Jun 11 2011

Gig Harbor waterfront home prices stabilize…for now

Gig Harbor waterfront home prices stabilize…for now. Sale prices for Gig Harbor waterfront homes at the end of May were on track to beat 2010 prices–$686,000. However, the median list price of pending contracts is only $500,000. Half of these are distressed properties. So it is very likely the median closed price will slide over the next few months.

There is some good news for sellers trying to sell their homes though. Gig Harbor brokers have already closed as many sales in the first five months as the first half of the last three years. The first quarter was particularly strong as interest rates were low and buyers sensed prices were bottoming and made good use of sellers’ willingness to negotiate heavily at the end of winter.

January-May Gig Harbor waterfront home highlights

  • Sales volume well ahead of 2008, 2009 and 2010—as much as 50%
  • $686,000 median closed price up $25,000 from 2010 prices
  • Inventory down 30% from a year ago
  • Inventory up 25% in last 75 days
  • Pending sales median list price only $500,000
  • 37% of closed sales are distressed properties
  • 50% of pending sales are distressed properties—1 bank-owned & the rest stuck in the short sale approval process
  • Bank-owned homes closed for 81% of the bank’s list price and were on the market an average of 135 days after the bank took over. This drops precipitously to 63% from seller’s original list price
  • Short sale homes closed for 67% of original list price and were on the market an average of 415 days
  • Non-distressed homes closed for 70% of original list price, only slightly better

Sellers, as they consider pricing, should note the list to sales price ratio for original owners of homes eventually foreclosed on—63%– as well as the 70% for non-distressed closings. There is a difference in being “on the market” and “in the market” and several well-priced homes have sold this year in a matter of days for 95% of list price.

Four Gig Harbor waterfront home sales have tipped the scale at $1 million plus since the first of the year. The homes–two homes on Fox Island and two in Rosedale- sold for 72% of original list price. 2010 produced 17 sales over this mark.  In perspective…there are 50 homes listed over $1 million, including 16 over $2 million. This is a 61% increase in this price range in the past 75 days. It is easy to see many of these homes will be on the market for some time.

To further understand this market segment…there is not one current pending sale above $1 million. At this moment very few buyers are stepping up to these very high-end properties. However, willing and able buyers are receiving some very high quality Gig Harbor waterfront homes…in some cases at or under county assessed values.

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Apr 29 2011

Gig Harbor WA Salt Waterfront Home for Sale

Gig Harbor WA Salt Waterfront Home for Sale. Gig Harbor Bay—75 feet of no-bank sunny Western exposure from this salt waterfront home for sale.

For the boater—both private small power boat dock and boat launch.   

…For the entertainer—both spacious deck and level brick patio and lawn for games and leisurely dinners.

…For the gardener—all-day sun and spacious yard.

…For the hobbyist—double car garage and third car garage attached to shop.

…For those who just want to enjoy the activity and view of Gig Harbor Bay—2850 square feet salt waterfront  home for sale with three bedrooms— on a generous half acre of backlands plus tidelands rights. All just two blocks to city limits, parks, walking, restaurants and shopping.  

Call me at 253.549.6611 or email me Carole@GigHarbor-Waterfront.com for more information about this or another salt waterfront home for sale. Or click on www.GigHarborBayHome.com for more photos of this salt waterfront home for sale.

 salt waterfront home for sale

 

salt waterfront home for sale

salt waterfront home for sale 

Gig Harbor was named during the 1841 Wilkes expedition after a crewmember in a small boat, called the captain’s gig, sighted a harbor and led other boats exploring in the area to take refuge in the harbor during a storm. When the first European-American settlers came to the harbor in 1867 there was a Native American village, with longhouse, located at the head of the harbor near a small creek. In 1867, two Slovenians and a Portuguese rowed a skiff south from British Columbia to fish. They entered Gig Harbor by accident to seek shelter at night. Samuel Jerisich liked the area and decided to stay. He married a fifteen-year-old native woman from near Vancouver Island and settled in Gig Harbor, becoming the first European-American settler in Gig Harbor. Soon Yugoslavians, Germans and Scandinavians followed to settle in the harbor. A major boatyard, lumber mills, salmon fishing fleet and farming provided the early economic base for the town. In 1886, the Indian longhouse served as the first school. Later, the Indian village became the site of Austin mill.

Chicken farming prospered in the 1920s and 1930s. Early fishermen used rowboats to fish. Later, motorized boats allowed fishermen to fish in Alaska and the San Juan Islands starting around 1905.

The town incorporated as a fourth class city in 1946 because of the need to provide for water and sewer systems. Gig Harbor was home to a fishing fleet of more than 70 vessels in the 1970s that decreased to 30 vessels in the later 1980s.

The  Skansie Shipbuilding Company was founded in 1912, producing four-to-five boats per season with 25 to 30 employees. The company built a variety of boats including ferries and wooden fishing boats. One of four Skansie brothers operated the Washington Navigation Company, which operated ferries around the Puget Sound in the 1910s until the 1940s and for the State between the time the first Narrows Bridge collapsed and the second Narrows Bridge was constructed.

Lumber was one of the early industries in the area. The first mill in Gig Harbor started operating in 1887 on the west side of the harbor with two others in the early 1890s and in 1909. Many early settlers engaged in farming, including apples, pears, loganberries, holly and chickens.

Area residents have consistently demonstrated their strong commitment to provide a high quality public education to nearly 10,000 students. The district enjoys a statewide reputation for meeting the educational needs of today’s students who become tomorrow’s leaders. In addition, Gig Harbor has nearly a dozen private schools. 

The Harbor History Museum is located on Gig Harbor Bay and allows visitors a place to experience the history of Gig Harbor. In 2010 the Museum opened its new multi-million dollar facility, highlighted by the Shenandoah, a purse seiner built in a Gig Harbor shipyard and the Midway schoolhouse. The Midway Schoolhouse Experience may be the only all-day pioneer classroom experience on the West Coast. It has been designed with actual curriculum and is the buzz of all 4th graders who are given the option of attending. It is hosted by numerous volunteers and comes complete with “school marm”. The permanent gallery is spectacular and the temporary exhibits are diverse.

 

salt waterfront home for salesalt waterfront home for sale 

salt waterfront home for sale

 

While Gig Harbor was once most known for its fishing and logging, it is now also known for its numerous art galleries, art walks and art shows. A theatre company in Gig Harbor provides entertainment including dinner theatre and summer outdoor theatre.

The Gig Harbor area is ideal for enjoying water-related recreation. Whether you prefer water skiing, power or sail boating, kayaking, fresh or salt water fishing, scuba driving, windsurfing, clamming, beachcombing or swimming, the secluded harbors provide excellent moorage and docking facilities.

There are four state parks. Boat ramps are located near the major bays. Gig Harbor operates a waterfront park, a park on Crescent Creek, a boat-building facility and a pioneer farm. Eight golf courses offer year-round golf close to Gig Harbor.

Numerous events are scheduled throughout the year, largely centered on the Gig Harbor waterfront, including farmers markets, outdoor cinema, Tuesday night music at the park, and lighted holiday boat parade.

Youth and adult baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics, dance, and soccer programs are provided through community organizations. Two local pools provide swimming opportunities for the community and swim clubs.

Carole Holmaas is a Managing Broker at Windermere Real Estate. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or Carole@GigHarbor-Waterfront.com

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Apr 28 2011

Gig Harbor WA Salt Waterfront Home for Sale at Horsehead Bay

Gig Harbor WA Salt Waterfront Home for Sale at Horsehead Bay.  Escape to the quintessential beach house…this salt waterfront home for sale has it all—dock for canoe, kayak and run-about, rope swing into the Bay for the kids, big swing set and sandbox, horseshoes, hammock, waterside patio, partially covered huge deck, outside shower.

But did I mention the salt waterfront home for sale? This charming 1600 square foot contemporary “farmhouse” was built just six years ago with knotty pine floors, vaulted ceilings, 2 story river rock fireplace, stainless appliances, eating bar, corner breakfast nook, covered entry porch, wood windows.

Be ready for this summer’s fun on Horsehead Bay!

Call me at 253.549.6611 or email me Carole@GigHarbor-Waterfront.com for more information about this or another salt waterfront home for sale. Or click on www.GigHarborSaltwaterHome.com for more photos of this salt waterfront home for sale.

 

  Gig Harbor saltwater home for sale

 salt waterfront home for sale

 

salt waterfront home for sale 

The first European-American settlement began in Arletta in the late 1870s and the post office was established in 1893. The first postmistress coined the name Arletta by combining her daughter’s name Arla with her friend’s name Lucetta. Most early settlers farmed. Other activities in the area included logging, fishing, and trapping. When a permanent dock was constructed, a business district developed around the waterfront and included a store, fish fertilizer factory and warehouse. By 1910 the first roads had been constructed between Arletta, Horsehead Bay and Warren.

The first Euro-American settlement in Warren began in the late 1870s.  A permanent dock was constructed in the early 1910s and farming formed the economic base for the community at the beginning. In the late 1920s, local residents constructed a road connecting Warren to Arletta and Horsehead Bay.

 

 salt waterfront home for sale

salt waterfront home for sale

 saltwaterfront home for sale

Area residents have consistently demonstrated their strong commitment to provide a high quality public education to nearly 10,000 students. The district enjoys a statewide reputation for meeting the educational needs of today’s students who become tomorrow’s leaders. In addition, Gig Harbor has nearly a dozen private schools. 

The Harbor History Museum is located on Gig Harbor Bay and allows visitors a place to experience the history of Gig Harbor. In 2010 the Museum opened its new multi-million dollar facility, highlighted by the Shenandoah, a purse seiner built in a Gig Harbor shipyard and the Midway schoolhouse. The Midway Schoolhouse Experience may be the only all-day pioneer classroom experience on the West Coast. It has been designed with actual curriculum and is the buzz of all 4th graders who are given the option of attending. It is hosted by numerous volunteers and comes complete with “school marm”. The permanent gallery is spectacular and the temporary exhibits are diverse.

While Gig Harbor was once most known for its fishing and logging, it is now also known for its numerous art galleries, art walks and art shows. A theatre company in Gig Harbor provides entertainment including dinner theatre and summer outdoor theatre.

The Gig Harbor area is ideal for enjoying water-related recreation. Whether you prefer water skiing, power or sail boating, kayaking, fresh or salt water fishing, scuba driving, windsurfing, clamming, beachcombing or swimming, the secluded harbors provide excellent moorage and docking facilities.

There are four state parks. Boat ramps are located near the major bays. Gig Harbor operates a waterfront park, a park on Crescent Creek, a boat-building facility and a pioneer farm. Eight golf courses offer year-round golf close to Gig Harbor.

Numerous events are scheduled throughout the year, largely centered on the Gig Harbor waterfront, including farmers markets, outdoor cinema, Tuesday night music at the park, and lighted holiday boat parade.

Youth and adult baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics, dance, and soccer programs are provided through community organizations. Two local pools provide swimming opportunities for the community and swim clubs.

 

Carole Holmaas is a Managing Broker at Windermere Real Estate. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or Carole@GigHarbor-Waterfront.com

(Add link to GHWF)

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Feb 15 2011

Gig Harbor waterfront sales end strong in 2010

Gig Harbor waterfront experienced some strong signals at the end of the year.

 Gig Harbor waterfront sales volume facts:

  • Closings 25% better in 2010 than 2009
  • December closings 66% better year-over-year
  • 4th qtr 71% better than 4th qtr 2009
  • 15% more homes closed in 2nd half of 2010 than 1st half—normally close to 50/50
  • Only 21% of sales Key Peninsula homes—normally 33-35%
  • January started strong with 7 sales “under contract”–on a par with 2002 (only 2003 & 2004 higher)

Gig Harbor waterfront median sales price facts:

  • Up 8% in Gig Harbor (median sales price)–$782,000
  • Down 2% in Key Peninsula–$455,000
  • 18 Gig Harbor waterfront homes closed over $1m in 2010—double 2009
  • Homes selling over $1m bunched in the $1.2m range
  • Gig Harbor waterfront prices back to 2004-05 prices
  • January sales show 3 over $1m “under contract”

Waterfront sales thru 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe the strong 4th quarter closings were due, in part, to savvy buyers picking up some incredible Gig Harbor waterfront buys–recognizing the bottom was nearing while interest rates were increasing.

Key Peninsula is not providing its traditional 33% of sales—one big change in the market.  Likely this is due to the Gig Harbor waterfront inventory pegged at prices not seen since 2004-05, allowing buyers to not drive the extra miles for “value”.

A second change for Gig Harbor waterfront is bank-owned homes have become a part of even the local waterfront scene. 17% of all sales last year were bank-owned or short-sales, including three homes priced over $1m as well as five built since 2004.

Gig Harbor waterfront homes took an excess of a year to sell–doubling 2009 figures and reflective of how slow the market has been. Homes originally listed at more than $1.5 took on average nearly 600 days before receiving a contract. Key Peninsula waterfront took a bit less time—315 days.

2010 was a reality check for sellers.  Prices are down 25% from the 2007 peak and 17% from 2008, which was still a good year for sellers. Gig Harbor waterfront homes sold in 2010 for 79% of the original listed price. This figure would actually have been lower, if prior listings were factored in.  Key Peninsula’s selling price to original price was 82%.

2010’s priciest Gig Harbor waterfront sale was a high bank estate in the Horsehead Bay area—for $2,350,000. Three of the other $1m sales came from the same area.

This is “the season” for Gig Harbor waterfront.  Inventory is down but a high percentage of this year’s buyers are already actively looking. March is historically the best month for written contracts, followed by May.

 

Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Gig Harbor, licensed since the late 1960’s. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or Carole@ISellGigHarbor.com

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Feb 01 2011

Seattle area “hands-down” the best place to live and boat!

Seattle area is “hands-down” the best place to live and boat!  And Gig Harbor is a part of this. Seattle was recently declared the “Best Place to Live and Boat” by Boating Magazine. Mike Tyler, the judge of this examined numerous boating communities. He looked at the mix of boating opportunities, regulations, water access, availability of waterfront homes, economics and lifestyle.

He declared the Seattle area to be The Best. He explained that boaters here have the option of miles of protected salt water from the South Sound to the San Juans, as well as fresh water Lake Washington and numerous smaller lakes. Surrounding all this water are two ranges of snowy mountains and the mix of Seattle and the many small towns with water access. Gig Harbor is a prime example of one of those cities boaters love to visit.

The author gave the Seattle area a 5 (1-5 scale) for Ease for Boaters and Strong Boat-related Businesses, a 4 for Waterfront Availability and 3 for Number of Good Boating Days (weather-related).

Others that made the cut in order were Benton County Arkansas, Tampa Bay, Knoxville Tennessee, Fort Lauderdale, Otter Tail County Minnesota, Finger Lakes New York, Austin, Oconee County So Carolina, and San Diego.

This is not news to any of us who live in Gig Harbor, is it?

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Dec 25 2010

Gig Harbor waterfront sales on par with 2007

Gig Harbor waterfront sales on par with 2007

Simply for Gig Harbor waterfront sales to be at the same level as 2007 shows the increasing strength of Gig Harbor’s real estate market.  The first half of the year was down from the 2009 volume. But the Gig Harbor waterfront homes market picked up steam in July and again in September. 

This year will likely close with as many, or nearly as many sales as 2007—64. While the peak of the real estate market was 2006 and early 2007, neither year produced the highest number of waterfront sales. Sellers weren’t selling when the market was “that strong.”

The average yearly number of sales for Gig Harbor waterfront homes is 101–from 1998 through 2005. This number was consistent even during the recessionary early years of this decade. The low point was 2008 with just 40 sales followed by the second worse year 2009 with 51 sales.

Nearly half of the current inventory of Gig Harbor waterfront homes is listed over $1m. This year’s median price—half the sales above and half below—may not climb much above the $682,500 figure from last year. A few months ago it looked like this figure might increase—but not now. But simply to not decrease is positive.

 Normally Gig Harbor contributes two-thirds of the sales and Key Peninsula one-third. This year just 12% have come from Key Peninsula. I have to presume this is because buyers have had a number of less expensive options to chose from in Gig Harbor…and have not found it necessary to travel the extra miles to quality waterfront.

Sales over $1m have strengthened this year with twice as many as last year. 11 homes sold up to $1,250,000 and six above that—but only one over $2m. Two or three is the most we ever have over $2m—but the range that has been hit the hardest is the $1.5-2m…there were 10 in 2006…and one this year.

The median sales price for Gig Harbor waterfront homes as a percentage to assessed value is currently running 91%. In other words, homes are closing for 91% of the county assessor’s valuation. Homes over $1m actually sold for 104% of assessed value…a figure that changes dramatically under $1m.

For whatever it is worth, here are the ups and downs in median prices for Gig Harbor waterfront homes over the past six years:

 

  Median SP Chg from prior year
2004

$488k

 
2005

$680k

40%▲

2006

$850k

25% ▲

2007

$900k

  6% ▲

2008

$800k

11% ▼

2009

$683k

15% ▼

2010 Close to 2009 Will know next week
     

Carole Holmaas is a Managing Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1968. she specializes in waterfront and view properties. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or Carole@ISellGigHarbor.com.

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Aug 10 2010

Sales of Gig Harbor Waterfront look a lot like 2009

Sales of Gig Harbor Waterfront look a lot like 2009

With 10 Gig Harbor waterfront sales written in July, the year is shaping up to look not as good as 2009 but not as bad as 2008—which was the worst for sales of Gig Harbor waterfront homes for decades.

Only 26 homes have closed escrow in 2010 through July. Nine of those were in June which gave waterfront Brokers signs of encouragement. But July turned around and brought only five closings. Closed sales numbered 30 at this point in 2009, with 51 sales, and 22 in 2008 when the year finished with only 40 sales.

2000-2010 waterfront homes sold Jan-July

101 sales is the average yearly number from 1998 through 2005 (just prior to the market peak when sellers “hung on” to their homes with expectations they would continue to increase in value). This number was consistent even during the recessionary early years of this decade. So 40 sales of Gig Harbor waterfront homes is abnormally low. And in 2009 when many of the high-end sales were cash, because of non-existent jumbo financing–sales barely topped 50.

Three of the July closings have been listed for 1578 days, 700 days and 537 days, respectively.

Nearly half of the current inventory of Gig Harbor waterfront homes is listed over $1,000,000. The median price is $625,000 in Key Peninsula. Normally Key Peninsula attributes one-third of all sales. This year their share is closer to one-fifth of sales.

Additionally, there is a fair amount of “shadow inventory”. These are sellers who would list their homes if the inventory wasn’t already so high…or those who have become discouraged and taken their homes off the market for a period of time. These “pent-up sellers” create something we call “shadow inventory” and they will enter the market once sales activity improves, thereby applying downward pressure on prices.

In my weekly snapshot of Gig Harbor waterfront market conditions that I prepare for my sellers and it is notable that four to six sellers have reduced their prices each week since the first of the year.

 

Carole Holmaas is a Broker, specializing in Gig Harbor Waterfront sales,  at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1968. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or Carole @ISellGigHarbor.com.

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