market and 8 months or more is considered a strong “Buyers market.”

Q1-2020 Market Update by Mike SannesBig Bear Real Estate - The Mike Sannes Team, April 16, 2020

Hello from Big Bear! And thanks for checking in with us on the Big Bear real estate market. I hope you are all staying safe and sane through these trying times. As you can imagine, the pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have had a tremendous impact on buyer activity and as such, the market overall here in Big Bear has slowed to a crawl. April is indeed the cruelest month, as T.S. Eliot stated in his famous poem. But before we look at the effect COVID-19 is having on our real estate market, let’s catch up on what transpired in the first quarter of 2020.

Q1 2020 Sales by AreaAs our Q1 results indicate, the real estate market in Big Bear was primed for an incredible year prior to the pandemic. Although March was when things began to drastically change from a public health standpoint, the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic didn’t fundamentally impact the real estate market until April. Meaning, most of the deals that were already in escrow, did close as expected in March (e.g. myself and my team closed 12 sales in March and had only 2 cancel for job-loss reasons). As such, when looking at Q1 2020 vs. 2019 you will notice a surprising and substantial 9.2% overall increase in total number of sales (261 in 2020 vs. 239 in 2019). Sugarloaf showed an inspiring 39% bump and, as mentioned, sales in the month of March increased by a solid 20% (98 in 2020 vs. 82 in 2019).

Q1 2020 Average Sales PriceWith all this activity and demand in the market, prices were on the rise as well. The average price of all the homes sold in Q1 2020 vs. 2019 improved by 6.2% ($388,371 in 2020 vs. 365,673 in 2019.) The Moonridge and Fox Farm areas showed the largest increase in average price due to a few higher-end homes closing in these areas.

And then came Corona: In the middle of February, based on a typical 45-day closing period, we had roughly 4 months of inventory on the market and an absorption rate of approximately 40% (340 Active listings vs. 131 in-escrow). As it stands right now, in the middle of April, we have roughly 8 months of inventory and an absorption rate of 20% (390 Active listings vs. 74 in-escrow). This dramatic change does have a bit to do with the 14.5% increase in supply (which is typical in the Spring in Big Bear), but even more to do with the decrease (-77%) in the number of homes currently in escrow. There were 45 closings between 4/1/2019 and 4/15/2019, whereas over the same period in 2020 we have seen 23. So, it is certainly safe to say that it is a new world and a new market we are living in now.

What does all this mean going forward? In my opinion, this too shall pass; the stay-at-home orders will eventually get lifted; and we will all gradually get back to work and get back to being good consumers again (best guess: early-to-mid June?). With interest rates remaining historically low and the stock market gradually working its way back, I do expect to see a resurgence of demand and plenty of great opportunities to choose from. I also expect to see a substantial increase in supply. It might be optimistic to think we will pick up right where we left off. And we may see, initially at least, a gap between what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers are willing to accept as the market struggles to find its footing after this unprecedented stall, but find its footing it eventually will. So buckle your seat belts, as it may be a bit of a bumpy ride on the way back to the stable and efficient market we had pre-Corona. We certainly do live in interesting times and we will keep you posted as we progress.

For those of you that have an interest and perhaps some extra time on your hands, our website does allow you to search by price-reductions and also by days-listed in addition to all the normal criteria. Do let us know if you have questions on any properties you see for sale here in Big Bear. And although we are set-up for, and encourage, virtual showings, residential real estate has been classified as an essential activity so if the mandated guidelines are followed, in-person showings can also be arranged. Until next time – Stay Safe! And Happy Hunting.

Full-Year 2019 Market Update by Mike SannesBig Bear Real Estate - The Mike Sannes Team, February 7, 2020

Hello from Big Bear! Thanks for checking in with us regarding Big Bear’s unique real estate market. As the new year is already well underway, let’s get caught up on what has been happening in the Big Bear real estate market.

The Mike Sannes Real Estate TeamBut before we dive right in, I would like to give a huge THANKS to all our amazing clients. 2019 was another fantastic year for The Mike Sannes Real Estate Team with 96 closed sales and over 32 million in total production. None of it would be possible without the trust and confidence of our incredible clientele and for that we -- myself, Maureen Auer, Rose Holmstrom and Cynthia Mossman -- are truly grateful.

ALSO: We moved offices! We are now at RE/MAX in The Village at 626 Pine Knot Ave. We are very excited to be a part of the RE/MAX Big Bear family and are looking forward working in the heart of the busy Big Bear Village. We hope you’ll stop in and say hello next time you are out and about in Big Bear.  Now, let’s get back to our real estate update.

2019 was solid year for the Big Bear real estate market. We saw a total of 1,259 residential closings, which equates to a significant 9.7% increase from the 1,148 in 2018. As the chart to the right shows, the area of Fox Farm realized a notable 24.2% rise in sales (82 in 2019 vs. 66 in 2018) and Fawnskin was simply on fire, with a 55.2% surge. (Although the 45 closed in 2019 in Fawnskin vs. 29 in 2018 is still a relatively small part of the overall market, it is impressive nonetheless.) Sales in Sugarloaf, which had been on fire in recent years, cooled a bit posting only a 2.7% increase (which is -7% relative to the market).

2019 Quarterly change in sales price and number of transactions2019 ended with a bang, as the month of December saw an astounding 55% jump in closed sales! (119 in 2019 vs. 77 in 2018 and vs 105 in Nov. 2019) The chart to the left shows the Quarter-by-Quarter change in both average sales price and number of sales for 2019.

As you can see, prices in Big Bear showed improvement as well. The average price of all the homes sold in the Big Bear Valley in 2019 increased by 4.4%. ($352,654 in 2019 vs. $337,718 in 2018). While not jaw-dropping appreciation, it is certainly solid, stable and sustainable growth. Slow and steady has really been the story in Big Bear throughout the recovery, as qualifying for a loan to purchase a vacation home, for very good reasons, certainly isn’t as easy as it was in 2006.

At the peak, in early 2007, the average price in Big Bear was $400,100. By the end of 2011 it was $224,266, which equates to roughly a 79% decline. From the bottom, towards the end of 2011, to where we are now ($352,654) we have seen an encouraging 57% increase. However, unlike many areas in Southern California, Big Bear still has another 21% to go to reach the peak seen in 2007 which offers significant upside potential. In addition, as the economy continues to boom, interest rates remain historically low (30 yr. fixed-rates at 3.75%). These factors combined with increasingly strong demand to own an alpine real estate investment that's close enough to home to use and enjoy often (and also rent, in order to offset expenses should you choose)  leads me to believe that it is  only a matter of time before the Big Bear market will approach those peaks once again. And this time, it won’t be primarily due to irresponsible lending practices.

Let’s finish up by taking a quick look at the supply side. As February gets underway, we have a total of 340 active residential listings in our Big Bear MLS (vs. 363 this time last year). Based on a typical 45-day escrow period and the number of properties currently in escrow (131) that equates to a 3.9 months’ supply. (Meaning it would take 3.9 months to sell all the current inventory, if no new listings came to market.) Six months of supply is considered a balanced market. Whereas seven to eight months leans towards a strong "Buyers’ Market" and 4 months or less describes a strong "Sellers’ Market." So, we are starting 2020 with an inventory driven "Seller’s Market." This is important to understand as, although there are not quite as many buyers looking at cabins on weekends in February as there will be in July, the current lack of quality competition makes now a good time to act if you have been considering selling your Big Bear property this year. Contact me if you would like an accurate, current market value on your Big Bear property (as in Big Bear’s unique resort market, most of the zestimates I see are notoriously incorrect).  And do also let us know if you have any questions on any properties you see for sale here Big Bear as well. We are happy to help and always look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, all the best and happy hunting.

Q3 2019 Market Update by Mike SannesBig Bear Real Estate - The Mike Sannes Team, October 10, 2019

Hello From Big Bear!  Thanks for checking in with us. Let’s get caught up on the happenings in the Big Bear real estate market…

The third quarter, which is typically a very busy three months for sales and closings, did not disappoint in 2019. The average price of all homes sold in the third quarter of 2019 vs. the same period in 2018 increased by a solid 9% ($317,485 in 2018 vs. $345,632 in 2019)

In addition to prices being on the rise in Q3, the total number of sales was also up by an impressive 7% (322 in 2018 vs. 343 in 2019) which bodes well for a strong finish to a busy year for Big Bear real estate.

Interestingly enough, when looking at the market year-to-date (January through September 2019 vs. 2018), the average price of all homes sold in the Big Bear Valley and also the total number of homes sold, increased by 4.6% and 5.2% respectively. A solid, steady and hopefully sustainable pace for the market overall.Q3 2019 Sales By Area

Big Bear Lake proper contributed to the lion’s share of these price gains, increasing by a substantial 15.8%. Whereas it was the Fox Farm, Big Bear City and Fawnskin areas that helped bolster the total number of sales, as those areas saw a 16.7%, 14.9% and 38.1% increase in closings, respectively.

Q3 2019 Sales by Price RangeThe biggest surprise, when looking at the distribution of sales by price range, has been between $750,000 and $999,000. In the first 9 months of 2019, closings in this price range were up an amazing 86.7%! (15 in 2018 vs. 28 in 2019) Wow, quite a few happy sellers in that group!  And it is encouraging to see, as this is a price range that has been very slow to sell in recent years.

What does all this say about how the year will finish? We will keep an eye on the market and keep you posted. In the meantime, do let us know if you have questions on your property’s current value in our appreciating market, or on any that you see for sale here in Big Bear. We are happy to help and always look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, all the best and happy hunting.