Happy New Year!

The 2019 market is starting to wake up after its short winter rest, which is always my cue to compose one of my favorite blog posts, the list of my top 10 homes on the island for 2018. Last year 398 homes sold on the island – down a bit from the busy 439 we saw sell in 2017, but up from 369 in 2016. 2018 was my best year yet in real estate, so it indeed felt busy in my world.

This is my 11th list (see all the lists here) and again, these are homes that resonated with me personally when I toured them last year.  I am not one to live in or love a cookie-cutter home, so charm and even quirkiness get my attention.  In 2018 we continued to see spec-built homes come onto our market.  As DR Horton sold out, two other neighborhoods took their place, including one by Quadrant who has entered into our Bainbridge Market for the first time.  For now, let’s take a tour around the island and through the selling season of last year.

 

#10 | Island Center Road NE

#10

Original List Price $710,000

Sale Price $720,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 6/1/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #10 we start mid-island on a beautiful piece of property on Island Center Road. This home and property were a fabulous package.  The home is cozy at just under 1600 square feet and colorful with warm wood and beautiful, practical built-ins. I loved the barn door too. High quality materials were used throughout the home, which overlooked a bucolic two-acre property with tucked off a main road.  I am a big fan of metal garden artwork and this property had a nice collection mixed in the gardens and fruit trees. The home also had a sweet guest space over the garage.  It was no surprise this well-priced home and property, all abloom in June, saw multiple offers.

 

#9 | Manitou Beach Drive NE

#9

Original List Price $825,000

Sale Price $865,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 7

Date Sold 5/25/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #9 we move east to a view home on Manitou Beach Drive. This is another cozy home, but with a completely different vibe. This older home built in 1920 and just under 1900 square feet was the cozy beach cottage many buyers were looking for last summer.  Off Murden Cove, this home has nice views of the water plus a charming yard and garden too.  Nice updates were done through the home over the years, but the original charm remained.  Many of the homes in the Murden Cove area have views, but are also walkable to the popular Rolling Bay hub, a nice combination that makes it a popular choice for buyers.  Again, I was not surprised to see this sweet cottage receive multiple offers last May.

 

#8 | Cherry Orchard Lane

#8

Original List Price $850,000

Sale Price $900,000

Days on Market –  2

Date Sold 3/7/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #8 we stay mid-island and move a bit west to a modern home on a large lot on Cherry Orchard Lane. This home sold twice in one year, but the last sellers made some nice changes, including paint inside and out.  This is a rare larger, cleared,  flat lot, close-in to town. The property also connected to Strawberry Hill Park.  Custom-built, the home has a bit of a modern flair, an open floorplan and a main-floor master.  I really like Cherry Orchard Lane, as it is one of the first streets as you head out of town where you begin to see larger parcels like this one at over two acres.  Smaller homes (2,100 square feet) on large lots are also rare.  Built in 2010, this newer, custom-built home sold for $50K over asking the first weekend it was on the market.

 

#7 | Fernclff Avenue NE

#7

Original List Price $1,098,000

Sale Price $1,100,000

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 3/8/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

Staying central we move east again for #7 to this charming cedar-shingled home on Ferncliff Avenue. I listed this home last winter and this is such an easy home to live in and love.  My clients were so sad that they outgrew this home as the charm and high quality craftsmanship spilt out from each and every corner. Solid wood doors, box-beam ceilings, a clawfoot tub. This home is also close to the ferry, across the street from beach access and has peak-a-boo views of the Sound.  I fell for this kitchen, with a built-in breakfast booth, apron sink, large island and TWO pantries.  Like I said, this was a home that was easy to live in and love and hard for my clients to leave – although they indeed moved into a another very sweet home. This homes sold for above full price last March.

 

#6 | Tiffany Meadows Drive NE

#6

Original List Price $1,198,000

Sale Price $1,198,000

Days on Market – 83

Date Sold 5/22/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

Mid-island is the theme for this list as we move closer into the Wing Point Neighborhood for #6. This is another cedar-shingled home, but of a completely different style.  This homes was designed by local architect Jim Cutler.  This three-level home has walls of windows and sits right on the Wing Point Golf Course.  I like how they used half walls to unify the spaces. The unique style and high-end finishes set this home apart from the more traditional homes in this neighborhood. I also loved that it appears to be floating above the golf course and neighboring pond and it is also tucked off the main road.  But what I loved the most were the  multiple decks around the house off the main living spaces – throughout the day you could enjoy eastern and western sun. This home sold for full price last May.

 

#5 | NE Setting Sun Lane

#5

Original List Price $1,498,000

Sale Price $1,550,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 5/31/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

Now for #5 we move north and west to the lovely home on Setting Sun Lane. This home was built by one of my favorite builders, Rick Debarros. I believe this was the last home Rick built on the island before he retired and moved out of state.  His construction was high quality, the finish choices are timeless and the floorplans he built were spot on for practicality with a nice balance between wide open spaces and separate rooms.  He understood the need for mud-rooms (especial in the PNW), large laundry rooms and bonus rooms.  The home sits on a large one-acre west-facing lot right across the street from popular Battlepoint Park.  This home resonated with many buyers last spring and saw multiple offers in May.

 

#4 | Edgecombe Place NE

#4

Original List Price $1,575,000

Sale Price $1,605,000

Days on Market – 3

Date Sold 6/1/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

We quickly move back closer to town with this view home coming in at #4 on Edgecombe Lane. This home was a terrific package.  It was remodeled by Smallwood Construction in 2011 and very well done.  The home and property have an estate-like feel with a gorgeous front yard with views on the Sound and Seattle and a park-like lawn in the back yard.  Across the street, the neighborhood shares private beach access.  Inside the home were a nice balance of rooms with tall vaulted ceilings and smaller rooms with warm wood built-ins and a cozy feel.  Many view homes orient one direction, but the fabulous thing about this home was the yard and setting were striking all around the home.  One lucky buyer snapped this home up the first weekend with an over-asking offer.

 

#3 | NE Gordon Drive

#3

Original List Price $1,950,000

Sale Price $1,885,000

Days on Market – 46

Date Sold 11/30/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #3 we move about as far north as you can go to Gordon Drive. This home is another wonderful package.  Waterfront, dock, acreage, plus a charming, modern home with fun hobby spaces.  This north-end beach house has a lot of what waterfront buyers are looking for.  Many waterfront homes are on small lots. The privacy here with a large enough lot to garden and have fruit trees is hard to find.  This waterfront home on 200 bulkheaded feet also has a dock.  Inside, I loved the impressive front door, all-glass entry hall, and exposed beams throughout.  The one-level home originally built in 1939 had been added onto nicely by the current, longtime owners.  Some lucky buyers have moved into a classic, impressive Bainbridge Package.

 

#2 | Fletcher Landing NE

#2

Original List Price $1,950,000

Sale Price $1,950,000

Days on Market – 8

Date Sold 8/17/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

Bouncing back to mid-island again we find ourselves on Fletcher Landing for #2. Fletcher Landing is a bit of a hidden gem on the island.  Tucked in off the open water, the bay here is tranquil, easy water to live on and play on. I loved the mid-modern vibe of this house and the location on the bay sites it well for impressive Olympic Mountain Views.  Another home with a dock, and additional hobby/studio spaces.  The sleek, modern kitchen overlooks the water and the large, covered deck is fantastic to enjoy the outdoors all year round. The front court-yard gives the homes a special, private feel as you enter.  I was not surprised his home did not last long on the market, seeing a full-price offer the first week.

 

#1 | NE Country Club Road

#1

Original List Price $2,300,000

Sale Price $2,100,000

Days on Market – 17

Date Sold 12/10/2018

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

The south-end makes a rare appearance for #1 as we head into the gated community of Country Club Road for the coveted top spot. It is rare when one of the 18 homes comes on the market in the Seattle County Club Neighborhood on Bainbridge Island. So, when they do, most agents, including myself, make sure we go tour them. They are always a visual feast.  This home had never been on the market before and much of it was in original 1914 condition. This 6,200 square foot home has an amazing view due-south off Restoration Point.  Architect Carl Gould (founder of the Architecture School at the University of Washington) knew what he was doing when he sited this home to take advantage of southern sun, Rich Passage and Mt. Rainer views.  The home itself has amazing period details like a butler’s kitchen/pantry, massive amounts of clear grain fir trim, clawfoot tubs, and grand decks, both covered and uncovered, overlooking the impressive open waters and rustic beach down below.  Walking through the home this is certainly one where you wished the walls could talk. I am sure this home saw some superb summer parties in its day. This home, which requires county club approval, and currently has dues of $1,800 a month sold for $2.1M after 17 days on the market.

 

Below is a mapping of the homes on my list. We seemed to have very little activity on the south-end last year and much more central and north – my list seems to express that.

I consider it an honor and privledge to tour so many unique and special homes. To get a feel of the homes I personally enjoy touring and see all eleven of my annual lists in one place, click here.  Have a fun virtual tour of beautiful homes on our island.

   It will be interesting to see how the 2019 market unfolds. Here’s to more, charming and unique homes. I look forward to seeing you out there.

 

 

 

 

 

This rare, larger three bedroom townhouse with recent updates is a terrific package. In-town living with modern finishes AND three bedrooms, all for under $450,000.  I will be open Saturday and Sunday to show off this sweet townhome.  When you are in Winslow this weekend, come take a look.  The Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market is on Saturday!

Open Houses:

Saturday, April 14th from 1-4pm

Sunday, April 15th from 1-4pm

Welcome to Winslow Park Townhomes.

Two level townhome with three larger bedrooms and a one car attached garage.

Fabulous updates in the kitchen, baths and all throughout the home.

Dining area and eat-in kitchen.

Spacious and open living area with cozy wood stove.

New, south facing back deck.

Large master bedroom with walk-in closet.

Plus two more bedrooms.

Gorgeous, updated bathroom with subway tile and quartz counter.

And a community pool.  Summer is right around the corner.

Details about the home:

  • 1,360 square feet
  • 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms
  • Attached, one car garage
  • Private, south facing back deck on main level
  • Fabulous updates including kitchen, baths, carpet, paint, trim, doors, and fixtures
  • Vaulted ceilings and ceiling fans and updated lighting
  • Community open space and pool
  • Walking distance to Winslow and ferry – in the heart of all the action
  • HOA dues = $517 – no ongoing assessment – many recent complex updates

Light, bright 3 bedroom townhome in the heart of Winslow with easy access to ferry. Thoughtfully remodeled kitchen with new white wood cabinetry, quartz counters, subway tile and ss appliances. Modern updates throughout home include, crisp paint, new doors/trim, light fixtures and carpeting. Updated half bath downstairs and 3 spacious bedrooms up with another large, fully updated bath. Cozy wood fireplace plus a sunny back deck. Private, attached garage. Community pool, open space and rec room.

Click here to see the full Windermere listing details.

 

Celebrating a New Year

Fort Ward on Bainbridge Island by Jen Pells Realtor

A Look Back

As we welcome a new year, we explore some of the dynamics that played out while we marched through the 2017 cal- endar. Our market saw a decline in the number of homes sold between 2013 and the start of 2017, despite healthy buyer demand. In each of those years, we identified lack of inventory as the cause of this phenomenon. One thing will always be true in real estate: Buyers need choices. And in the midst of these several years of limited inventory, buyers learned to become wary. We hadn’t moved far enough past the economically challenging years between 2007 to 2011 for people to feel confident that they wouldn’t get caught in another correction. Many buyers were still not comfortable stretching their budgets to get what they wanted. However, although we once again struggled with inventory in 2017, we also saw a shift in buyer confidence and people were willing to spend more to get what they wanted. The result was an 18% increase in the number of homes sold last year. There were 435 home sales in 2017 – the first time we’ve seen more than 430 sold on the island in any year since 2005’s 442 sales. (The low was 187 in 2008).

Other Factors to Consider

Even with an uptick in sales, we are not experiencing the same craziness as our Seattle neighbors. Our average cumulative days on market (the measure of how quickly homes are selling) was 52, well more than double Seattle Metro’s 20-day average. Our average price increased by a healthy, but not record-breaking, 10.7%, compared to Seattle’s 17%. (The record was set at 26.74% in 1990, followed by 21.5% in 2005.) There were many homes that experienced substantial price reductions and others that failed to sell at the sellers’ desired numbers. But when homes were properly priced and presented, buyers were willing to act when they found the homes that spoke to them, even if it meant spending more than they originally anticipated. This willingness can only come from a place of confidence that the value is there and the investment is sound. We were assisted by strong buyers from Seattle and California, a rising stock market, smooth financing and appraising with rates that have remained “comfortable,” even with a rising prime rate.

Real Estate for Sale on Bainbridge Island Jen Pells RealtorThe View from the “Top”

A prime beneficiary of this strong market was our “upper end.” There was a 44.6% increase in sales of homes over a million dollars and sales doubled for homes over $1.5M (133 total with 52 over $1.5M). Home sales increased 49% in the $800-$1M range. On the flip side, our lower-priced homes became more scarce and sales of homes priced less than $600K decreased 34.7% from last year. This overall shift in the market pushed our median price up more than the average (>13%) and our condominium market was affected by these market forces (more on that in a minute). It also illustrates our trend away from affordability and diversity. We struggled with this in the early- to mid-2000s. But as a result of the 2007-2011 “correction,” we welcomed a more diverse pool of buyers. As our market strengthens, community leaders should be mindful of a tilt toward homogeneity.

Regarding Condos and Land

Our condominium marketplace benefited from these improved conditions in a couple of ways. The number of sales grew more than 21% (from 104 in 2016 to 126 in 2017) and the median price jumped 31% (from $400,750 to $525,000). Even though sharply higher, the median price of $525K was substantially below the 2016 single home median of $838,000. Consequently, we saw more individuals and families coming to the condominium market because they wanted to be on the island but couldn’t afford a house. Condo sales were also helped by the strong upper-end residential market. There are a lot of people who have been waiting on the sidelines for their homes to get to a price point where they felt comfortable selling and downsizing to smaller, low- or no-maintenance hous- ing, i.e. condominiums. Projects like The Grow Community, Residences at Pleasant Beach and The Roost all experienced strong sales last year as they brought condominiums to the market. “Development” is often thought of as a blight to a community, but one needs to re- member that developments often bring products to markets that are not only wanted, but also needed. Desirable communities such as Bainbridge will always experience growth pressure in times of economic strength. And if you cannot expand your supply, the result is ever-increasing prices and stratification. The trick is to develop wisely. Bainbridge has been pretty successful in that arena by concentrat- ing density in development centers (Winslow, Lynwood Center and Rolling Bay). The only sector of our market that struggled last year was raw land. This category was hampered by a lack of good choices, financing difficulties, hurdles at the city level and contractors who are busy and experiencing rapid cost escalations.

Bainbridge Island Real Estate Jen Pells

On the Horizon

It is hard to find any economist predicting a substantial slowdown in our area’s economy or real estate in the near term. That is not to say that there aren’t clouds. The new federal tax law is not beneficial to a higher-end market like ours; financing inter- est and property tax deductions will be more limited. The prime interest rate will undoubtedly rise and even though mortgage rates have been largely insulated from the Fed’s actions, rates will probably go up but stay below 4.5%. Our new Bainbridge Island City Council has already put a moratorium on new construction, including some single family residences. But we hope these factors will only act as “checks” that will keep the market from heating up too much without sapping its strength. In the midst of all this activity, one thing re- mains constant: Bainbridge Island is a great place to live.

Bainbridge Island Housing Market 2017

 

Bainbridge Island Real Estate MarketOur Bainbridge Island Real Estate Market has seen impressive price increases in 2015. Now, as we look ahead to next year, we are all wondering what 2016 will look like. Will prices continue to go up?  Will interest rates go up and slow down price increases?   Click here to read the 3rd Quarter Report by Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner for his educated insight.

 

Real estate market on bainbridge island

Waiting for the Bloom

The inventory bloom, that is.  Last year’s 1st Quarter in Review highlighted the increase in the number of homes sold during that quarter over the same period in the previous year. We probably could have made a similar claim this year because the demand was there, but the number of homes sold actually dropped this year compared to last. (We sold 69 homes in the first quarter of 2014 versus 80 in 2013 – a 14% drop). The reason? Low inventory. You have probably been hearing this (at least if you have been listening to us), so we thought we would take this opportunity to explore it in a bit more detail, as inventory numbers have been defining our market in recent quarters.

The Power of Buyers

Buyers were precious commodities in 2008, ‘09, ‘10 and even 2011. The growing pool of buyers was concentrated at both ends of the market during 2012, leaving the middle of the market languishing. This improved in 2013, creating a more balanced and, for lack of a better word, healthy market. As “normalcy” continued to assert itself after our recession, the pool of buyers continued to grow but the number of homes coming on the market did not grow along with it. Buyers today are smart, well informed and pretty disciplined in going after (which sometimes means waiting for) what they want. They are willing to rent or stay where they are until the type of home they want comes onto the market. When they see it they move – quickly. There have been instances where we get five new listings in a week and four of those five are sold two weeks later. The problem: we would normally see ten new listings in a typical week, so the competition among those motivated buyers is fiercer than usual.

Limited Availability

If you look at the bottom line of the stats, you see the “available” inventory. These are our active listings; the buyers’ cu rrent choices. Keep in mind this is the total number available from $0 to $10,000,000 and includes “pre-sales” – homes not even built yet! With a mere 73 available listings over all price ranges, buyers do not have many choices. Even at the market peak of 2006, there were 93 homes available in the first quarter (27% more than today).

Real estate market on bainbridge islandChickens, Eggs & Pricing

Sellers continue to play a crucial role when it comes to inventory, because once they sell they enter the buyer pool and find themselves facing the same limited options as all other buyers. We hear clients ask over and over again, “If I sell, where will I go?” This so-called “chicken and egg” phenomenon is real. Good real estate agents have strategies to mitigate this problem (for example, this is a good market for contingent sales), but it is a stumbling block for many. Also, many people want to downsize and there simply aren’t many homes on the island that meet the requirements of people looking for homes they can live in through some of the transitions they will be facing in the foreseeable future. So pricing strategies are as important as ever. Prices are recovering rapidly from their recession-era lows, but are still far from the peaks we saw in 2006 and 2007 (and even into 2008). People who bought Bainbridge properties between 20 05 and 2008 may very well still be upside down. If they aggressively financed their purchases, taking a paper loss may not even be an option as they may be “short” (with debt that exceeds current value). Other owners are simply waiting for the prices, and their equity, to go back up.

Time Will Help

As we’ve seen with most market eras, time will correct many of these challenges. Prices are going up at a healthy pace and will lure more sellers back to the market. More builders are re-entering the market and some already have mature buyers in mind. The risks, however, are still real. The interest rates may go up more (they are already 1-1.5% higher than their lowest levels) and rising prices may begin to shut certain buyers out. One of the undeniable benefits of our real estate correction was that Bainbridge became affordable to families once again; rising prices may gradually force them back out. It is a very interesting, complicated and exciting time, depending on where one is in the market.

Condos & LandReal estate market on bainbridge island

The condominium market is also very interesting right now. There were 21 sales in the first quarter, up 40% from last year’s 15. Of those 21, 17 were below $500,000 and four were over $1M with nothing in between. Land sales are up 30% from last year and developers are actively looking for potential sites.

Beyond Bainbridge

What’s going on in our neighboring markets? As our market trends usually lag behind Seattle’s, North Kitsap traditionally lags behind us. We’re pleased to report that North Kitsap had a strong first quarter, with sales up 12.5%. Their average price was positive although me-dian price was down 3.5% (2014 first quarter median price was $262,750 versus the 2013 median price of $271,900). That being said, they are currently experiencing a predominately “seller’s market,” which will help bring price points up. So things are getting exciting and looking encouraging throughout the region.

Bainbridge Island Real Estate Market

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