Winter Bird Migration, Holidays, and the End of an Annual Cycle…
Swans and Sunsets
Sunsets and Swans in the Skagit Flats
We have been enjoying a run of crisp, cold weather and clear skies in the Northwest. This has encouraged me to go to the Skagit Flats, north of Seattle, and engage in one of my favorite hobbies, photography. This is the time of year when the Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans move through on their southern migrations.
We are also in the midst of the holiday season and at the end of another annual real estate cycle…real estate running in annual and ten year cycles. (Case Schiller Index)
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s (NWMLS) monthly press release is out, with good news for buyers! While it is still a seller’s market by definition, we are moving towards a balanced real estate market in the Northwest.
The MLS is statewide, and while some regions (such as Leavenworth) also have their own, local service, the NWMLS pulls in statistics from its statewide membership.
By looking at the charts at the end of the press release, it is easy to see which counties are having price appreciations and which aren’t…which reminds me of the concept of selling high and buying lower.
Empty nesters and retirees fall in to this category, and I have been consulting a few clients recently on potential retirement towns. These include Edmonds, Kingston, Winslow, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Bellingham, Oak Harbor, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.
It may seem like a far spread, but thanks to my background in sea kayaking, and the number of friends who are sea kayakers that have asked me to help them, I know a fair amount about these areas.
Edmonds is close to Seattle, home to my office, and a beautiful seaside town. The prices are not low, but the proximity to Seattle and its walkable downtown make it desirable.
Kingston is a bit lower in price, but due to the advent of the foot ferry to downtown Seattle, it has seen multiple offers lately. For anyone who wants easy access to the outdoors, the Olympic Peninsula is only a few hours away.
Winslow is a very desirable location and is somewhat a bedroom community for those working downtown. Just ride the ferry during rush hour, or after a game, to experience the neighborly atmosphere. The downtown is also very walkable, and has a plethora of great restaurants and art galleries – I love heading to the first Friday art walk!
Moving north, Bellingham is a town I know fairly well as I lived there for three years during the nineties. Also a seaside town, it has an avid outdoors population with sea kayaking, mountain biking and skiing within close proximity. The university brings in students from around the world, and the town, of course, is home to professors and others who are employed by the school. I know several people who have sold in Seattle and bought in Bellingham.
Of course the San Juan Islands have a lot to choose from. People generally compare Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Island. Lopez Island is known for its destination road biking, Orcas Island might be considered quite “artsy”, and San Juan (in my humble opinion) is a bit less rustic than the rest. It also has (similar to East Sound on Orcas), a walkable downtown, a hospital (with flight insurance available), and the lovely west side, which overlooks Canada, and is often populated by Orca whales.
Appreciation Rates, Sales
The chart below shows we are still having some healthy appreciation rates, although the days on market (DOM) are longer.
These charts, compiled by our Lake Union office, show the story well. Note how this year’s line, in blue, differs from previous years. December
InfoSparks, from the MLS: http://nwmls.stats.showingtime.com/infoserv/s-v1/7t51-vl4
What is happening elsewhere?
From the New York Times:
“This is the second property Andree has sold for me, with excellent results. My late Mother’s house was a mess. Andree provided invaluable assistance in helping prepare Mom’s house for sale, and during the sale itself. Her communication and attention to detail were excellent, and her efforts often went beyond what I would have expected of a listing agent. During the listing and sale process, we had to work through a number of difficult surprises, not the least of which was a long-forgotten fuel oil tank which the Inspection found under the house. Andree skillfully assisted me through the process of obtaining city approval to treat (and not have to do the nearly-impossible task of removing) the tank to everybody’s satisfaction.”
“I am very pleased with the effort Andree made as my agent and finding my “forever home”. Throughout the search, questions I asked were always answered promptly, and she made sure that I had information about CC&R’s and HOA dues, so I wouldn’t exceed my budget. She really seems to love what she does and is committed to her clients. Andree went to great lengths to find the home I ultimately purchased. It was her creativity in preparing and negotiating the final offer that sealed the deal with the seller. I would recommend Andree to anyone wanting purchase or sell property.”
“Andree is organized, thorough and professional. Our communication was clear and concise. Andree is a top professional who has the experience and knowledge to help a seller or buyer in their real estate transaction”.
Relocation and referrals
Because of our national and international network within Coldwell Banker, I can help you, a friend or relative with their move by finding a real estate professional on both sides. We will call and interview brokers to try to make sure they are the right fit.
Referrals make up the bulk of my business and are not only a compliment but also much appreciated. I also will partner with brokers in our network when listing property outside the greater Seattle and Eastside area, such as in the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula.