San Juan County experienced an overall decline in the number of property transactions as well as a decline in the dollar volume in 2013 as compared to 2012.
Last year on San Juan Island, we experienced a 10% decrease in the number of residential property transactions, while the dollar volume of these sales increased by about 7% year-over-year from 2012. The reason for this is because a single sale can easily skew the numbers.
The 2013 dollar volume was impacted by one large $6+ million sale (Mar Vista). Vacant land transactions were down 20% on this island but up 43% in dollar volume.
On Orcas Island, there was a 10% increase in residential transactions and a 17% increase in vacant land sales.
What has been evident on all islands is the reduction in the inventory of “move-in” ready homes. Many of our properties are “aged” and in need of some sort of restoration.
When a new owner buys, it can mean more business for local tradespeople and benefits the overall island economy by "trickling down" into retail stores and other services.
The report linked below shows that some niche markets did well; waterfront property sales are trending upwards. The median price of homes is climbing while the inventory is falling.
The laws of supply and demand will eventually play out here and the real estate appreciation everyone wants will return. It just won’t return as fast, or as high, as many would prefer. But the trends are in our favor.
If you’ve never heard anyone say, "I should've bought back then, when prices and interest rates were so low!”, come back to these islands in a few years and you’ll probably hear it from more folks than you can imagine.