Inventory.  Inventory  is the big topic of conversation in the Bainbridge Island real estate world.  As we close the door on 2013 and move into the 2014 market our inventory is historically low.  2012 was a banner year for volume on the island with 386 total sales.  Last year the economy improved and the year started off with a bang but at the end of December, we ended with only a few more sales at 414 total for 2013.  Why?  Lack of inventory is one reason.  Buyers are poised and ready, but the listings, the inventory is just not here right now.  But, I am hopeful the homes will appear on the market as we head into spring.

The list below is a great representation of 2013.  Strong sales in the $600-$800k market, up 50% from last year.  The over million dollar market, however, was down 28%. The initial predictions for 2014 are that the $600-$800k will stay strong and the higher end market will improve.  And the ever active $400-600k market will continue at a brisk pace.  Enjoy the list below and let me know if you have any questions about a property.

Bainbridge Island Real Estate


Original List Price $689,500

Sale Price $671,800

Days on Market 47

Date Sold 6/2/13

For #10 we start out on the south end of the island on Rose Avenue. Built by Reijnen Company, this home sits on a shy acre with good light in a rural area on the sound end.  I felt like this home sold for a great price, with finishes not often seen in a home under $700k.  I like Reijnen’s style with clean lines and tall ceilings, which is why their homes have appeared on my lists in the past.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Torvanger Road on Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge Island Real Estate.


Original List Price $929,000

Sale Price $950,000

Days on Market 7

Date Sold 7/22/13

You may remember #9 from last year.  This home on Torvanger  Road made an appearance on this list, but selling last year for $100k less.  The sellers relocated out of state, so this home was back on the market this year.  Last year it saw multiple offers.  And this year priced over $100k higher it saw multiple offers again.  This year it sold for 102.26% of asking price with a line of disappointed buyers yet again.  As I said before, Torvanger was a special package of charm, land, and privacy.  A package getting harder to replicate, especially under $1 million.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate


Original List Price $776,000

Sale Price $741,000

Days on Market 34

Date Sold 10/2/13

The north end saw a lot of activity last year. This home, taking the #8 spot, is around the corner from Torvanger Road on Sunrise Drive and also a very nice package. This home reminds me of homes found  in coastal Carmel California.  Storybook charm abounds from the woodwork inside and the landscaping outside  to the private trail leading to a sandy beach with the sought after deeded beach access.  Tack on the views of Puget Sound, a guest suite over the garage and this was a perfect match for the buyers.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate


Original List Price $625,000

Sale Price $61o,000

Days on Market 119

Date Sold 9/30/13

For #7 we move to the extreme south end of the island to Douglas Road in Fort Ward.  The gracious design of this home is the brainchild of to Patina Designs.  This home offers an efficient use of space, gorgeous woodwork and fine finishes.  The home, with hand dipped cedar shingles was thoughtfully sited on the lot to capture the light  gorgeous trees surrounding the property.  The builder made a lot of smart decisions, which make this home stand out from the rest.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate.  Old Mill Road.


Original List Price $629,000

Sale Price $629,000

Days on Market 1

Date Sold 6/13/13

For #6 we move mid-island to one of my favorite areas.  This home is on Old Mill Road in the Eagle Harbor/Blakely farmland area.  This home immediately grabs you with its classic curb appeal.  Then add a mini-vineyard, chicken coop and sensible, flexible floor plan and you arrive at a superb package close to schools and the ferry . . . yet a world away from the everyday hustle and bustle. And again, this one has incredible light.  You can understand why this home, priced in the $600’s, went pending in one day.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate. Valley Road on Bainbridge Island


Original List Price $738,000

Sale Price $710,000

Days on Market 28

Date Sold 9/26/13

For #5 we move north again to Rolling Bay and the east side.  This home on Valley Road impressed me from day one with its drop dead gorgeous views of Puget Sound and Seattle.  The home itself is unique and fun.  The quiet, easement road of about five homes, all with the same gorgeous views, is relaxed, beachy and eclectic.  Each time I visited the home I certainly felt like I was on vacation.  And I am sure that is why the buyers snapped it up too.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Hawley Way on Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge Island Real Estate.


Original List Price $798,500

Sale Price $788,500

Days on Market 7

Date Sold 9/9/13

For #4 we move down to to the ferry dock.  And the stellar views continue with this home on Hawley Way.  A turn of the century home on the historic registry, The Morrill Home, with a small cottage in the back is just two blocks from the ferry terminal with stunning views of Eagle Harbor, the coming and going ferry, Seattle, and Mt. Rainier.  The original elements of this home have been lovingly cared for with some smart updates.  But, beyond all the charming and history, there are views from EVERY room of this special home.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Olympus Beach on Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge Island Real Estate.


Original List Price $848,000

Sale Price $840,000

Days on Market 12

Date Sold 10/31/13

For #3 we move to the west side  of the island, near Battle Point Park.  This Olympus Beach Road home has dramatic curb appeal and it sits on a spectacular lot that enjoys great south-west sun on the patio and in the living areas.  The inside spaces are open, yet have cozy window seats and built-ins.  A home for someone who loves modern elements, yet appreciates the warmth of northwest architecture.  The home is down the street from beach access and a short distance to popular Battle Point Park. No surprise this was another home that saw multiple offers.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate. Reitan Road on Bainbridge Island.


Original List Price $1,285,000

Sale Price $1,200,000

Days on Market 10

Date Sold 12/11/13

For #2 we stay on the west side of the island, but move north again to Reitan Road. I remember having the best wood fired pizza from this home’s pizza oven . . . back on a gorgeous sunny day in December.  All while soaking up the best views.  This home sits on Reitan and unless you are headed to a home on this road, you would have little reason to come across this view.  But having the opportunity to witness it in person was a delight.  The nana doors open up the entire family room and create an amazing indoor/outdoor space.  The outdoor pizza oven, guest space and reclaimed redwood timbers mixed into the unique asian architecture kept this a home on the market for a mere 10 days.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate.  Knight Road on Bainbridge Island.


 Original List Price $1,088,000

Sale Price $1,102,000

Days on Market 4

Date Sold 11/13/13

For #1 we stay north but move towards Fay Bainbridge Park.  The north end had a lot of action this year, which is seen on this page.  This home on Knight Road, was built by Jefferson Fine Homes and designed by Architect Peter Brachvogel.  Sited on over three private acres, this home exudes quality craftsmanship inside and out.  Walls of windows, high ceilings, and an open floor plan piqued the interest of many buyers.  Jefferson Fine Homes is known for their well built homes and quality materials like cedar shingles, metal clad windows, and ipe decking.  As the architect, Peter Brachvogel, created thoughtful spaces like a cozy media room set just off the kitchen, a large mudroom/laundry room with built-in lockers, and a remote full guest suite on the main level plus bonus space over the garage.   All elements that  helped this home see multiple offers and close $14k over their asking price.

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.


Spring Arrives on the Heels of a Healthy Quarter

Island Hall on Bainbridge Island by Jen Pells

Spring arrives on Bainbridge Island and the real estate market is in full gear. Island Center Hall on Bainbridge.

Things Are Looking Up. Way Up.

Over the first three months of 2008, 34 homes sold on Bainbridge Island. The next year, 37 sold in the first quarter. By 2012, first-quarter sales rose to 55. How many this year? Eighty. That is 45% higher than last year (which we felt was pretty good at the time). The last time we experienced this amount of volume was in 2005, when we sold 87 homes in the first three months. Condominiums bottomed out in 2009 with five first-quarter sales, and we almost tripled that number with 14 this year.

So are we done? Are we through with the great real estate correction of 2007, 2008, 2009? On the surface, one would surmise this (as confidently as one could after the correction that pretty much obliterated our ability to predict upcoming trends), but it really hasn’t settled in across the board. If we are done, why has the average price of homes sold for the first three months dropped 21%? Even the median price, which is less volatile, has retreated. What gives?

A Slower High End

Our home sales over $1 million have struggled, and those sales have a tremendous impact on our statistics. We sold 12 homes over $1 million in the first three months of 2012, four of which sold for more than $1.5 million. This year, we are at seven sales, only one over $1.5 million. It is difficult to say with authority why one segment of the market might be struggling, but we can say it is at least partially due to low inventory. There are currently 26 homes listed above $1 million (four of which are under contract to be sold). Last year there were 51 listings on April 15, of which 15 were under contract. In 2007, there were 71 listings in mid-April. As it often happens, when the inventory gets low, buyers wait.

Waterfront on Bainbridge Island by Jen Pells

Waterfront and high end homes are trailing in the market right now. Low inventory is one explanation.

The Links Between Sellers, Inventory and Sales

In truth, our numbers might have been even better as our general inventory has been at historic lows all quarter. Where are the sellers? There are a number of reasons for sellers to wait and they usually revolve around price. However, new listings have fared very well in recent months. We saw 131 homes come on the market in the first quarter and only six have been withdrawn. Of the rest, only 44 remain on the market (24% have already closed and 51 are under contract)! If you look at the stat sheet, you see that the distribution is much more balanced along the price ranges (except for the over $1M) than in the past number of years. Even the $800-$1M segment has surged with 13 homes under contract at the time of this writing.

What About Prices

This is a very difficult question to answer with statistics, and needs to be viewed from “indicators” versus hard numbers. Different parts of the market are experiencing different pressures on prices. One indicator is price-per-foot within a price range. In the up-to-$500K range, the average price per foot has increased from $186/ft. in the 1st quarter 2010 to $207/ft. this year. From $400K-$800K, the trend is less conclusive, from $198/ft. in 2010 to $203/ft. this year. One might conclude that the higher the price, the less the appreciation (if any). Other indicators of an upward movement are that fewer deals are failing, there are more multiple offers and homes new to the market are selling. Together, these signs point more to a sellers’ market (which is accompanied by rising prices). All that being said, it will be a long road before we see prices close to our 2007 peak.

Building on Bainbridge Island by Jen Pells

Vacant land can equal more possibilities for buyers not able to find exactly what they want to purchase.

Builder Confidence

Another bright spot is land. We have seen 10 sales this year versus just five last year. All but one was less than $400,000. Building permits issued are up 48% from last year! Developers are still very cautious. Financing for speculative houses is extremely tough (you might say almost non-existent). At current price levels, there is considerable risk to re-coup costs (to say nothing of making a profit). Nevertheless, builders are more confident and active.

Bainbridge Island Sales data graph q1 2013

An All-Around Good Start to the Year

Even with our lower inventory, one has to view our first quarter as a success. Other than properties priced over $1 million, the market has been brisk and generally balanced. We are seeing an influx of new people to the island (last year 55% of all buyers came from off-island) in all price ranges, which improves our diversity. And in all honesty, we cannot see too many clouds on the (at least short-term) horizon! Blossoms are here and even the sun is showing its face. Without a doubt, Bainbridge is one the best places in the world to enjoy the spring!


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