LEAVES FALL; MARKETS RISE

Bainbridge Real Estate MarketThe Big Picture

In order to paint an accurate portrait of the Bainbridge Island real estate market during this autumn season, it’s important to put it in the context of the broader regional economy. Through that lens, things are looking very good. Estimates for September 2016 through September 2017 indicate an employment increase of 76,100 in Washington. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private sector added 61,400 jobs while the public sector gained an estimated 14,700 jobs over the year. Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner backs that up in his Third Quarter Report, writing, “I maintain my belief that the Washington State economy will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole. Given such a strong expansion, we should also expect solid income growth across Western Washington.”

The Seattle job market continues to be a huge draw for people moving here from across the country and around the world. As the number of residents in the Puget Sound area rises, Bainbridge Island has been and continues to be a viable and attractive residential option. The desirable amenities are obvious: from the rural feel to the vibrant community to the relative ease of a 35-minute commute by ferry versus an hour and a half by vehicle in the Seattle Metro area – just to name a few.

Another factor that affects our market is buyer fatigue. We’re seeing an increase in island buyers who are fed up – after multiple failed attempts to purchase in Seattle, where they may have competed against dozens of other eager bidders – and choosing to look in our direction for alternatives. This very real and frequent market dynamic contributes to the health of our local market.

Bainbridge Real Estate MarketA Positive Price Report

The third quarter saw continued upward pressure on prices. As the chart below shows, we saw near-double-digit price gains in terms of average and median sales prices over the same period last year. This resulted in a dramatic increase in sales activity in the high-end market with a 34% increase in sales between $1 to $1.5 million and a whopping 85% increase in sales over $1.5 million. (The fact that we’ve begun to list sales that exceed $1.5 million as a separate category is solid evidence of our changing market.)

Our price growth has been consistent over the last several years. The strong population and employment numbers mentioned above help to move the market, but low inventory continues to limit buyer choice. In fact, we had a small decrease in the inventory from the third quarter of 2016 (98 homes on the market) to this year’s third quarter inventory of 92. These data points would suggest continued upward price movement, at least in the short term, that’s complementing a gradual increase in residential sales in recent months.

Keeping Things in CheckBainbridge Real Estate Market

As is true in any transitioning market, we need to look at things from every angle. Even given all the positive signs summarized here, sellers should not assume that they can sell their homes in only a matter of days, in any condition and at whatever high price they set. This simply is not the case. Yes, we are still in a seller’s market, with 2.4 months of limited inventory. However, realistic expectations are critical. While we do still experience multiple-offer scenarios, those have become less prevalent over the course of the year. Instead, we have experienced more price reductions as some sellers were a little aggressive in their initial pricing. It’s important to remember that every house, every neighborhood and every transaction has its own distinct characteristics. An local real estate professional is essential for navigating the current market conditions.

Bainbridge Island Real Estate Market

Finishing Strong

Traditionally, real estate activity tends to slow down in the fourth quarter. Already, this year has been quite different. In only the first few weeks of October, our office has nearly doubled the number of sales compared to this time last year. Open house activity has been robust, indicating an energized pool of buyers just waiting for that perfect home to come along. If these trends continue, we could be in for a very exciting close to an already strong year. Here’s to a healthy and hearty season in all corners of our wonderful island community.

Bainbridge Real Estate Market

School is back in session and we just finished our tenth summer on the island.  Both my girls are in high school this year and yes, what they say is true, time just flies.  It always seems to be a reflective time when another school year starts. Our decade on the rock has really been all that we hoped it would be, and more.  The schools have been top notch, the community small, close and safe, the natural environment lovely and the air clean. As a California native summer is indeed my favorite season, there is no denying that.  I love the sun and this summer was warm (I grew tomatoes this year – yay!). But, the fall season is certainly a close second.  September and October are fabulous months for sunny clear days in Washington. I love fall yard work and the crisp air. Since September and October have this stellar weather there are a lot of fantastic things to do on and around the island as we wrap up summer and say hello to fall. Many not he lost below have been a family tradition for us.  Here are some of my favorite fall events on the island:

Fall Colors on Bainbridge Island

A Taste of Lynwood – Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village – September 16th 11am to 8pm – after a four year hiatus this festival of food and music returns.  The weather report looks good, so wear comfortable shoes and come hungry. There will be two band stages and several food options. Bainbridge Youth Services is even sponsoring a fun run at 9:30am to kick things off, the Baker Hill Challenge.  Click here to see the full band line-ups.

Classes at Bainbridge Gardens – the list is long, but my favorites are Northwest Newcomers on September 16th an 20th and the Fairy Garden Workshop on September 24th.  Classes start at 1pm.  Call to register for the fee based classes 206.842.5888.

Fall Food Festival – At the Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo – September 17th from 12-4pm- off island, but worth the drive.  A free event, but local vendors will be selling food.  See the fabulous Farm Kitchen in full bloom and soak in the warm sun while you enjoy local eats.

The Annual Harvest Fair – Sponsored by Friends of the Farm  – September 24th on the Johnson Farm from 11am to 5pm. This is an all day affair that celebrates local farming. Great food, games and fall sights. Suggested donations $5 kids/$10 adults.

Northwest Newbies Nature Hike at IslandWood – Sunday September 24th from 1-3pm.  Explore fabulous IslandWood with a guide.  Learn about common native species and soak in all the fall colors.  I love climbing the old firetower at IslandWood in the fall.  I am happy to be the sponsor of this event.  If the event is full, join the waitlist, there is a lot going on that day.  $5 admission charge.

Oktoberfest – held in September ;) on the 23rd at the Day Road Industrial Park from 3-9pm.  Enjoy local breweries (a 4,000 square foot beer garden – wow!), sausages, pretzels, wine and bands.

24th Annual Pumpkin Walk Fall on Bainbridge Island– As we look to October you have to think Pumpkin Walk. A trail blazed with carved pumpkins, food and games, what could be better on a dark, fall night.  This is a Bainbridge Gardens tradition and will be held on October 13th and 14th (a little earlier this this year) from 6pm to 8pm.  This is a benefit for the Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club.  There is no admission charge.

On September 14, 2017, in Activities, Beyond Bainbridge, Community, Events, Personal, by

1858 Commodore Lane is a rare, in-town package.  Almost half an acre, walk-able to all levels of schools, Winslow and the ferry.  Plus a private, light and bright studio/office.   This quiet cul-de-sac location provides both privacy and convenience. Do you want chickens?  No problem, you have plenty of space here. Room to play soccer or throw a frisbee to your dog? Yes, more than enough run around room here. Come see for your self.  I will be holding it open Thursday, July 20th from 10am-1pm and Sunday, July 23rd from 1pm-4pm.

1858 Commodore Lane on Bainbridge Island.

The kitchen and family room open to the back deck and are also connected to the living room and dining room.

The updated kitchen has newer cabinets and counter tops as well as brand new stainless steel appliances.

The cozy family room has a wood burning stove and two sets of french doors that lead to the back deck and yard.

The light and bright studio is private and you can access it via the garage, front yard or back yard.

Private deck and play space in the backyard.

Details about the home:

  • 3 bedrooms with 350 square foot studio
  • 2.5  bathrooms
  • 2,604 square feet
  • .4 of an acre – one of the largest lots in Commodore
  • Large and open entertaining kitchen with updated cabinets and granite countertops – new stainless steel appliances
  • Wood floors on the main level
  • All bedrooms upstairs
  • Mature landscaping in large yard, with flat lawn space
  • Walkable to Winslow and no HOA dues
  • $738,000 asking price

Traditional in-town home with charming wrap around covered porch on a hard to find, flat .40 acre lot. Mature landscaping and large, level lawn space. Quiet cul-de-sac living and an easy commute to schools, Winslow, parks, and ferry. Comfortable, open floor plan with updated kitchen, new SS appliances, and attractive hardwood floors on the main. Sellers added light, bright studio that could also function as a private office or recreation space. All bedrooms upstairs. Rare in-town package.

Click here to see the full Windermere listing detail.

Click here to visit this home’s website.

On July 20, 2017, in Home Tours, Homes, Listing, Neighborhoods, by

More and more of my clients are spending a week or more on the island to explore and house hunt. It is what we did way back in 2004 when Bainbridge popped onto our radar as a place we might want to live. We stayed in this cool beach house that is still a rental today.

If you plan to visit the island and soak it all in and see the real-life-non-tourist Bainbridge, I recommend you visit the following spots on the island.

Lyle Beach Bainbridge Island

Lytle Beach on Bainbridge Island.

Visit the South End/Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village – Many tourists start and stop in Winslow, but great things can by found in Lynwood Center. The Treehouse Cafe is an excellent, casual place to eat.  Lynwood Theatre is a terrific old-style theatre. Also at Lynwood Center and Pleasant Beach Village there is shopping, coffee, a deli, a B&B, a wine bar, restaurants, a bakery, a farm store, frozen yogurt, and a community (membership based) outdoor pool.  It is the gem of the south end – the south end hub not to miss.  When in the vicinity also visit Lytle Beach, a road-end public beach that has a sandy beach and terrific south-west exposure. Also stop at Fort Ward Park, which has miles of easy walking trails with water views, picnic areas and a boat launch.  Both spots are great for soaking in the sun on the south end.  For eating at Lynwood Center, besides The Treehouse Cafe, we also really love Sawan Thai Kitchen and the Beach House Bar & Grill.  For a more formal dinner the Manor House is excellent.

Rolling Bay – Take a quick walk around Rolling Bay. This is the north end hub.  In comparison to Lynwood Center it is very small, but it is a community gathering spot, nonetheless.  There is an old fashioned post office, cafe, and the best Italian Market on the island, Via Rosa 11.  Stop by Via Rosa for lunch or dinner and enjoy their wood fired pizza oven. Bay Hay and Feed is an icon of the island.  They has a terrific gift shop, garden nursery, and feed store.  When you are up north, visit Fay Bainbridge Park, our waterfront park on the north end with views towards Seattle.  At Fay there is a play ground and tons of drift wood.  For future reference, Fay Bainbridge even has a campground a great shelters to reserve for parties.

Battle Point Park – There is so much to see here.  I love the the 1.5 mile loop around the park, but in earlier years when my kids were little I loved the awesome wooden play park.  We have spent hours and hours at softball games and soccer games at this park. Their turf fields for soccer are newer and excellent.  There is also a mini-gymnasium, planetarium, mountain bike track, ponds, and tennis. And the best part – it is cleared and sunny!

Winslow – So, Winslow is pretty terrific.  I would recommend hitting Blackbird Bakery, I love their toast and jam and a pot of tea.  Mora Iced Creamery also fabulous, you really can’t go wrong on flavors, but I love their brownies and cheesecake.  If you find yourself withoug kids I love The Harbour Public House  – AKA The Pub.  It is on Eagle Harbor with stunning views of Seattle.  They have terrific burgers, fish and chips and beer, but I love their fish tacos with a glass of rose.  Again, if kid-less, we like Island Vintners and Eleven Winery for wine tasting or a glass of wine – or two.  Some of my favorite stores in Winslow are Eagle Harbor Books, Calico Cat Toy Shoppe, Bon Bon Candies, Churchmouse Yarns & Tea, and Wilderness Outdoor Store . . . and there are many fun ones in between.

Closer to the ferry in WinslowBainbridge Island Museum of Art is an excellent space to walk through.  The exhibits change regularly and the BIMA Bistro has the best food.  A terrific spot for lunch – one of my favorites.  If you have kids in tow, make sure to visit the Kid’s Discovery Museum, right behind BIMA.

People visiting for an extended time usually want to check out grocery stores and shopping.  Be sure to visit Town & County Market.  Not only is this the spot of shopping, especially specialty food items, and seafood, but the salad bar and hot bar are the place to be at lunch time on Bainbridge.  Sometimes I go there three times a day.  Behind the Town & Country Market is the Waterfront Park and Dock.  At the park is a great kid’s playground and the beginning of the Waterfront Trail, which winds its way down to Eakin/Gowan. My very favorite breakfast on the island is at Streamliner Diner.  It is adjacent to Town & Country Market.  They serve dinner, too, but I love their breakfast, especially their biscuits and jam and crispy hash browns.

The Grand Forest – If you are a walker/runner, you will want to explore the Grand Forest.  The trails are extensive, groomed and fun.  There are several parking spots.Exploring the Grand Forest is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Nearby is Bainbridge Gardens.  A field trip in and of itself, this is our biggest nursery and a great place to have lunch at The New Rose Cafe.  There is also a fun gift shop.

Some other must see places:

If you happen to be here on a Tuesday, please go to Hey Day Farm to have Dinner. You can eat on a real, working farm and have some of the most fantastic food on the island.  They do not take reservations, so you need to arrive at 4:30 to try and get a 5:00 seating, but I think it is worth it, especially in the summer.  Be prepared for a three hour, multi-course experience, so probably better without kids, but my favorite dinner on the island, hands down.

The Bainbridge Public Library – excellent Children’s Library and story time.

The Aquatic Center – two pools, a spa, water slide and lazy river. Swimming lesson, swim team, master’s program, and water polo teams. Stop by and take a look.

BARN – Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network – new facilities for all kinds of crafting – woodworking, glass blowing, fiber arts, kitchen arts, writing, metal shop.  As of this writing they give tours on Sundays.

On June 23, 2017, in Activities, Community, Moving, Personal, by

This home is such a fun one to tour.  A welcome surprise to find new finishes on a quiet, established street in Winslow.  This home has undergone an amazing transformation; new entertaining kitchen, new baths and new hardwood flooring are just the beginning.  And it is all on one level, and walkable to all the great things in Winslow.  Come see for yourself on Saturday from 1-4pm instead of Sunday as Sunday is Mother’s Day ;)

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island Liste by Jen Pells Windermere Bainbridge

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

The great room showing new wood floors and custom propane fireplace.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Amazing entertaining kitchen with quartz counters, stainless steel appliances and quality fixtures.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Great coffee bar or cocktail bar in the large kitchen.

1002 Nakata Ave NW listed by Jen Pells of Windermere Bainbridge

Master bedroom suite has a full spa-like bathroom and extra large den; a great space for a private office or sunny exercise room.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Spa like master bathroom with double sinks and large custom tile shower.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Private, fenced backyard with mature and colorful plantings.

Details about the home:

  • 3 bedrooms with a den off of the master suite
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1,866 square feet all on one level and vaulted throughout
  • .23 of an acre
  • Large, entertaining kitchen
  • Complete cosmetic remodel of home – including new window package and exterior doors
  • Clean lines with high end modern finishes and fixtures
  • Mature landscaping in private, fenced backyard
  • Walkable to Winslow and no HOA dues (plus you have a fenced yard and garage)
  • $748,000 asking price

Impressive modern remodel of this one-level, open-floorplan home tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of Winslow. Vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows highlight the new entertaining kitchen with quality cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz counters. Great room with a custom propane fireplace and wood floors opens to a private backyard with colorful, mature landscaping. Spa-like finishes in new baths. New window package and paint. Close to shops, pool, library, schools, parks and ferry.

Click here to see the full Windermere listing detail.

Visit this home’s dedicated website here.

On May 12, 2017, in Homes, Listing, Neighborhoods, Open Houses, by