What is happening in the Real Estate market on North Whidbey (Oak Harbor and Coupeville)? What is the economic forecast for 2020 and what will it mean for the real estate market?
The graphics below show statistics for the Whidbey Island market as of Dec 1, 2019.
We continue to see modest annual growth in real estate prices, and a slight increase in the length of time homes remain on the market. After many years in a “sellers’ market” we’re slowly moving toward a balanced market. At this time of year there is very little inventory out there for buyers to browse, so if you’re thinking about selling you have a great opportunity right now.
For a bigger picture of what is expected in the 2020 economy and housing market I invite you to watch this 2 minute video featuring Windermere economist Matthew Gardner.
Gardner expects a slight recession in 2020 or 2021, but that it should not affect the housing market. He still expects nearly 4% growth in housing prices in 2020. Mortgage rates are expected to move up just slightly in 2020 but remain right around 4%.
Of course no one can know for certain what the future holds, and these “big picture stats” are not nearly as helpful as a personal consultation to determine the value of real estate you currently own, or whether 2020 is the right time for you to stop renting and purchase a home. I’d love to set up a time to discuss your personal situation with you, and I welcome your call.
Windermere Real Estate Whidbey Island
For those interested in the market trends here on North Whidbey (Oak Harbor WA), I took a look at the statistics for homes priced under $500K on North Whidbey and created this 3 minute video. These stats came out May 1 and refer back to April 2019.
- Mortgage rates went down the last 2 months and are under 4.25% on average.
- Average sales price for these homes has gone down by 5% since last April.
- There is still not a lot of inventory, and homes are taking 40 days to get under contract on average (a small step up from last month).
Here is an update on the Oak Harbor North Whidbey real estate market, based on statistics through the end of February 2019, and published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
In the video below I walk viewers through the statistics which show a couple of noteworthy market aspects here in Oak Harbor (North Whidbey). First, after a relatively flat previous few months, average sold prices have increased markedly over the past 2 months. Second, the amount of available inventory has jumped up over 3 months for the first time in a few years. This means we are currently in a “balanced” market after being in a “sellers” market for a long time. Along with that, interest rates have decreased over the past few weeks. This is a help to buyers as well.
If you would like a current market analysis of your home anywhere on Whidbey Island or in Anacortes, reach out today for this complementary service.
Compare this report to the November 2018 report.
Looking for a church in Oak Harbor? Check out oakharborchurches.com
Windermere Real Estate/Whidbey Island
There has been a lot of talk about a slowing real estate market in the Seattle metro area. How does that compare with what is happening on North Whidbey Island? Here is a video explaining some real estate statistics. So…if you like looking at numbers and statistics…this if for you!
If you want to know what these statistics mean for YOU – just contact me to arrange a Current Market Analysis (if you’re thinking of selling your home) or to discuss the benefits of purchasing a home.
Don Jaques, Jr
Windermere Real Estate/Whidbey Island
The Navy has announced their preferred plan for the number of flights happening at Ault Field in Oak Harbor and the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville. Whidbey News-Times reported that their preference is to have 25% of all flights at OLF, and 75% at Ault Field, but the number of Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLP) in Coupeville would increase by 400% over present levels. To read the Navy’s announcement, and what comes next, go to whidbeyeis.com. EIS stands for Environmental Impact Study, which the Navy has been researching and developing for a number of years. Here is a quick explanation of what this announcement means, and what happens next in the decision making process.
If you have questions about what impact this news may have on you I welcome your call or email at 360-672-5447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wondering what happened in the North Whidbey Real Estate market in 2017? What can we look forward to in 2018? Here’s some analysis of the statistics for you.
Wondering how these stats might affect YOU and your individual situation? Curious about the stats for another area? Contact me at email@example.com or 360-672-5447 to start the conversation.
It’s a seller’s market in the Whidbey/Fidalgo area. If you’re a buyer you want to avoid making mistakes that can cost you money and cause you to lose the house you really want. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes home buyers make when shopping for a home.
- Not having their own agent.
Those shopping for a home will often see a sign in front of a house they are interested in, and call the number of the agent on the sign. This can begin a process in which you as the buyer may forfeit the advantages of having your own agent representing you. When you call the agent who is named on the for sale sign, you are reaching an agent who is under contract to represent the interests of the seller of that home. It is their job to sell their client’s home for the highest price possible. As a buyer you want to have an agent dedicated to your best interests, not the seller’s. You want someone who will give you an unbiased opinion about the value of the home, and help you prepare an offer that will protect you if something goes awry during the closing process. Be sure to select a local agent who knows the market you are searching in. He or she will have invaluable insight from their local knowledge and experience. Lastly, as a buyer you do not pay your agent’s commission, the seller does. So there is no reason not have your own agent working hard for you! Suggestion: search for and select a real estate agent who will represent YOU very early in your home search.
- Using Zillow.com as their source of information.
When searching for a home, you want the most up to date information as possible. Zillow is an amazing resource when doing research about different neighborhoods and getting rough estimates of home values, but their information about current homes on the market can be weeks out of date. In a seller’s market like we’re in, you don’t want to waste energy chasing down homes that are pending sale – and you want to know instantly when a home matching your search criteria comes up for sale. Suggestion: Contact your agent (see above!) and ask him or her to set up a personalized search for you that will be instantly updated when homes come on and go off the market.
- Using non-local lenders for financing.
The internet is great for simple purchases where you do not need personal service, but it is NOT a great source for closing a home purchase without problems and on time. The home buying process involves many people who all play a role including the buyer, the seller, the real estate agents, a lender, a title company, an escrow officer, an inspector, and an appraiser. When a buyer selects an out of area lender, many aspects get more complicated. How will you get a timely response to requests for a pre-qualification letter? Does your lender know the idiosyncrasies of the appraiser who has been assigned? How will your lender know how to comply with the unique aspects of purchasing a home in that city and county? If there are any problems along the way, would you rather sit down face to face or leave a voice mail message on an 800 number? If you are competing with other buyers, your offer will be more attractive to the seller when you select a reputable local lender, because they will have more confidence the transaction will go smoothly and close on time. Suggestion: Before actively searching for homes, ask your agent (see item #1!) for suggestions of excellent local lenders who have competitive rates AND great customer service. Then go and interview a couple of them to find out who will meet your needs the best.
Serving people is the heart of my business. I welcome your inquiries about my experience and strategies for helping buyers succeed in a seller’s market.
Today I attended the annual “State of the Base” meeting with the North Puget Sound Area Realtors. Captain Geoff Moore, Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), gave a 20 minute presentation that included some interesting facts and figures affecting life and the real estate market in the North Whidbey region.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Update
For the last few years the Navy has been studying the environmental impact of increasing the amount of jets (most importantly the “Growler” jets) based at NASWI. This lengthy report was supposed to be finalized this fall, but some important technological changes have caused a delay in the final report, which is now expected in the fall of 2018.
What is this important technological change? Please forgive my lack of technical knowledge (I was scribbling notes as fast as I could at the meeting!) A new way of training jet pilots in their carrier landings through a simulator has shown to be very effective, and the Navy is fast-tracking it’s deployment as a training method. The advantage of this is it reduces the amount of actual “touch and go’s” that pilots need to take the noisy Growlers through.
Here are some numbers. Currently NASWI runs approximately 24,000 touch and go repetitions each year, split between the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, and the main runways at Ault Field in Oak Harbor. The worst case scenario for the amount of these repetitions with the coming of additional Growlers to NASWI in the preliminary version of the EIS was approximately 42,000 – almost a 100% increase. Captain Moore stated that with the new technology those numbers would be reduced to around 32,000. This is still a 33% increase in noise generating flights, but not nearly the increase originally projected.
TAKEAWAY: At this point there is no way to know what percentage of these touch and go trainings will happen in Coupeville, and how many will be in Oak Harbor. What is known is that the normal flight pattern is not expected to change from it’s current pattern. This means that people living in the noise zones will most likely experience an increase in the amount of time each year they experience “the sound of freedom”. Those who only occasionally experience noise from the jets will likely not notice a huge difference. (Request a noise zone map.)
The Navy and the Housing Shortage
Commander Moore showed graphs which demonstrated that we are currently at the top of the growth curve for personnel on the base (both military and civilian). Although there are still 3 squadrons slated to be transferred to NASWI in the next couple years, other changes in base operations will result in a net zero increase from the current amount of people coming in and out of the gates each day.
The Navy’s internal studies of housing within a 60 minute commute shows that there are adequate options for their personnel. Although housing is tight in Oak Harbor close to the base, their studies show there is sufficient housing within that 60-minute radius (which includes all of Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island, and along the Hwy 20 corridor out to Sedro Woolley). For this reason, the Navy is not planning on constructing any new housing on or near NASWI in the near future.
TAKEAWAY: If these projected numbers are accurate, then the shortage of available, affordable housing now happening in North Whidbey and the surrounding regions will likely continue, but not get increasingly worse in the coming years. The Sellers’ market we have experienced the past few years is not likely to change in the near future.
Water Quality Around The Runways
In the last year contamination in underground water near Navy runways around the country has been linked to the use of a certain chemical used in putting out fires, and in training for putting out fires. This prompted testing of wells within a reasonable radius of both Ault Field and the Outlying Field. Captain Moore said that to date just over 200 homeowners have responded to the Navy’s offer to test their well. Of these, 10 wells were found to be above the EPA’s safety level for that chemical. Those homeowners have been supplied bottled water and the investigation into the severity of the problem and possible solutions is still underway.
TAKEAWAY: Anyone living with one mile of either Ault Field’s runways or the Outlying Field is urged to have their well tested. Also, anyone purchasing a home within these areas should require the disclosure of results from this testing before going through with a purchase.
Regardless of any individual’s feelings about living with Naval Air Station Whidbey Island nearby, life on North/Central Whidbey Island as well as Fidalgo Island involves enjoying the benefits and mitigating the negative aspects of the Navy base’s presence and “the Sound of Freedom”. Having lived on North Whidbey since 2002 I am available to answer your questions about life here including the pros and the cons. (I think the pros far outweigh the cons!)
The real estate sellers’ market continues in Western Washington and Island County. Windermere Real Estate’s quarterly economic report, “The Gardner Report”, has just been published. The data for home sales in the third quarter of 2017 shows that Western Washington, including Whidbey Island, remains entrenched in a strong sellers’ market. Island county shows a 10.3% increase in average sales price from the third quarter of 2016. That means that a home that sold for $250,000 in October 2016 would have sold for $275,000 this October. During this time period, the average days on market (that is, the time from the property going up for sale and when a purchase and sale agreement was signed) dropped to 42 days.
Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s chief economist, predicts that interest rates will remain low, but may begin rising moderately in 2018. Of course this is the same prediction we heard a year ago, and interest rates remain at near-historic lows.
The main contributing factor to the strong sellers’ market is a lack of available inventory. More people needing homes than people selling homes creates a competitive market for buyers, especially first time buyers. Buyers can take solace in the fact that this lack of inventory is not likely to change in the near future, which historically has meant home values will continue to rise. In other words, it’s still safe to buy!
If you own real estate I encourage you to contact me for a Current Market Analysis of your property. You may be surprised at the amount of equity you currently have.
Those interested in reading the entire Gardner report can find it HERE.
If you were trying to sell your home in the North Whidbey real estate market in late Summer of 2017, there was a difference between how “hot” the market was for homes in the $200-$300K range and those in the $300-$450K range. As the video below explains, homes in the lower price range ($200-$300K) were moving very quickly and sellers were receiving almost 100% of what they listed their homes for.
At the same time, homes in the higher price bracket ($300-$450K) had a noticeable slowdown, with the average for cumulative days on the market (the amount of days between when the home was listed and when a purchase and sale agreement was signed by all parties) doubled in August from around 30 all the way up to 66 days. Along with this slowdown in getting offers signed around, the average price agreed upon dipped from 98% to 96% of the original asking price. For a home originally listed at $400,000, that means on average it would have sold for $384,00 in August.
It is important to note that prices have not dropped in either price range, but there was a noticeable plateau of the prices for homes in the higher price bracket. The reduction in the percentage of the original asking price actually received by sellers in the higher price bracket (from 98% to 96%) reflects the optimism by sellers that prices would continue increasing at the rates they had in May, June, and July. They priced their homes accordingly, but buyers were hesitant to purchase at those prices, bringing in offers that were a lower percentage of the asking price.
Buyers continue to benefit from historically low interest rates, so it remains a good time to buy as well as a good time to sell in North Whidbey Real Estate.