Bainbridge Island Real Estate Jen Pells Windermere Bainbridge

That Was Fast

Today much of our world (the island) went back to work and school after the two week winter holiday season.  We put the 2016 real estate market to bed only last week and jumped into the 2017 market today at out first office meeting.  Last year seemed fast and furious, although as you can see below the volume of sales, overall, was on par, if not slightly less than 2015.  The lower inventory with the steady stream of buyers meant more multiple offer situations, hence the frenzy I am still feeling from 2016.

More Money Moving to the Island

Many buyers were downsizing out of higher priced markets (California, Vancouver BC, Manhattan, even Bellevue) into our island’s luxury homes, sometimes at half the price.  The fact that the Pacific Northwest and Bainbridge Island, specifically, is still a relative bargain over places like California will keep the market going strong into 2017, I predict.

Land Under Construction

Land volume was down in 2016, but several large parcels acquired in 2015 are now being developed into neighborhoods like the DR Horton neighborhoods on Wyatt and Weaver. Those developments will help relieve the inventory shortage a bit.

Bainbridge Island Real Estate Jen Pells Windermere BainbridgeChart Your Own Course

The market is always changing.  Whether you are a buyer or seller there are strategies to consider for your success.  We are a very seasonal market (most activity in the summer). Depending on your goal knowing the ins and outs of timing and preparation as you enter the market (as buyer or seller) can translate into thousands of dollars saved or earned. Being a buyer or seller in the slower shoulder market can be advatageous for some, although waiting until peak summer market could be better for others.   If you are thinking about jumping into the market in 2017, let’s chat.



2016 Real Estate in Numbers


369  total single family home sales (378 in 2015)


104 condo sales (90 in 2015)


169 sales under $700,000 sales price (205 in 2015)


94 sales over $1M sales price (72 in 2015)


26 sales over $1.5M sales price (25 in 2015)


$5,970,000 top home sales price ($3,025,000 in 2015)


$740,000 median home sales price ($666,000 in 2015)


$177,000 lowest home sales price ($66,000 in 2015)


2,744 sq ft average size of homes sold (2,774 in 2015)


49 pieces of land sold (68 in 2015)


$2,500,000 top land sales price ($3,360,000 in 2015)


$222,000 median land sales price ($235,000 in 2015)


$20,000 lowest land sales price ($60,000 in 2015)


2.62 acres average size of lots sold (1.85 in 2015)

All data taken from the NWMLS as of 1/3/2017.

Spring 2012 Sales on Bainbridge Island

Where I 'had' to hang out one day this past week. This will soon be the front yard of one of my clients. Yes, that is a ferry in the background.

Things have been sort of crazy in my world.  2006 crazy.  Crazy like multiple offers and 70 hour work weeks.  Crazy like I had four inspections this week, submitted three offers  – all three of which were multiple offer situations and I had two families in from out of state shopping and buying houses.  And, this kind of busy is all over my office, all over the island.  Inventory is lower than we’ve seen in the past three years and the good inventory is even lower and lasts days or mere hours.  Things are moving fast.  All of a sudden buyers are sitting up and sensing what is going on.

What is going on?  And, what does it all mean?

1st – Why?

  • Low Interest rates
  • Consumer confidence/ relatively stable stock market
  • Strong market in Seattle

2nd – How strong?

  • 83 homes under contract on May 1st, last time we saw 80 homes under contract was May 30, 2006 (32%)
  • 28% of the condominiums listed are under contract
  • Pendings over $500K are a lot stronger

3rd – Where?

  • Many sections of Seattle (eg. Ballard, North Seattle, University District, Capital Hill) – Very Strong
  • Tacoma – Fairly Strong
  • Gig Harbor – Strong
  • North Kitsap – Okay

“Months of inventory” numbers are an indication of market activity. The Seattle market is at 2.2 months of inventory and Bainbridge Island is at 7 months of inventory.

Does this mean prices are going up?

The overall market prices will show an increase because the sales have occurred over a broader price range than in the past couple years where the majority of sales were occurring in the lower half of the market (below $500,000). Upward pressure for any one price range or home type will still depend on the competition in that segment. General statistics only show broad trends, you have to drill down to the “micro market” for individual homes or condominiums.

Inventory levels are at or above average for this time of year so there is not an obvious lack of supply (as in Seattle) to push prices up. Inventory May 1st there were 180 active listings, a year ago 196, two years it was 211. For perspective, a year of low inventory was 2006, when there were 111 active listings the beginning of May. Many homes that have sold, especially in the upper price ranges, have been on the market for a period of time and the sale occurred after the price became more in line with buyer expectations (buyers perceived it as a good value).

Will it continue?

We have had spurts of strength before, only to have a slowdown. This wave has occurred on the heels of a stable 1st quarter which connotes a strength we have not seen during this very long correction. Time will obviously tell, but indications are positive. If Seattle continues to thrive, chances are we will also benefit. This strength is not Puget Sound wide, so it would be difficult to make any general statements, but this is a very positive step toward stability and future growth.


Bainbridge Island Real Estate | 2012 | Jen Pells

The Big Picture on Bainbridge Island. The tide it is a changing.

The Big Picture

If you consider only the number of homes (or condos) that sold during the first quarter of this year, your initial reaction would probably be, “Ho hum.” Look carefully, though, and you will see some interesting things. If you include what is happening now, in mid-April, you might get even more intrigued.

There were 55 homes sales in the first quarter this year, compared to 56 last year, which indicates stability more than improvement. Nonetheless, these are good numbers compared to 2008 (when there were only 34 sales) and 2009 (with 37 sales). Condos dropped from 19 sales in 2011 to 12 this year.

So far, not a lot to get excited about. But when we look at the median price, we had a 6.2% increase. Our first quarter median price has been declining steadily since its peak in 2008 – until this year. When you look at the distribution of the sales, the median increase becomes clear. Sales over $800K were up 320% from last year. In all of 2011, there were 24 sales over $1 million; this year we have already had 12 just in the first quarter. (I cannot help but point out Windermere Bainbridge was involved in 10 of those 12 sales and Windermere represented 50% of the parties involved.)

Bainbridge Island Real Estate | 2012 | Jen Pells

The stats are looking up, especially in the over million dollar market.

Stats Tell a Positive Story

On March 30th, there were only 59 homes under contract. By April 5th, there were 74 homes under contract. By April 10th, there were 80. Of those 80, 22 are over $800K and 13 over $1 million. We have not seen these kinds of numbers in several years. Not only are the numbers good, they have grown quickly this month.

Over the past five years, we have had strong individual quarters like the first quarter just ended. But we could not sustain the momentum, and poor performance followed. In 2011, the first quarter was up 14% but then dropped 14% in the second quarter (from the previous year). Our market has gone up and down on an almost quarterly basis while prices have steadily decreased. Now we see a strong first quarter, prices inching higher and a very strong start to the second quarter. These are all positive indicators. Optimism is beginning to creep in, but it will take more time for many of us to feel comfortable making any proclamations. We’ve been lured by the sirens before only to find ourselves on the rocks.


Many folks are doing spring cleaning and home maintenance this time of
 year. Yes, locals, ignore the rain outside today, it IS spring.  I keep a 
list of professionals I work with and you might find their names and numbers 
helpful as you work through your own ‘To Do List.’ Their info is here in this post, but the same info also resides on my website under the COMMUNITY tab, here.  I personally, or my clients, have used 
these local professionals before, during or after a sale.  Although I 
recommend these professionals, I do not guarantee their performance and 
suggest you research their credentials.


Kelly MacDonald – 206. 780.1912

Air Duct Cleaning

Jerry’s Air Duct Cleaning – 360.697.1072

Appliance Repair

Schmidt’s Home Appliances – 206.842.0349


Michael Graham – 206.842.1720

Carver Appraisal – 360.981.6248

Architect and Builder

Bill Corbin Construction- 206.391.7960

Fairbank Construction – 206.842.9217

Red Truck Construction | Preston Todd – 206.842.5600

Robert Moore | Architect – 206.371.5191

Attorney at Law

Hayes Gori PLLC – 206.842.6462


Kitchen Design Group – 360.662.1891


Season’s of Thyme – 206.855.0689

Metro Market Catering – 206.842.8524

Carpet Cleaning

RH Koller – 206.842.5671

Cascade Carpets – 206.842.8131

Chimney Sweep

John Voigt – 360.769.2344

NW Chimney Service – 206.842.6002

Cleaner (House)

Kasey Ritualo – 206.920.5033


Superior Slabjacking Inc. – 866.455.0823

Critter Control

Action Pest Control – 206.780.4222


Virginia Mason | Dr. Catherine Edwards  – 206.842.5632

Doctor’s Clinic | Dr. Sara Rice  – 206.855.7700

Bainbridge Pediatrics | Dr. Linda Warren or Dr. Fred Walters – 206.780.5437


Dr. Thomas Knight DDS – 206.842.3764

Dr. Nick Thompson DDS – 206.842.4794

Dr. Sheldon and Dr. Okunami | Orthodontists – 206.842.5592


Progressive Electric – 206.387.0586

Eklund Electric – 206.842.0412

Fence Building and Repair

Scott Strickland – 360.620.6265


Mills Interiors | Mike Mills – 206.842.2829

Salisbury Woodworking – 206.842.9500


Flowering Around – 206.842.0620


Northwest Gutters – 360.830.4938

Handy Person

Help is on the Way | Sondra Kay – 206.498.0086

Four Seasons Handyman – 360.710.2879

Heating & Air

Advanced Heat & Cool – 360.415.9335

Home Inspector

Cris Ugles – 206.842.1514

Dylan Chalk – 206.842.3739

Insulation/Crawl Space Work

Clean Crawls – 866-651-1700

Insurance Agent

American Family Insurance – 360.697.6700

Interior Design & Staging

Kim McCall Design – 206.310.1679


Lemolo Grounds – 360.638.0230

Lupe’s Lawn Care- 206.369.2913

Landscape Design

The PlantsWoman Design – 206.842.2453

Danson’s Landscaping – 360.692.1942


Eagle Home Mortgage | Linda Sutherland – 206.780.2991

Windermere Mortgage | Betty Hugel – 360.990.2666


Abracadabra Locksmithing – 206.842.4470

Milk Delivery

Smith Brother’s Milk – 800.639.6455


Hill Moving – 206.842.6715

United – 206.344.0147

Notary Public

Mobile Notary | Allison Garrison – 206.790.8825


The Honest Painter | Thomas Moore – 360.598.6699

Kitsap Brothers – 206.334.8434


Swift Plumbing – 206.842.9592


Kitsap Propane – 360.638.1313

Propane Northwest – 360.698.1605

Property Management

Evergreen Property Management – 206.842.4975


Hope Roofing – 360.779.9912

Hanley Roofing & Construction – 206.842.4321

Scott’s Home & Roof – 360.297.7524


Kitsap Septic Pumping – 360.871.5258

Septic Design and Hardscaping and Drainage

JP Landworks | Josh Pippinger – 206.714.8598


Tile Cleaning & Restoration – 360.731.1735


Olympic Glass – 206.842.7626

Allan Windows – 360.598.3001

Window Coverings

Duck Blinds – 206.780.9905

A Well Dressed Window – 206.780.3213

Window Washer

A&E Windows – 206.842.7090

Move-in/Move-out Utilities

Bainbridge Disposal – 206.842.4882

Comcast Cable – 877.824.2288

Direct TV – 800.201.2979

QWest Phone/Cable – 800.244.1111

Puget Sound Energy – 888.225.5773

On March 29, 2012, in Community, Moving, Real Estate Business, Shopping, by

Who Are My Buyers?

I am well aware that although my website has a lot of information about Bainbridge, it also has a lot of information about me – blah, blah, blah . . . I think my life is pretty darn normal, but I hope it gives you the window into life on Bainbridge you are looking for.  That is the basic goal of this blog, to provide the vista into Bainbridge Island life I could not find when I was researching Bainbridge from my laptop in California.

But, after a flurry of recent closings this summer and fall, I started thinking about the similarities among many of my buyers. Many of my buyers come from my website and feel like they know me a little bit before we even meet.  That is a great thing.

But as someone who might be considering buying yourself, you might be interested to know what type of folks I work with and where they come from.

Folks riding the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge.

Folks riding the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge.

Out of State Families

This category makes up the majority of my buyers. Some I start working with before they step foot on the island, others have been here renting for a few months.  My perspective on relocating, the fact that I have young kids in school and that I am primarily a buyer’s agent appeals to them.  Most of these buyers are second time buyers and most of them have purposely chosen Bainbridge and then looked for a job to get them here. Most of the families have at least one adult who commutes to Seattle via ferry on a regular basis.  Most have looked at the East Side of Seattle as a housing option, but turned to Bainbridge for a smaller community, yet a strong school system.  Many of these folks have come from California, southern and northern, a few have been from southern states and a number are from back east.  A handful have been from Canada.  Some folks have bought in neighborhoods in town and others have opted to purchase a home on an acre or so outside of town.  Most folks have looked for this to be a 5-10 year home. As prices have declined, more of these buyers are first-time buyers, but the majority coming to Bainbridge are not.

Families from Seattle

More and more I am working with families who have lived in Seattle for 5-10 years.  Most have children just starting school and although they have loved living in Seattle, they aren’t excited about the Seattle School District.  They want to keep their current job and look to Bainbridge for the ferry commute and a place where they can buy a home and get a little more space, both inside and outside.  Most of these folks have owned homes in Seattle and hope to stay in their Bainbridge purchase for at least ten years.

Moving to Bainbridge Island - Jen Pells

Bainbridge schools continually earn high marks.Couples from Seattle

Couples from Seattle

Bainbridge is not urban Seattle.  Where the fast paced urban life is fun for some, it is exactly what some other couples are looking to escape. These couples are typically buying smaller homes (under 2,000 square feet) on lots one acre or larger.  They are planting gardens and raising chickens. They love the trails and the peace and quiet of Bainbridge.  For most of these folks this is not a first purchase and most commute to Seattle for work.

Buying a home on Bainbridge Island - Jen Pells

Second homes continue to be popular on Bainbridge.

The Couple Retiring or Buying a Second Home

Again, ‘purposely choosing Bainbridge’ is a theme here. Many couples have looked  forward to moving to Bainbridge after they retire. Many of these folks are downsizing from larger, maybe family homes into smaller homes, town homes or condos in Winslow. ‘Simplify’ is a word I hear a lot from these clients.  They are happy to not take care of a yard and love being able to walk into town to catch the ferry, shop for groceries, or grab a cup of coffee with a friend.

Buying on Bainbridge - Jen Pells

Investors are out looking AND buying.


And lastly, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am working with investors.  These folks are purchasing homes to rent for a ten year horizon.  Investors aren’t sitting back waiting anymore.  They are acting.  The rental horizon for the next ten years is solid and many investors are buying with cash and calculating that their income stream is better than the stock market.  Many of these clients are on the island, but a few have come to me from my website too.  All of these folks own one or two homes, but are looking for investment rental income. Newer homes in town and near the ferry are appealing, as are condos and town homes.  And . . builders are slowly starting to ask about and look into buying vacant land, considering subdividing land and building spec houses.  A good sign of things to come.