2011 Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island.

The 2011 Polar Bear Plunge on Bainbridge Island. January 1st on Lytle Beach.

The Memory of 2008 is Fading

2008 was my first full year in real estate on Bainbridge Island.  And, it stunk.  The good news is, every year has been better.  I thought 2009 was good.  It was.  2010 was better. And, the better news is, the goodness of 2010 will give many sellers confidence to put their homes on the market this year.  That fresh inventory will be what many buyers have been waiting for and those new sellers coming on the market, will be move-up buyers, kicking those dominoes in the right direction.

The Polar Bear Plunge

The New Year’s day photo above is symbolic of the market right now.  Buyers are jumping in.  Yes, there is someone on the beach still, this is not 2006, but you get the picture.  Confidence is returning. Interest rates are low and there are actually many people out there with equity  – and they are taking advantage of it.  Move up, downsize, this is the year to do it.

The Reality of 2011

Yes, there will be more bank sales and short sales on the market this year and prices may go down a bit more because of that. But, there are many people out there tired of waiting. And they’ve done the math on renting versus buying and know that if the right house comes up in the next year, they should go for it. They know you can control what you pay for a house, but you can’t control the interest rates. Many of them are first time buyers and they are motivating the move-up buyers to list their homes and buy that $800k house they fancied four years ago that is now $625k.

How is 2011 Looking So Far?

We had our Windermere Kick-off meeting for all of West Sound this week.  The numbers Kitsap-wide reflect the numbers below, specific to Bainbridge Island.  I am excited for 2011.  I am enthusiastic about the sellers I am talking with who will be bringing fresh, new inventory to the market.  And, I am optimistic about the buyers I am working with who are coming to the Seattle area for jobs.

Year-End numbers for homes sold on Bainbridge (does not include condos)

2007 2008 2009 2010
Total Sold 332 187 212 255
Median Sales Price $680,000 $589,000 $546,000 $540,000
Avg. Days on Market 98 108 139 102
Price per sq. ft. $303 $284 $239 $242

And the Numbers

Yes, the median sales price is still going down, but price per square foot has inched up over last year.  Also, days on market is markedly down.  Homes priced well are selling within 90-100 days, as this number reflects.  For me, the key number is volume. In 2007 there were 332 home sales, compared to the bottom of 187 in 2008.  We are seeing a steady climb back up, to perhaps the new normal of the high 200’s.  Confidence is key. Folks are seeing their neighbor’s homes sell in two weeks.  That is a great motivator for sellers to put that sign on the lawn and get on with their personal goals.

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