2011 Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island.

The 2011 Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island. January 1st on Lytle Beach.

The Memory of 2008 is Fading

2008 was my first full year in real estate on Bainbridge Island.  And, it stunk.  The good news is, every year has been better.  I thought 2009 was good.  It was.  2010 was better. And, the better news is, the goodness of 2010 will give many sellers confidence to put their homes on the market this year.  That fresh inventory will be what many buyers have been waiting for and those new sellers coming on the market, will be move-up buyers, kicking those dominoes in the right direction.

The Polar Bear Plunge

The New Year’s day photo above is symbolic of the market right now.  Buyers are jumping in.  Yes, there is someone on the beach still, this is not 2006, but you get the picture.  Confidence is returning. Interest rates are low and there are actually many people out there with equity  – and they are taking advantage of it.  Move up, downsize, this is the year to do it.

The Reality of 2011

Yes, there will be more bank sales and short sales on the market this year and prices may go down a bit more because of that. But, there are many people out there tired of waiting. And they’ve done the math on renting versus buying and know that if the right house comes up in the next year, they should go for it. They know you can control what you pay for a house, but you can’t control the interest rates. Many of them are first time buyers and they are motivating the move-up buyers to list their homes and buy that $800k house they fancied four years ago that is now $625k.

How is 2011 Looking So Far?

We had our Windermere Kick-off meeting for all of West Sound this week.  The numbers Kitsap-wide reflect the numbers below, specific to Bainbridge Island.  I am excited for 2011.  I am enthusiastic about the sellers I am talking with who will be bringing fresh, new inventory to the market.  And, I am optimistic about the buyers I am working with who are coming to the Seattle area for jobs.

Year-End numbers for homes sold on Bainbridge (does not include condos)

2007 2008 2009 2010
Total Sold 332 187 212 255
Median Sales Price $680,000 $589,000 $546,000 $540,000
Avg. Days on Market 98 108 139 102
Price per sq. ft. $303 $284 $239 $242

And the Numbers

Yes, the median sales price is still going down, but price per square foot has inched up over last year.  Also, days on market is markedly down.  Homes priced well are selling within 90-100 days, as this number reflects.  For me, the key number is volume. In 2007 there were 332 home sales, compared to the bottom of 187 in 2008.  We are seeing a steady climb back up, to perhaps the new normal of the high 200’s.  Confidence is key. Folks are seeing their neighbor’s homes sell in two weeks.  That is a great motivator for sellers to put that sign on the lawn and get on with their personal goals.

The Poulsbo Boardwalk.

The Poulsbo Boardwalk.

Especially in the Northwest!  This Wall Street Journal Article outlines sales for the entire country.  Mercer Island, WA is showing some stellar increases, but I also wanted to compare it to some local numbers, which are also looking up.

Sales of waterfront or homes with beach rights in the past three years:

Bainbridge Island:

2010 – 57

2009 – 42

2008 – 32

Poulsbo & Vicinity:

2010 – 72

2009 – 51

2008 – 44

My favorite homes of the 2010 Bainbridge Island Housing Market

#10 Old Mill

10

Old Mill Road

Original List Price $528,000
Sale Price $525,000
Days on the market 16
Date sold 8/23/10

I love this house because it was built by one of my favorite builders, Bill Corbin.  It is light, open and modern.  I am happy my friend lives there now, so I can continue to admire it.

A house in North Town Woods, Bainbridge Island, WA

#9 North Town Loop

9
North Town Loop
Original List Price $568,000
Sale Price $540,000
Days on the market 15
Date sold 3/4/10

This house has the best floorplan in North Town Woods, in my opinion. It has a large family room upstairs with three bedrooms.  The master is on the main and it has a guest suite over the garage.  Plus, it is walking distance to Sakai Intermediate and Woodward Middle School.

A house on Crystal Spring Drive, Bainridge Island, WA

#8 Crystal Springs

8
Crystal Springs Drive
Original List Price $565,000
Sale Price $555,000
Days on the market 30
Date sold 8/11/10

Loved the colors in this house.  Amazing deck with great hillside vistas.  Smart, open floorplan, but no cookie-cutter home here. Unique rooflines and clever alcoves.  Plus, deeded beach access on Crystal Springs!

A house on Haley Loop, Bainridge Island, WA

#7 Haley Loop

7
Haley Loop
Original List Price $775,000
Sale Price $680,000
Days on the market 151
Date sold 12/8/10

I love yellow houses.  This one got me because it was a large home (3,600 sq. ft.) with a great floor plan and fabulous yard for entertaining.

A house on Beck Road, Bainridge Island, WA

#6 Beck

6
Beck Road
Original List Price $710,000
Sale Price $706,000
Days on the market 28
Date sold 6/1/10

Oh, Beck.  I love the eclectic farmhouses in the West Blakely area.  This is a newer home, built to fit in with the old. A large lot, with charming outbuildings, garden space and walking distance to Lytle Beach.  A little slice of heaven.

A house on Madrona Drive, Bainridge Island, WA,  sold by Jennifer Pells- Realtor

#5 Madrona

5
Madrona Drive
Original List Price $715,000
Sale Price $695,000
Days on the market 22
Date sold 5/26/10

I was happy to sell another Bob Grimm house this year. The home I sold last year was brand new, this one was built in 1988, but the quality craftsmanship still shined.  Great home with an amazingly handy 700 square foot two story guest cottage.

A house on Battle Point Drive, Bainridge Island, WA

#4 Battle Point

4
Battle Point Drive
Original List Price $839,000
Sale Price $771,000
Days on the market 88
Date sold 12/30/10

I loved that this house was clearly built for a family of four.  Large (3,000 sq,ft) smart floor plan,with only three bedrooms, which made the living spaces huge, but practical.  Loved the main floor master suite and large kitchen office. And, close to Battle Point Park.

A house on Arrow Point Drive, Bainridge Island, WA

#3 Arrow Point

3
Arrow Point Drive
Original List Price $835,000
Sale Price $820,000
Days on the market 34
Date sold 10/25/10

This house was just cool.  Fire pit and water access.  Unique design, gorgeous modern kitchen.  It would be an ultra-hip place to live, sans the kiddos. This one is close to Battle Point Park too.

A house on Listening Lane, Bainridge Island, WA

#2 Listening

2
Listening Lane
Original List Price $1,050,000
Sale Price $850,000
Days on the market 486
Date sold 6/23/10

Listening Lane, you gotta love it just for the name.  But, beyond that, Jefferson Properties built a swank modern home. Clean, subtle, yet quality fixtures.  Simple lines. Love the glass garage doors!

A house in Wing Point, Bainbridge Island, WA

#1 Wing Point

1
Wing Point Drive
Original List Price $1,959,000
Sale Price $1,800,000
Days on the market 175
Date sold 4/12/10

Wing Point is truly Carmel on Bainbridge.  When there is a poem welcoming you into the driveway, you know it can’t be bad. A charming home, lovingly designed by the owners.  Superb Eagle Harbor views.

Photos and data courtesy of NWMLS

The annual Bainbridge Island Polar Bear Plunge

The Polar Bear Plunge happens every January 1st at noon. The sun lured over 100 participants from all over Kitsap County out into the 38 degree weather this morning to celebrate the new year with a plunge (of sorts) into the icy cold water of Puget Sound.

Nothing Says New Year’s Like a Plunge in Puget Sound

My daring daughter Olivia decided yesterday she wanted to participate in the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge. She’s a brave one. I was proud to cheer her on from the beach, in my wool cap and down coat. She is the one in the black Speedo! Oh, youth!

On January 2, 2011, in Activities, Community, by

Treehouse Cafe on Bainbridge IslandTreehouse Café – in Lynwood Center

4569 Lynwood Center Road NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 (206) 842-2814

Hours:
Monday – Saturday 7 am – 11 pm
Sunday 8 am – 10 pm

Menu Available: 11 am – 10 pm

Treehouse Website

The Treehouse Cafe has great salads (love the spinach and Cesar) and adult pizzas (Point White Pesto is a family favorite). Now, most kids will not eat food with that much flavor ;) but Treehouse has a great kid’s menu too – and it is reasonably priced. They also have pizza dough to play with a crayons and paper – just ask.  My youngest loves their spaghetti and meatballs.

Personally, I have always liked the leather couch at Treehouse. It used to be a seating option, for your meal, but now it is a nice place to lounge if you have to wait for your take-out or a table. It is also indulgent to sit outside in the sun (when it is out ) with the new expanded outside seating. Another perk for the kiddos is that they have an old fashioned ice-cream case and serve scooped ice cream. Always a request after dinner!

Treehouse serves coffee, breakfast, and pastries too.  They have a new, large, expanded dining area, a bar with TVs, pool tables and has live music on the weekends, with great band (see website for schedule).  The Treehouse has really defined itself as a destination location for Bainbridge.  I feel lucky to have it in my backyard. $$$

 

On January 1, 2011, in Coffee, Happy hour, Restaurant, by