Big Bear Valley Single Family Homes- Bill Young            cell: 909-553-3564

The perfect blend of high-tech and high-touch

14th Year of publication, volume #5-2017

Time to discover the Wonders of Big Bear Lake
Paddle wheeler at Big Bear Marina


BRE number: 01365728

May 2017 Update on Big Bear

You won't find recipes or idle daily blog entries here...
just a good comprehensive study of the Big Bear Real Estate market.
Introduction video to Big Bear Lake


Thanks for visiting this website... every month or so I update the data and stats on the Big Bear Lake real estate market. If you have any questions, please call me at:
or email to:

Click one of the following links to jump to that section of this website:
Big Bear real estate market summary
Reporting Sources
Historical Sales Facts
Snapshot of the last 30 days
The Available Market
Average Pricing by Area
Most active market segment
Purchase Methods
Rentals and Investments
Big Bear Info/reference Links

#2 Best Recreational Lake in the U.S.


 Big Bear real estate market summary

"All real estate is Local"
As you may know, the Big Bear real estate market is very different from other metropolitan markets in SoCal. Most of the properties here are 2nd homes for people who have a principle residence somewhere else in SoCal. There aren’t many owners in Big Bear that move across town to a bigger or smaller house. Usually if a seller is a full time resident here, they are selling their home to move away from the snow and cold of winter. The good thing, from my perspective, is that many more folks are buying in Big Bear so they can have a 2nd home in the snow and cold of winter.

 Details of the May 2017 Big Bear real estate market:  

    1)      SFR Inventory is up about 10% from last month to about 440 units

    2)      Months of inventory up from 4.4 to almost 5 months now… 

    3)      Available Inventory in the $200k to $300k range rose sharply to 93 units

    4)      Sold units in May at 95 units with AUP of $291k

    5)      Most units sold in May were on the market for > 60 days… 

    6)      Sold 2 bedroom AUP: $212k, 3 bedroom AUP: $330k

    7)      Pendings and Backups are up about 20% from last month

    8)      1-bedroom Average sold price dropped from $187k to $120k in May

    9)      Median sold price up from $198k to $265k in May

    10)  AUP sold price up from  $237k to $330k in May


       6 year annual comparison... Big Bear Valley real estate




    Some homes sell FAST
    In this month we had 6 homes close in less than 30 days on the market (out of 87 total).
    This means that with the inventory low, the homes that have been on the market for a while are the homes that sold in March.  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 $150k-$350k range.

    Seller’s Market?

Inventory is a bit lower than this time last year.  Does this mean that we are moving from a “buyer’s market” to a “seller’s market”? One way to tell if it's a Seller's market is by the number of multiple offers on listings. This is difficult to tell from SOLD data, but there are some properties seeing multiple offers. However, as the chart farther down shows, the transactions closing "at or above" list price aren't much different from past periods. This implies that we're not seeing a meaningful increase in multiple offers overall.


 Reporting sources

Reporting sources
There is one element of our market that is difficult to nail down... that's the real estate transactions that happen outside of the Big Bear MLS reporting engine... including FSBOs, private party transactions, Lender to Lender exchanges and transfers, and some REOs that are listed/sold by "down-the-hill" brokers. I've known for several years that trying to reconcile the differences between SOLD data from Title companies and SOLD data from our Big Bear MLS will give you gray hair. Having studied these differences for the last several months, I've discovered there is about a 20% plus and minus difference in the numbers reported on a monthly basis, and these Title company reports don't show things like Days-On-Market (DOM), timely contract price, etc. Therefore, I'll stick with the data from our Big Bear MLS exclusively.


I am also a member of CRMLS as many of you are… I recently compared the Big Bear Listings between the Big Bear MLS and CRMLS… turns out that:

* CRMLS has dozens of listings for Big Bear that are NOT on BB-MLS
BBMLS has several hundred listings in Big Bear that are NOT on CRMLS will show most of Big Bear's listings, but will also show duplicates of most listings as well.

This implies that if you are looking at JUST the CRMLS (or any SoCal MLS) for Big Bear listings, then you’re not seeing all of the available Big Bear homes… this is significant! Since I belong to both MLSs, let me be your eyes and ears when looking for a home in Big Bear.


 Historical Sales facts

Sales History…

This chart shows that the current Average Unit Price is about the same now as it was 10 years ago!! As you can see from this chart, the AUP (average unit price- the red line) for Big Bear SFRs is finally headed north... just have a look at the last 4 or 5 months. Notice the black trend line on the red chart line... that's a mathematical forecast for our market.

1) As you can see, the peak in AUP was in October of 2006. The increase from Jan 03 to Oct 06 was a fairly steady climb... aka "before the bubble burst".

2) However, the descent of the AUP has been a ragged curve for the last 7 years. Also to be noted from the chart above, is that the seasonality in unit sales was fairly consistent until 2006 (blue line)... then this crazy market blew up in 2006 and 2007.

3) However, we can see some predictability coming back into the market with dips in the Summer of each year, and peaks in Fall of each year. All of these trend lines are based on dates that escrow closes.

4) And the green line in the chart shows that in 2007-2009 it took an average of 2-3 times longer to sell the average home when compared to several years earlier. The dip in the green line (DOM) dropped significantly in 2010 when the lower priced REOs started hitting the market.

5) Notice also that the AUP for homes today is about what it was in 2003 (10 years ago)… that means that if you bought a home in Big Bear in 2004 for $175k, that same home went to about $350k in 2006, and is now back down to $175k in today’s market. Timing is everything, eh?

This chart shows the 4 year averages... you'll notice that the AUP is starting to level out... This info, coupled with the current 5 month inventory, may point to a balanced market: not a buyers-market nor a sellers-market.


 Current market Snapshot 


SFR QuikFacts as of 5/31/2017


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 an increase in new housing starts... there are currently 15 homes under construction... ranging in price from $364k to $859k... 


The Available market

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 units by area within Big Bear Valley

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.

Distressed Properties in Big Bear
Here is a list of all 4 available distressed properties: (price ranges from $160k to $490k) Be sure to use the drop down window in the upper left corner of this link so you can scroll through each listing:



Average pricing by area 

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
In May 2017 we had 10 homes close in less than 6 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 shows that most of the recent SOLD properties are 2 bedroom homes with an average sold price of $187k. Second in unit count are 3 bedroom cabins at an average sold price of $318k.


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 remained relatively the same over the past 3 years. We see the same seasonality in most other categories as well.

 Purchase Methods

How did the Buyers fund the purchase?

This chart shows that most of the home purchases were completed with Conventional financing, but there was about 30% of the transactions made by CASH.  So, it's not unusual for buyers to bring cash with them to fund their "perfect cabin" purchase.

Rentals and Investments 

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.



Big Bear Lake weather...

Bottom Line:
Summer will be here soon 
in Big Bear valley, our inventory is down a little, and sales are up 10% year over year. 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. 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 Summer 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. (the local FM broadcast station for Big Bear Valley) (everything relating to eating, playing, and staying in Big Bear) (local road conditions getting to/from Big Bear Valley) (has emergency radio communications) (our local weekly newspaper) (event calendar for Big Bear Valley)
K6BB on 147.330 MHz for local ham radio chat. very comprehensive weather reports/forecasts for Big Bear Valley

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