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.

 

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