Bainbridge Island Homes for Sale - Jen Pells Real Estate

Checking the Thermometer

No, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. It has just shifted from clouds skittering past to a more mellow and peaceful sky. Every day, we hear news about the cooling real estate market but it’s important to consider all the factors that go into those reports. Yes, our market has chilled slightly from its previously overheated state (although we never reached the same sizzle as the Seattle market) and has settled into what might be described as a strong normal market. The business section also contains reports of ongoing job growth in the Seattle area, especially in the well-paid tech industries. Concurrently, when Seattle’s transportation woes and other urban issues are taken into consideration, the demand for Bainbridge homes, especially for families, will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

Crunching the Numbers

On the whole, most indexes show data that support a steady market in the coming months. If we isolate the third quarter and look at sales, the number of homes sold only dropped 4.4% from 2017 (137 in 2017 and 131 in 2018). In that same period of time, the median price of homes sold actually went up from $875K to $912K – a 4.2% increase. If we compare the median price of homes sold during the third quarter, they are up 8.8% from the beginning of the year. Additionally, the Cumulative Days on Market (the average time it takes to sell a home) dropped in the third quarter of this year compared to 2017 (44 in 2018 vs. 47 in 2017). The inventory and pending numbers are where elements of the cooldown show themselves. Inventory is actually down in both total inventory and active (total less pending sales), which is contrary to what people are hearing. Pending sales (homes under contract) are weaker at 40 compared to 57 at the same time last year.

Of all the numbers we examine, this 29.8% drop is the one that most directly supports the slowdown assessment. That being said, when we look at all the data at once, we can conclude that the market is pretty darn healthy and strong. Maybe not as feverish as last year, but it’s still a great time to be selling or buying on Bainbridge Island.

Bainbridge Island Homes for Sale - Jen Pells Real Estate

Condominiums and LandBainbridge Island Homes for Sale - Jen Pells Real Estate

The condominium market has softened compared to 2017, with 73 units sold compared to last year’s 89. There seem to be two parts to the condo market: the affordable (less than $500K) and the higher end, which usually includes a good view. The affordable is actually up from last year, with 64 sold versus 45 in 2017. The drop in this segment’s higher end appears attributable to a lack of supply rather than a softness in the market.

Land is also lagging a bit behind 2017. We’ve had 24 sales so far this year compared to 29 in 2017. Buying land with the intention of building is not for the faint of heart these days. Good builders are busy and in short supply and construction prices are still rising. The new zoning rules have also added an element of uncertainty.

Taking Everything into Consideration

It is true that we’re not seeing as many multiple offers as we did last year. Prices have risen but not at the frenzied pace of last year (over 18% from the beginning of 2017 to the end of the 2018 third quarter). Our rental market has also calmed down. Business in our Kitsap County neighbors, Kingston and Poulsbo, is also feeling healthy and strong and they are also benefiting from Seattle’s growth. Buyers do not seem to be particularly concerned with rising interest rates (which, after all, are still quite low), which helps boost their confidence. As we enter the fourth quarter, there are many opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Sellers benefit from the lower inventory (which means less competition) and the typically slower pace of the end-of-the-year market makes sellers view serious buyers with more attention because there simply aren’t as many buyers shopping this time of year.

Bainbridge Island Homes for Sale - Jen Pells Real EstateStaying Nimble

Whenever the market shifts, it’s wise to ensure your strategies have adapted to it. As we tilt toward normalcy, there will be more competition for buyers that sellers need to accommodate. Presentation, realistic pricing and sound advice when offers do arrive are as important as ever. Skillful real estate brokers prove their value in helping both buyers and sellers match their approaches to the existing market. We here for you, wherever you are in your real estate journey.

All in all, life and real estate are good on the island we call home. We wish you health and happiness as we head into the holiday season.

The Seattle Wheel by Jen Pells Windermere Realtor Mid-Way Through a Good Year | A Bustling Springtime

Even though the first quarter of 2017 didn’t start that slowly, it sure felt like it did. But the second quarter was a different story. We were flat-out busy between April and June. Personally, it was my busiest quarter to date. There were 141 home sales on Bainbridge during Q2, which was a 31.8% increase over last year and a 306.5% increase over 2009 (for those of you who remember those days). The only second quarter to get even close in the past decade was 2013, when 125 homes sold.

The Mechanics of Price

Still, a curious piece of data accompanies all those sales: the median price of homes sold in the first half of 2017 increased only 3.6% over the comparable period last year. That is the slowest growth of prices since 2012-2013 (when it actually went down). Here’s why this is significant: even though there is healthy demand, buyers are showing restraint and patience. This, I think is a good thing. The basics of presentation, pricing and negotiating (which really good agents bring to the table) still prevails. You cannot just take a house in any condition, throw a price at it and expect success. This is one of the factors that differentiate Bainbridge from the Seattle market. The flip side is that a major source of new buyers on Bainbridge are frustrated Seattle buyers who are tired of dealing with the city’s growth and market conditions. Our office was involved in 96 Bainbridge transactions during the first six months of this year, 30 of which (or 31.3%) involved Seattle and Eastside buyers. When we expand the circle, we see that out-of-state and Seattle buyers accounted for 51% of our transaction in the first six months.

Goings-on with Condominiums and LandFrom the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry by Jen Pells Windermere Realtor

Our condominium marketplace has had a booming first half of the year. Sales climbed from 38 in 2016 to 50 in 2017 (almost a 32% increase) and the median price rose from $404,500 to $499,250 (up 23.4%), finally surpassing 2007’s previous record of $468,000. It took a decade for these numbers to return, and we’re happy to welcome them back.

Land is now the only remaining soft spot in our market. Sales were down 39% from last year but median prices rose 14%. We attribute this mostly to no new large parcel sales and the possibility that people are intimidated by the new construction process. The planning and designing phases of any new project are exciting, but then come permitting, the search for contractors and all the costs. With quite a bit of new construction coming on line, people seem to be waiting to see what someone else has built.

A Construction Zone

There is quite a bit of new construction on Bainbridge, which means the development topic is getting a lot of attention among locals. Bainbridge Island is such a great place to live that the pressure to grow comes naturally. History tells us that restricting growth will push up prices and eventually affect the market’s diversity. However, growth is a concern to existing resi-dents who fear it will spoil what makes the community desirable in the first place. So the community stance has been to try to limit de-velopment to specific pockets of the island as a way of preserving rural character in general. When we map the major new construction projects, we see that this goal has largely been met:

Winslow: Grow Village, Wyatt Way (DA Horton), Weaver, Bainbridge Landing, Finch, Freestone Landmark (Wing Point), Freestone Ferryview (Wing Point)

Lynwood Center: The Roost, Pleasant Beach

Rolling Bay: Sunrise Square

These projects are all within designated growth areas. Indeed, the only multi-home development out of the growth centers is the 10-home project going in at Torvanger/Sunrise Drive, and that’s being built on a 12-acre parcel.

From the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry by Jen Pells Windermere RealtorFavorable Conditions

How long will this pressurized market last? Anyone who experienced the 2007 market, which was also quite active just before it changed dramatically, is reluctant to make long-term predictions. However, there are some key differ-ences between 2017 and 2007. Today, the lending and banking environments are far healthier. Also, job growth is the primary fuel of real estate growth. And our local economy is far stronger now than then. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner had this to say about regional job growth in his Q1 2017 report:

Washington State continues to add jobs at a steady rate. (We) continue to see unemployment fall and I anticipate that we will see this rate drop further as we move through the year. In all, the economy continues to perform at or above average levels and 2017 will be another growth year. 

Ever the Rock

Yes we have growth and new construction, but there is diversity in the construction (family homes, homes ideal for downsizers, and homes close to services). When you drive around the island, you find most of it untouched by new developments. We also have the best parks, hikes, beaches, bays and communities in Puget Sound. Our region’s star is still rising as a great place to live and work and we are one of the premier neighborhoods in it. Growth pressure will continue; it’s up to all of us to work together to ad-dress it in ways that honor the past, present and future of this great place.

 

From the firetower at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island.

I am so thrilled to be sponsoring this fabulous event- the Northwest Newbies Nature Hike.  IslandWood is a true treasure on the island and I love that they open their doors to the public many, many days of the year.  Tomorrow’s hike already has a waitlist, but I am sponsoring another hike in the fall on September 24th too.  Check in with IslandWood in the morning about tomorrow’s numbers or be bold and how up in person ;)  Check out their calendar for special events and Public Site Tours – the next one is July 16th.  Personally, I love their suspension bridge and fire tower – you’ve got to go.

A view looking down through the old firetower at IslandWood.

 

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Start a journey for connecting to your new sense of place.  Your new home is a diverse, ecological treasure just waiting to be discovered.  Let’s take a hike to learn the “Fab Five” native trees, common bird species, and discover all the new sounds, textures and smells of your new home.

We’ll make time to hear about where YOU are from, and how it is different and the same to Western Washington.  Your questions about “what lives here” are highly encouraged.  We can’t wait to meet you, neighbor.  See you on the trails!

  • All ages welcome
  • Please no dogs unless they are a service animal
  • Space is limited for this guided walk!
  • Rain or shine people – we’re in Western Washington!

We appreciate our sponsor of Northwest Newbies – Jen Pells Real Estate!

The amazing suspension bridge at IslandWood.

 

On July 9, 2017, in Activities, Community, Events, Parks, by

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