MEMORIES OF YEARS PAST
A History Lesson
The one constant in our real estate market is change. Ten years ago (yes, it has been 10 years!), we were in a very competitive market. Inventory was tight and prices were going through the proverbial roof, setting new highs. Then, in September 2007, that came to an abrupt end and we began a downward trend toward the largest correction since the 1980s. It took until 2012 for the market to shift yet again and gradually pick up speed toward recovery. By 2015, we returned to familiar territory: an extremely competitive market with record low inventories and rapidly rising prices. On July 1, 2015, there were 58 active listings on the island. Now, just one year later, data suggests a potential market transition with inventories rising and price reductions becoming increasingly common.
We in the industry do not view this as a repeat of 2007. There are too many positive factors in our financing infrastructure and regional market that separate this climate from its predecessors. (Indeed, the financing environment is so much more conservative now that securing funding can actually be a hurdle in some transactions.) We are still in a very competitive market and the statistics bear this out. While we may be slowly moving towards a more “balanced” market, we are not there yet. Let’s look at some of the leading indicators that give a glimpse at where we are.
One year ago, there were 112 home listings, 54 of which were under contract. For a market the size of Bainbridge, 58 active listings in the middle of summer is a crazy small number. On July 15th of this year, inventory had ballooned to 162 listings, 64 of which were under contract (leaving 98 active). Yes, this was a substantial improvement from last year. But when compared to the absolute top of our last market peak in July 2007, the 162/64 stat still looks very tight compared to the 2007 numbers, which were 289 listings with 62 under contract.
The percentage of pendings to listings is 40% today compared to 21% in 2007. This year’s second quarter median cumulative days on the market is still a brisk 11 days, equal to what it was for the same period in 2015. (In 2007, it was 52 days.) It is still a very competitive market. Our inventory is growing because our price levels are finally bringing in more people from the sidelines. When you look at the history of the sold listings, there are scant few people who are “flipping” or who have bought recently and rapidly selling for a profit. Instead, many of the homes that recently sold were last sold in 2001, 2004, or even 2007 and 2008. It’s also interesting to note that people who have held onto their homes for a more extended period of time (since before the boom years) are realizing very healthy increases over what they paid.
We have finally drawn even with and are even beginning to pass our peak prices of 2006/2007. When we checked the history of all the homes sold in the second quarter, all those that sold in 2006/2007 did better this year. Our year-to-date median is $755,000, a 14.4% increase over last year. This number is exacerbated by the price ranges of the homes sold. Overall, sales were down almost 17% and almost all of the decrease came in homes below the $600K price point. This phenomenon can be partly explained by our old nemesis: lack of inventory. On July 15th, there were 13 homes available on the whole island for less than $600K. Not many choices …
However, we are now seeing more price reductions than even in the first quarter. This is another indication of a healthier market. Pricing still matters, as sellers can’t just ask for anything. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, this is one of many areas where professionals can really help. Overpriced homes usually end up selling for less than properly priced homes, a statistic that has been borne out in all types of markets. This becomes especially important when a market is going through a gradual shift. The bottom line is that prices are rising and healthy. True, the rate may change and is very neighborhood and property specific. But the competitive nature of our current market will help bolster prices.
Condominiums and Land
Interestingly, the increase in inventory has not yet been felt in the residential condominium market. Due to low inventory the volume of condominium sales are down almost 21% from last year. Prices are up 8% from 2015, but the median price is still 13.7% lower than in 2007. In addition to the shortage of available condominiums buyers face potential financing challenges specific to that type of property. In the land segment, sales are down more than 30%! Median price for land is also off 6.5%, which is 47% of the 2007 median. This is perplexing as land sales improved quite a lot between 2014 and 2015.
So our changes are subtle at this time, but in process. On the residential side, the greater inventory gives buyers more choices and potentially more sales. Sellers are seeing price levels that entice people to return to the marketplace and support a competitive environment. The regional economy outlook continues to impress and our position in that marketplace remains strong. (What other community can still claim the same commute time to downtown as twenty years ago?) The outlook ahead is all very positive!
This summer, we are opening a satellite office on Olympic Drive and Winslow Way. There we’ll be able to greet ferry passengers as they first arrive to the island. Our goal is to give our clients more exposure to pedestrian and vehicle ferry traffic and have agents on hand to answer questions. We hope to have our doors open soon, so please stop by.
Windermere In The News
To say that Windermere has a lot of Seahawks fans would be an understatement. That’s why we are so excited to announce today that we are now the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks”!
At the center of this partnership with the Seahawks is a new #tacklehomelessness campaign in which the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 for every Seahawks tackle at home during the 2016 season. On the receiving end of these donations is YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth from across Puget Sound for more than 40 years. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has donated over $30 million to non-profits that support low-income and homeless families, so partnering with YouthCare and the Seahawks on the#tacklehomelessness campaign is a perfect fit for us.
“We are proud to partner with Windermere, an iconic and locally-based company with a deep commitment to this community,” said Seahawks Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Amy Sprangers. “Windermere’s brand and values align perfectly with our commitment to this region. It is wonderful that this partnership will make a positive impact on homeless youth throughout the Seattle area.”
Summer Day Camps 2016
Summer time is quickly approaching and suddenly that old feeling of dread and/or panic sets in… the kids are going to be home with nothing to do.
Bainbridge Island has a myriad of opportunities for children of all ages to learn and have fun this summer while school is out.
Islandwood Summer Day Camps invite children to open their imaginations in rich natural settings. They offer day camps for children from Pre-Kindergarten through the 9th grade.
The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District offers a wide variety of classes and programs for children of all ages, all summer long. To download the full catalog for the entire summer of 2016 offerings click HERE.
Do your children enjoy soccer? Bainbridge Island FC offers summer camps for children starting as young as 3 years old!
Ok, it isn’t a summer camp but it surely is not to be missed. The Grand Old Fourth has been Bainbridge Island's biggest party for 48 years with a mile-long hometown parade, street fair with more than 100 booths including 30 food vendors, live music, kids' entertainment and games, pony rides, beer and wine garden, classic and electric car show, family fun run, pancake breakfast topped off with fireworks over Eagle Harbor at dusk. Admission is free and your entire family will love it!
Who says you can't have it all? This charming standalone townhome offers a main floor master plus so much more – in easy reach of everywhere you want to be.
Open Sunday, May 22nd from 1pm to 4pm!
For more information on this home, please click HERE
Open Sunday May 15th from 1pm to 4pm
4876 Rose Avenue NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
OPEN SUNDAY, May 1st 1pm to 4pm
Offered at $998,000
Beautiful property and exquisite home, just a short stroll to parks and trails to Blakely Harbor. Stone fireplace warms the great room extending into the grand open kitchen inspiring culinary performances and memorable gatherings. This fabulous home features boxed beam ceilings and painted pine walls, custom furniture grade cabinetry, soapstone counters and select quarter-sawn floors, offering casual comfort of Island life and the charm of a bygone era. Timeless, function and value throughout! NWMLS #931429
For more information and to preview the photo gallery, please click HERE
The Same Old Tune
Even as the birds of springtime sing their new songs of the season, we must hit repeat as we report – once again – on our local market’s low inventory. A lack of available homes continues to dictate what’s happening in Bainbridge Island real estate. On April 1st, there were only 47 homes and 5 condominiums available for sale on the island. Within the overall market, certain price points have been more pinched than others (which is a snapshot in time and will change as the year goes on). For example, if you were looking for a home in the $600K to $800K range, you had only 5 houses to choose from and zero condominiums.
How Inventory Affects Sales and Prices
This extremely limited inventory helped drive home sales down more than 20% from last year. There are plenty of buyers out there; there are just not enough properties on the market to sell. The scarcity of inventory has increased competition and bumped median prices up more than 9%. The average, which is more a function of the price ranges where homes closed, was up more than 18%. The median cumulative days on market dropped from 26 in 2015 to 20 in 2016. To put this in perspective, the cumulative days on market in 2012 was 146 days.
The Story on Condominiums and Land
The condominium market is also suffering from lack of inventory. Last year at the beginning of April, there were 16 condominiums available compared to this year’s 5; both of which lie in sharp contrast to 2012, when there were 45 available. Consequently, sales dropped from 19 to 16, but the median price rose 23% to $430K. Land, on the other hand, experienced a 30% increase in sales to 13 parcels this quarter with a 26.8% increase in the median price to $225K.
The View from Inside
One might assume that a market like this, with rising prices and inventory competition, makes our jobs easier. The reality is that there are some basic principles, goals and strategies that any good real estate professional seeks to embrace, all of which must adapt to an ever-changing market. Regardless of the climate, we want our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes – both at closing and in the future. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially when competition is fierce and time is of the essence. Given the complexities of the Bainbridge market, where most homes and locations are unlike any others, things can get even more challenging. It is not like buying or selling in a large subdivision where a product like Zillow has some merit. Here, each house has strengths and weaknesses and the success of a sale can pivot on those subtle nuances.
If you’re a Buyer
For buyers in this market, supply is tight and prices are rising. You almost have to assume you will be competing with others when you find the house you would like to make your home. Is the price fair? How high should you go? The specter of 2006 and 2007 should be in the back of your mind, as the concept of paying “whatever it takes” came back to bite many homebuyers. An agent brings knowledge of the current market, the choices it offers, what might be coming and how an individual house fits into the bigger picture – including the history of the neighborhood and often of the house. An agent will know whether a price is in line or whether the seller is being aggressive. When there are limited comparable properties, this expertise becomes extremely important. No one wants to hear, “You paid how much for your house?!”
In multiple offer situations, there are strategies to employ. You need to line up your resources to be “the best you can be.” Multiple offers often require that decisions be made quickly, so being prepared makes you a stronger buyer and one less likely to be disappointed later. If you are not a cash buyer, there are things you can do to compete with those who are. Get comfortable with the stack of forms you’ll be asked to sign. Ask your Realtor what it means to omit certain forms, how to read building inspection reports and Title reports. Learn how to spot red flags that make certain houses less expensive. Being a buyer in this market can be difficult, frustrating and even scary. A good agent can help you navigate the winding road to achieve the best results and avoid mistakes.
If you’re a Seller
Sellers may think they have it easier, but the reality is that a seller’s quest is the same in an ascending market as in a descending one. The two primary goals for sellers are to get the home sold in the timeframe desired and to maximize net proceeds. Buyers will be more attracted to, and will ultimately pay more for, a house that is optimized to appeal to a buyer and priced in a manner that a buyer feels is reasonable in the current market. Knowing the current market, as well as past and future markets and how a particular home fits into all of them, is essential in achieving the seller’s ultimate goals. But the work is just beginning when buyers first express interest. You have to know which of them will have the greatest possibility of actually achieving a closed transaction. It is surprising how many transactions fall apart in this market. Negotiating inspections, Appraisals, Sellers’ liability; what do all those forms mean and what are your responsibilities? There are many steps between deciding to sell and achieving your goals. The reality is that sellers don’t always get everything they hope to get out of a sale – even in a sellers’ market. But an experienced agent will help you prepare, present and respond so you can get the most out of any market.
Real estate markets fluctuate all the time, sometimes favoring buyers and sometimes favoring sellers. This is simply the nature of the business. But in the midst of all those ups and downs, one thing remains consistent: the beauty and livability of Bainbridge Island. At Windermere Bainbridge, we celebrate our island community and all it has to offer.
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would have a little tribute to the color green. While a pale, almost neutral green is common in design, it takes guts and color savvy to really sock a punch to a room with green. These are a few great examples where the designer is a green maven.
This room has such a fun vintage feel without the burden of all of grandma's clutter. Keeping all of the other major pieces a stark white really showcases the green color.
I LOVE this room; my eye was immediately drawn to the Egg Chair in that gorgeous shade of green!
I think I'm drawn to this room because it looks like it was inspired by the Farnsworth house. The green accent mimics what is going on outside the structure.
The designer of this bathroom understands color and balance. The green is allowed to shine against the white while a little punch of orange provides great contrast.
Speaking of orange and green – being fearless with color can be intimidating but rewarding and well worth it when done properly. The balance of the orange and green is so refreshing and exciting.
Also, chocolate brown looks fantastic with green.
This calm traditional room probably would have seemed like the same old, same old without that brilliant hit of green provided by the duvet and throw pillow.
Here the green tiles add a bit of whimsy to an otherwise very modern kitchen.
And finally, who says wreaths are only for Christmas? A living wreath planted on a moss ring provides lovely greeting at your front door.
Grand porches get more press, but you can pack just as much style into a small space. Whether you have a city stoop, an apartment building landing, exposed exterior stairs or a small porch, these 10 ideas will help you make the most of your home’s entrance.
1. Add a quirky planter. Done with that umbrella stand? Tuck a plant pot in there for an instant transformation. Or take a funky vintage find, like an elephant-shaped stool, and use it as a plant stand beside the front door. It’s sure to make guests (and you) smile.
2. Paint your door a bright color. A cheerfully bright, mood-boosting hue is a great way to light up a small or dark entryway. Try yellow, lime green or aqua.
3. Paint pots to match your door. This is quite possibly the easiest way to make your front entrance feel put together: Cluster flowerpots in the same hue as your front door on the stoop. Stick with odd numbers and vary the sizes of the pots for a more casual look. For a formal entrance, choose two giant, identical pots to flank the door.
4. Roll out a big rug. Why stick with itty-bitty doormats when you can offer guests a big, cheerful outdoor rug instead? A larger rug on a small stoop will help the area seem more spacious — a tiny doormat tends to break up the space. A big rug on the porch also does wonders for hiding imperfect floors!
5. Position trellises to frame the entrance. Positioned at each end of the porch or front steps, trellises provide welcome privacy and shade to the entrance. If the area gets good sunlight (and the climate allows), why not plant something fragrant, like jasmine, so you can enjoy a delicious scent each time you return home?
6. Style some beachy finds. Driftwood, shells, glass lanterns, striped beach blankets and woven seats create a laid-back vibe on this front porch. If you have only a tiny amount of room, try arranging a single chunk of driftwood, a big shell and a glass lantern beside the door.
7. Plant a window box. When you hardly have a stoop, let alone a full porch, it can be difficult to find ways to personalize your space. Try hanging a window box from the front window and installing a handsome lantern beside the door.
8. Invest in topiary. A pair of topiary trees or neatly trimmed potted shrubs flanking the front door makes for an elegant entrance. You can’t miss with classic blue and white ceramic pots, moss-covered concrete or black urns, or square wooden planter boxes. If your stoop gets zero sun, consider investing in high-quality fake topiary — it’s really hard to tell the difference, and you can’t kill it!
9. Draw the eye up with hanging baskets. Big hanging pots of ferns look bountiful and lush, and can handle the shade under an eave. Be sure to choose pots that are on the large side, and hang them about two-thirds of the way up from the porch floor — small pots hung too high look awkward.
10. Swap plain numbers for an address plaque. A custom address plaque imparts more sophistication than plain house numbers. If you like, personalize it further by making up a name for your house.
Whether you're an owner or a renter, odds are that you have a complicated relationship with your home. As with any relationship, there are ups and downs, good times and bad, things you love and things you hate. But despite it all, you stick with it — hopefully because you love it.
And also as with any relationship, your love for your home progresses as time goes on. But there's always that honeymoon stage, the time when you're totally infatuated. We asked what one thing made you fall in love with your home — the thing that tipped you over the edge and made you decide it was the place for you.
Here is a list of items that make my clients swoon, over and over again.
Sometimes functional items are designed so beautifully that they blur the line between architecture and art. The fireplace surrounds in this collection are sculptural, stunningly beautiful and, arguably, works of art.
There are many reasons for using transoms. Here's the rundown on this fun-to-say architectural term. Transoms gained popularity after being used in spaces where an intricate shape or style door met another transverse architectural element. Pretty and purposeful, transoms are often used as ornamentation. They can also be functional; adding more sunlight to a room and (with the right hardware) they can swivel forward or backward for good air flow from the outdoors.
A Kitchen you’re proud to show off to friends and family
What makes the perfect kitchen? The answer is as varied as cooks are. Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the one that inspires you most can often surprise you. From ultra-modern minimalist design to rustic woodwork and everything in between… your only limits are in your imagination and your wallet!
Historical charm relevant to the home but renovated with greener products
Although interior and exterior appeal is essential, history is what earned some homes a spot in people’s hearts. Bainbridge Island is full of beautiful vintage homes that are purchased and renovated yearly. In keeping with adaptive reuse of landmark buildings, subtle renovations can preserve the remarkable craftsmanship and details of bygone eras – while using newer, green products that enhance the style of the home while providing the amenities that modern living requires.
Indoor/outdoor living space
Some homeowners are all about being able to maximize long summer days with an indoor/outdoor living space that can also be used on slightly less warmer Spring and Fall Days. An outdoor living room complete with a covered area and amenities like a fireplace and cooking area expands your home into new world of dining and living al fresco.
High Ceilings/unique ceilings
Space and high ceilings make all the difference for some people. The open airy feeling lends to a feeling of sophistication while also making even a smaller home feel much larger. Add a unique ceiling with box beams, exposed rafters or timber framing and suddenly your ceiling has become a large part of your home’s architectural style.
Amazing View – Water or Territorial
Many people fall in love with the beautiful surroundings and views before actually falling in love with their homes. Whether it is large territorial view, a wooded sanctuary or open water view – a view that speaks to your heart can make any house a home.
Examples of artful staircases can be found as far back as 1500 BC in ancient palaces in China – but open interior staircases on an ambitious spatial scale cannot really be found before Michelangelo’s at the Laurentian Library, Florence Italy (1524–71). For many people, a grand staircase can turn a functional part of a home into a focal piece of art that makes them fall in love with a home immediately.
Interior details like round doorways, wood work, bookshelves and other charming details
Wood is becoming more and more expensive, and the level of craftsmanship in older homes is much higher than what you typically find in a new construction. This may include floors, trim, molding, fireplace mantels, bookcases, china cabinets, staircases and more. Embellishments on cabinetry can make a lovely room feel even more special. Leather, metal and even glass can be used to step a look up a notch.
Custom or Elaborate Doors
And finally… If a home is a place of meaning, doorways are the most meaningful parts. An opening connects one space with another, while a door sets the stage for the human interaction. Opening a door and crossing the threshold moves us from one realm to the next — from outside to inside, from public to private, from bedroom to bathroom, from big space to small space, from cold to warm.
4479 Pleasant Beach Drive NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Offered at $1,150,000
Luxury seaside living in the heart of Pleasant Beach Village, just steps to restaurants, arts, theater and parks. Incredibly light this beautiful home features open gracious living with 9 foot ceilings, hardwood floors and propane fireplace. Wonderful low maintenance, single-family home features 3 bedrooms including Master bedroom with private balcony overlooking the water, sweeping views, walk-in closet and Jacuzzi tub. Incredible amenities include a bright gourmet kitchen with pantry and private patio, skylights throughout, central heat and cooling and a 2-car garage. NWMLS #893331