By Merri Ann Simonson
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc
In reviewing the year-end results for 2017, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $299,943,083 which reflects an increase in volume of 19.5 percent over 2016 when the volume was $251,020,953. The percentage of growth this year was very similar to the increase we enjoyed for the last several years; very stable controlled growth is much more sustainable. The County closed an average of 49.3 transactions per month which is above the last few years.
Total volume on San Juan Island in 2017 was $147,980,853 as compared to $124,582,355 in 2016. The increase is 18.7%, very similar to the increase the County enjoyed. On San Juan Island we closed an average of 24.4 transactions per month. Again above the last few years.
In addition to healthy volume increases, other positive data for San Juan Island property owners includes decreasing inventory levels. There was a 22 percent decrease in inventory numbers in January 2018 as compared to January 2017. This decrease percentage was less than last year but still notable.
The smaller percentage decrease in inventory may be attributed to the fact that many of the land owners were holding off for more recovery, and then decided to list in 2017 as land was moving at a good pace. This would have increased the inventory in the land category. Closed Land sales in 2017 for San Juan Island totaled 106 transactions for $20,170,007 in volume. In 2016 the total transaction number was only 52 for $12,733,250 in volume. The increase for the period was 103 percent in the transaction number and 63% in volume. I personally sold more land in 2017 than I had since prior to the recession.
The popularity of a land purchase is a direct reflection of the decreases in home inventory. When buyers are unable to find an existing home that is suitable, they consider custom construction. Another thought, it is more affordable for a person to secure a “place-saver” on our island via purchasing land versus a home that requires maintenance until they are ready to relocate. Most of the clients I worked with in 2017 aren’t planning on improving their land until several years from now.
One more thought; many of the land sales at Roche Harbor will be future speculative construction or rentals homes held for investment. If there was ever a time with reduced risk for speculative construction, it is now and Roche Harbor is one of the best places.
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